Same Dapree Bryant.
The Coatesville football star worked his magic on the basketball court Saturday, beating the buzzer with a jumper in traffic for the winning points in a 52-51 victory over visiting Unionville in a Ches-Mont League cross-over clash of division leaders.
“Definitely,” Bryant said of his confidence that the 15-footer off the move and over two Unionville defenders would find the bottom of the net. “I always think I’m going to make it.”
Bryant generated 10 points with five steals and four assists, and senior forward John Proctor scored 15 points for Coatesville (15-5), the Ches-Mont National Division co-leader with West Chester East.
Senior swingman Logan Shanahan, an Emory University recruit, scored 12 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks, and junior guard Sean Neylon made three three-pointers on his way to 13 points for Unionville (14-6), the Ches-Mont American Division co-leader with West Chester Rustin.
Unionville took a 51-50 lead on senior guard Jon Passarello’s off-balanced runner in the lane with 4 seconds on the clock.
“We know when we execute and play as hard and unselfish as we can, we can beat anybody,” Unionville coach Chris Cowles said. “Our execution was pretty good. We competed on both ends as hard as we could.”
Unionville controlled the game’s pace with patient offense and an active zone defense. The Indians led 30-20 after Passarello’s three-point play late in the first half and held a 35-26 edge after Shanahan’s dunk off a dish from Neylon early in the second half.
“Unionville did an outstanding job of running their stuff,” Coatesville coach Marc Turner said.
Turner said the game’s tight score and deliberate pace represented a playoff preview.
“Every game is going to come down to a possession or two,” Turner said of the postseason, which begins with the Ches-Mont League tournament the week of Feb. 10. “So this was a great opportunity for us to get better.”
It was a quiet game for Coatesville senior star Jhamir Brickus, who on Tuesday night passed 2001 graduate John Allen’s career record of 2,275 points for first place on the Red Raiders’ all-time scoring list.
Brickus didn’t take a shot in the first quarter. He finished with eight points but dished three assists and drew Unionville’s defensive attention, creating openings for his teammates.
“That actually is the thing that has impressed me the most with him,” said Turner, who is in his first year as Coatesville’s coach. “You hear about all the points he scores, but he’s one of the most unselfish scorers I’ve ever seen as a high school basketball coach. He plays within himself and makes the right play.”
Bryant, a Villanova football recruit, finished his career on the gridiron as the Philadelphia-area leader in career receptions, yards and touchdowns. He also was a dynamic defensive back and kick returner.
Bryant never hesitated on his way into the lane as the clock winked down toward the final buzzer.
“He knows what to do with it," Turner said of Bryant. "He does what he’s been doing for a number of years here at Coatesville. He makes plays.”
Cowles said Unionville’s defenders were in position on the final play.
“It was a contested look with two guys right there,” Cowles said. “So it was kind of tough. We let him go to his right, but he also can go to his left and get to the basket in a split second.”
Bryant said it was his first game-winning shot on the basketball court at any level – youth sports, AAU, high school. He caught a touchdown pass on the final play in a football victory over Downingtown East as a sophomore.
“That was my first one [in basketball],” Bryant said. “It brought me back to when I caught my football touchdown.
“I take a lot of pride in it. When I step on the court or the field, I always want to do my best and make plays for my team.”
Unionville 12 21 5 13 – 51
Coatesville 10 16 14 12 – 52
U: Logan Shanahan 12, Sean Neylon 13, Jon Passarello 9, Bryce Whitlock 6, Peter Kucharczuk 8, Kevin Nowoswiat 3.