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Coatesville falls short in attempt to knock off Roman Catholic in opening round of 6A State Playoffs By: Tyler Harden

SPRINGFIELD— The Roman Catholic vs. Coatesville game was arguably the most anticipated game in the opening round of the PIAA 6A State Playoffs. Roman Catholic is one of the best teams in the state, led by sophomores Jalen Duren, Justice Williams, and senior Lynn Greer III, who was not able to play in this game due to a hip injury. However, the Cahillites had lost two games in a row, the PCL Championship to Neumann-Goretti, and the District 12 Championship to Simon Gratz.

But Coatesville was bringing in a star of their own, Jhamir “Jig” Brickus, and he was on pace to break the Coatesville Basketball scoring record in this game if he scored at least 24 points. With a record on the line, Jhamir Brickus and the Red Raiders wanted to keep their season alive, and knock off a powerhouse in the process.

Roman Catholic came out with great intensity, as freshmen Xzayvier Brown and Will Norman combined for the first 10 points, and gave the Cahillites a 10-2 early lead. But Coatesville fought their way back, as they will do several other times throughout the game, and eventually came within four with a Donavon Brickus three. Roman Catholic found a rhythm, and ended the first quarter with a 22-14 lead.

Coatesville started the second quarter strong, and came within two points before Roman Catholic came back to go on a 9-0 run led by Justice Williams. The Red Raiders always kept a reachable distance, and kept their intensity. But Roman Catholic had the lead at halftime, and Coatesville had not had a lead yet in the game.

The Cahillites kept their momentum in the second half. An 11-0 run, which included threes from Nasir Lett, Justice Williams, and Xzayvier Brown put the Cahillites up 17 late in the third quarter. As Roman Catholic started to pull away from Coatesville, Jhamir Brickus was the type of player that would lead the Red Raiders in a comeback, and he did just that.

Roman Catholic kept a comfortable lead until Jhamir Brickus hit a three to put the Red Raiders within 10. After Brickus scored a layup off a steal, Coatesville knew they had a shot. Brickus knocked down another to make it 74-69 with just over a minute left in the game. Shortly after, he drove and scored three contested layups to make it 79-75.

Roman Catholic was able to stay in the lead with their great shooting from the foul line, as they shot 8 for 9 in the final minute of the game. “As a leader of this team I just try and tell our guys that anywhere we go they’re going to do that, they’re going to get rowdy, we knew they were going to bring their whole fan base out.” Jalen Duren said, “we just had to stay with it, stay poised, and stick with the game plan.” Foul shooting also won the game for Roman Catholic, as Xzayvier Brown made two more to put the Cahillites up by 6.

Coatesville ran out of time, and Roman Catholic won the game 81-75. “It was a great win for us as a young team. We came in, executed, and did what our coaches preached to us all week in practice”, Justice Williams said, “so coming out with those two losses, this was a big one for us.

Justice Williams led Roman Catholic with 27 points. “I did what my team needed me to do”, Williams said, “facilitate in scoring, just playing defense, and bringing that leadership.” Xzayvier Brown scored 17 points, including 3 threes, Nasir Lett scored 16, also including 3 threes, and Jalen Duren scored 13 points along with 8 rebounds. Jhamir Brickus led Coatesville with 26 points, 21 of those scored in the second half. John Proctor scored 19 points, and both Dapree Bryant and Jaeden Brickus added 12.

Roman Catholic will play Pennridge on Wednesday, March 11th at a site and time to be determined. “We don’t want to feel the pain and let down of losing those games that we should have won”, Justice Williams said, “we have to just come in with the hunger and stay with it.” Coatesville’s season has come to an end, and they finish the season with a record of 20-7.