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West Chester East cruises past Gettysburg in opening round of 5A State Playoffs By: Tyler Harden

WEST NORRITON— West Chester East was coming into the state playoffs having won their first District Championship in program history. It is clear to say this is one of the best Viking Basketball teams to come through the program, and they weren’t finished adding to their hefty list of accomplishments this season.

The 23-2 Vikings were set to take on Gettysburg in the opening round of the PIAA 5A State Playoffs. The Warriors were able to sneak into the state playoffs after coming into the District 3 Playoffs as the number-1 seed, and ended up taking 8th place with a loss to Elizabethtown. If Gettysburg wanted to get back in the win column after losing three straight games, today was the perfect opportunity.

West Chester East started off strong, and kept their momentum from last week’s district championship, as the team got off to a 5-0 early lead. The play that set the tone for the Vikings in the first quarter was when star 6’9” Power Forward and University of Delaware Commit, Andrew Carr, made himself known with a powerful, one handed dunk through traffic to put the Vikings up 13-2. “When I caught the ball in the fast break, I knew someone was in the corner, so I just tried to ball fake”, Carr said, “I was able to get by the first defender, and the lane was kind of open for me. I always have the mindset to try and dunk everything, so I had to go for it.” Carr was West Chester East’s leading scorer in the first quarter with 8 points, and the Vikings had a 19-8 lead at the end of the first.

West Chester East kept their foot on the gas going into the second quarter, as Andrew Carr and Kieran Hefferan combined for 9 of the 12 Viking points in the second quarter. The Vikings were doing everything they needed to do; they had control on both ends of the floor. West Chester East went into halftime with a comfortable 31-15 lead.

The Vikings especially minimized the Gettysburg offense in the third quarter, as they held the Warriors to 0 points for the first four minutes of the second half. West Chester East carried their intensity over to their offense. Andrew Carr hit a long three from the baseline to give the Vikings a 40-15 point lead. Shortly after, Kieran Hefferan hit a three to give the Vikings a 28 point lead. Gettysburg remained scoreless until star, junior forward, Quadir Copeland, knocked down a midrange jumper. West Chester East managed to end the quarter with a 45-20 lead.

West Chester East still wasn’t finished going into the final quarter, but this time, Quadir Copeland was finding a way to put more points on the board for Gettysburg. Copeland scored 10 points in the fourth quarter alone, which included four made foul shots and a steal and dunk. But this was not enough to catch up to the dominance of West Chester East, as the Vikings were able come out with a 53-33 win. “It’s an amazing feeling, this is the second year in a row we made it to states”, Andrew Carr said, “we got knocked out in the first round last year, so it’s definitely something we’re looking forward to continuing one game at a time, one possession at a time.”

Andrew Carr led West Chester East with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Kieran Hefferan and Tym Richardson each scored 13 points for the Vikings. Quadir Copeland led Gettysburg with 17 points.

West Chester East will take on Pottsville in the second round of the PIAA 5A State Playoffs on Tuesday, March 10th at a site to be determined. “We’re going to try and come out with the same mindset that we did today, we obviously came out to a great start.” Carr said, “definitely have to stay focused and locked in throughout the rest of the playoffs.” Gettysburg’s season comes to an end, and the Warriors finish with a 23-5 record on the season.