PHOENIXVILLE - Phoenixville put a full game together and outscored Owen J. Roberts 14-3 during the fourth quarter to come away with a 54-44 victory in Pioneer Athletic Conference girls basketball action Monday night, Jan. 6.
The Phantoms’ pressure defense helped create eight Wildcats turnover in the fourth period as Phoenixville made up a 41-40 deficit after three quarters.
Jada Boyce and Nomi Washington were big factors at both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter as the Phantoms (3-2, 5-5) won their second straight league game and started the new year on the positive side of the ledger with a strong team effort.
Boyce scored eight points in the fourth quarter while Washington had six. Boyce finished the contest with 14 points, 15 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Washington totaled 18 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Nikki Testa paced the Wildcats (1-3, 4-6) with a game-high 22 points, including a pair of 3-point field goals.
“It was our defense definitely, and we were working as a team the entire time,” said Washington, a junior guard who scored nine points with one trey in the second period as the Phantoms went into the break with a 25-22 lead.
“If we keep doing that, we will give a lot of teams a run for their money. Me and Jada at the end on defense got steals. When we put our heads together, we can be a force, which is good.”
Washington felt it was the aggressive play for four quarters that pushed the Phantoms and allowed them to reach the .500 mark after they had come up short in several contests.
Washington had primary responsibility for Testa on defense, too. She limited the Owen J. Roberts junior guard to one field goal in the last eight minutes with 11 points in each half.
“Number 3 (Testa) deserves a lot of props,” said Washington. “I told her after the game good job. It was hard to play defense on her, but I kept pushing her out there.”
Washington tallied the first six points of the final quarter to give Phoenixville a 46-41 lead with 5:35 left in regulation time. Washington hit a rebound basket, a jump shot from the right corenr and another jump shot during the spurt.
Theresa Walsh made the second of two foul tries to snap it at 5:22. Both teams then went through a drought. Owen J. Roberts made a pair of steals by Walsh and Rebecca Painter but could not convert them into points at the other end of the court. Finally, Painter made a steal and passed to Testa for a layup at 3:01 to trim the Phantoms’ lead to 46-44.
Boyce closed out the scoring with two foul shots and two more baskets plus two blocks and a steal at the end of the game.
“It was a big win,” said Boyce. “We started out well, and all of us played a good all-around game the whole time.We have to keep putting forth the effort to make it that far. It is a matter of putting every quarter together.”
Khadijah Ford-Bey gave the Phantoms another spark off the bench with eight points and five rebounds, including six points in the third quarter with putbacks.
Gabby Duda had six points, three boards and a block. Mackenzie Smith and Rachel Miller played well at point guard for the Phantoms, and Smith also had a couple boards and a block. Each guard made some nice passes for assists. Freshman guards Jess Anthony (five rebounds) and Julia Brown also provided some solid minutes.
“We played great deffense,” said Boyce. “We went hard this game. We gave it our all. We wanted it.”
“We played basically four good quarters,” said Phoenixville coach Kevin Bornstad. “If we keep doing that, it is going to be tough to beat us. This (OJR) is a quality team. They are very well-coached. We just outran them and we have some horses to do it. It was a very good team effort.”
Jeremy Mellon, the Wildcats’ coach, talked about his team’s problem areas.
“Our two achilles heels in our six losses have been we don’t reboiund and we make some really bad decisions in crucial times,” said Mellon. “There was a point there where we made four steals and followed those up with four really bad decisions to turn it right back.”
“Give them (Phantoms) credit. They wanted it more than us. Nikki played well well tonight. It was not just her scoring. She must have had five or six steals. We have to find a way to get her some help. We have to find a way to take advantage of situations we create.”
Walsh had seven points, three boards and two steals for the Wildcats while Taylor Evans had seven rebounds, three points and a steal. ... Marisa Sullivan had three baskets for six points, and Painter finished with five points, five boards, two steals and a block. ... The Phantoms held a 46-29 rebounding advantage.