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Jalen Gaffney and Westtown aiming for fifth straight league title

Rick O'Brien, Staff Writer

Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 5:26 PM

Jalen Gaffney (12) drives past Timber Creek’s Isaiah Sanders (20) in Westtown’s 71-57 victory on Saturday.

Cameron Reddish, a Duke recruit and a McDonald’s All-American, naturally receives most of the attention when it comes to Westtown School’s basketball squad.

Westtown's Jalen Gaffney (12). LOU RABITO
Westtown's T.J. Berger (20). LOU RABITO
Shipley's Sam Sessoms, a Binghamton recruit, has scored 2,026 career points. LOU RABITO
Photo Gallery: Jalen Gaffney and Westtown aiming for fifth straight league title

But the Moose have several other highly talented players, including junior combination guard Jalen Gaffney.

Last Saturday afternoon, with Reddish sidelined by an ankle injury, Gaffney buried four three-pointers on the way to a game-high 23 points as Westtown downed Timber Creek (N.J.), 71-57, in the Philly.com/Rally Play-By-Play Classic at Harriton.

The 6-foot-3, 165-pounder hit a pair of third-quarter treys as the Moose began to pull away from the Chargers. “He is a fantastic player and, quietly, the most athletic kid on our team,” Westtown coach Seth Berger said. “He jumps out of the gym, and he could probably run a 4.4 in the 40.”

Westtown, a private boarding school in West Chester, is Gaffney’s third high school stop. He spent his first year at Lawrenceville School and second at Pennington School, both in New Jersey

“They’re both good schools, but they weren’t the right fit for me,” said the 17-year-old from Columbus, N.J. “Westtown, with its athletics and academics, has worked out well.”

Gaffney had to find a way to mesh with Reddish and 6-9 senior forward and Indiana recruit Jake Forrester. “Playing with Cam and Jake was hard at first,” Gaffney said, “but it’s gotten easier and easier as the season has gone along.”

Westtown's Jalen Gaffney (12).

Gaffney plays AAU ball for Team Rio National on the Under Armour Circuit. His teammates include five-star juniors Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine, both of whom play for Ranney School in Tinton Falls, N.J. “I worked a lot last summer on becoming a better shooter and improving my defensive skills,” Gaffney said.

Gaffney has scholarship offers from Binghamton, Drexel, Florida, La Salle, and St. John’s, among others. Connecticut, Stanford, and Xavier are also involved.

Westtown's T.J. Berger (20).

T.J. Berger, a sophomore point guard and the coach’s son, hit four treys and netted 15 points against Timber Creek. Forrester, a Harrisburg native, crammed eight of his 14 points into the fourth quarter. Noah Collier, a 6-8 sophomore forward from Mullica Hill, was next in line with nine markers.

Sophomore guard Seyon Kpaan, 6-7 senior wing Harrison Eichelberger, 6-6 freshman wing John Camden, and freshman guard Jalen Warley are also in the rotation.

Reddish returned from a two-game absence and scored 18 points in Tuesday’s 56-36 triumph over Academy of the New Church in a Friends Schools League playoff semifinal.

Shipley's Sam Sessoms, a Binghamton recruit, has scored 2,026 career points.

Westtown (21-12) will seek its fifth consecutive league crown when it meets Shipley (13-11) at 8 p.m. Friday at La Salle University. The Moose beat the Gators and senior guard Sam Sessoms, a 2,026-point career scorer in a 92-67 rout in last month’s meeting.

“We’re still going to try to play fast against them,” Shipley coach Phil D’Ambrosio said. “Hopefully, they don’t shoot as well as they did the first time. The energy is going to be high, for sure.”

Rick O'Brien, Staff Writer

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