Young Chichester team falls hard in opener to Pottstown
LOWER POTTSGROVE >> Pottsgrove will always be home for Scott Palladino.
So it was only fitting that the first-year Pottstown head coach kicked off the 20182019 season back at his old home at the Pottsgrove Tip-Off Tournament Friday night.
“I love this place. It was real good to be back,” Palladino said with a smile, thinking back to the decade he spent as head coach of the Falcons until 2016. “I graduated from here, spent 13 years coaching here. It will always have a special place in my heart. That said, it was a little different for me walking in here tonight.”
Fortunately for him, he walked out a winner. With four players scoring in double figures, Pottstown used a balanced effort to beat Chichester 76-58 during the tournament’s opening game.
Senior guard Floyd Dashiell and sophomore forward Robert Burress scored 19 points apiece while junior guard Tre Bass had 16 and junior forward Donovan Towson added 12. And that all was without talented senior guard Anthony Brown, who has been out with strep throat according to Palladino.
The Trojans led 17-16 after the first quarter but used a 10-2 run early on in the second and never looked back from there. Pottstown outscored Chichester 38-27 during the second half where Bass and Dashiell combined for 19 points.
“Our defense really picked it up in the second half,” Dashiell said. “We got a lot of steals and transition baskets. That’s really our bread and butter, that’s what we like to do. Try to get up and down and score in transition.”
Utilizing a press defense, the Trojans forced 28 turnovers on the night and rarely let the Eagles set up comfortably on the offensive end. Chi coach Clyde Jones wasn’t ready to give Pottstown’s defense all the credit, though.
“I believe our decision-making was worse,” he said. “If we’re able to be in the right position and execute, we’re not going to be a team that can be pressed. Even with our youth.
“We just had too many giveaways where we threw the ball in space, threw the ball away. We’ve got to clean that up.”
Sophomore guard Josh Hankins was a bright spot for Chichester with a gamehigh 29 points. He finished with four 3-pointers, even with a constant hand on his chest from the first quarter on.
“He’s a young kid who works extremely hard,” Jones said of Hankins. “He believes in his ability and he’ll go out there and play until he passes out. That’s the culture we’re building with how we want to compete. It’s important for him to keep playing that way and for our guys to learn from that. Battling all the way until the end, win or lose.”
Calvin Church added a career-high 16 points for Chi.