By way of praise, Mike Brown is quick to admit his team’s, um, shortcomings. It’s an obvious point of pride for Brown that his Garnet Valley team compiled a 14-8 record and qualified for the District One Class AAAA Tournament for the first time in the school’s Central League epoch, snapping an eight-year drought. But even more gratifying is how the Jaguars earned Friday’s trip to No. 3 seed Downingtown West (21-3), against some tall odds.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a smaller team physically in the area,” Brown said Sunday. “But we’re a very tough team. Looks can be deceiving.”
That toughness will be required in spades Friday. The Whippets made mincemeat of their division (albeit a ridiculously top-heavy Ches-Mont National represented in the postseason by two of the top three AAAA seeds, one AAA entrant and nothing else).Two of the three losses have come to top-seeded Coatesville – a 47-42 loss at home Feb. 2 and a 38-37 setback last week in the Ches-Mont final. Seeds as they are, West would have to wait for the final to renew acquaintances with the Red Raiders. The only other loss is to Phoenixville early in the season.
As a 10 seed, Downingtown West made states last year via playbacks.
Now for the measurables: The Whippets’ front line is high scoring and runs 6-foot-6 (Dom Guerrera), 6-foot-7 (George Gordon) and 6-foot-8 (Cornell-bound Josh Warren). From the backcourt comes Ryan Betler, the 6-foot-5 Penn commit. The Garnet Valley roster, meanwhile, tops out at 6-foot-4 (reserve forward Keith Morey, averaging 1.7 points in 20 games). The starting lineup is all under 6-foot-1, Ryan McCrossan the presumptive post player.
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