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Phoenixville’s KJ Quinn mighty in OT win

PHOENIXVILLE >> KJ Quinn knew he had scored a lot. How much? He wasn’t quite sure.

When Quinn found out he finished with a career-high 34 points in Phoenixville’s 90-81 overtime win over Pottsgrove on Saturday, the Phantoms’ senior guard couldn’t quite believe it.

The closest he’d gotten to a 30-point outing was a 26-point effort for the junior varsity team as a sophomore. A 22-point game last season was his career mark at the varsity level entering Saturday.

“Definitely my teammates got me the ball,” Quinn said of the reason for his big outing. “Lately, I haven’t been shooting well, but it’s all about getting to the rack and seeing the ball go through the basket. Once I hit my first three, I felt hot and it just kept going in and going in throughout the game.”

Phoenixville (4-1 PAC Frontier, 6-4 overall) entered the game at the top of the division standings, while Pottsgrove (2-3 Frontier, 7-5) came into Saturday with a chance to tie for first place with a win.

Coming off an upset loss to Upper Perk on Thursday, the Phantoms prepared with an extra focus.

“We came into that (Upper Perk) game so lightly, but this game we were so angry, we just wanted to rip their heads off,” Quinn said.

Pottsgrove’s Justin Robinson did all he could to waste Quinn’s career night. The Falcons’ senior guard poured in 35 points of his own, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

Coming out of a timeout with less than a minute and a half remaining, Quinn drilled a three to put Phoenixville ahead, 73-71. It looked like the shot might be the biggest of the game after free throws from Phoenixville junior Steven Hamilton and a bucket by senior Dylan Clark put Phoenixville up by six points in the final minute.

A few missed free throws, a Phoenixville turnover and eight Robinson points later, the 6-foot-2 guard was sending the game to overtime at 79-79 with a contested layup at the buzzer.

“I know (Robinson) personally,” Quinn said. “I’ve played him in AAU, in the summer, all these leagues. He’s a great player. He’s tough to guard. He’s hitting clutch shots. That half court buzzer beater was insane. He’s a great player.”

While Quinn scored 13 points in the first half, the Phoenixville bench was the big story early in Saturday’s game. Clark and Hamilton came off the bench and rarely left the game after entering the contest.
Both players, who finished with 22 points each, helped the Phantoms build a 41-28 advantage in the second quarter.

Phoenixville coach Eric Burnett said he put junior Ignacio Ortiz in the starting lineup in favor of Clark to exploit some matchups he thought his team might have. Hamilton has found success coming off the bench as of late, so Burnett has kept him there.

“With Steven (Hamilton), you see his potential, and he’s definitely somebody we rely on not just scoring, but rebounding and making game-winning plays,” Burnett said. “He’s in a groove coming off the bench right now.”

After the Phantoms built up their 13-point advantage, momentum swung the other way. Robinson helped put the Falcons up, 52-44, with a 24-3 run at the end of the second and start of the third quarter. The stretch included Robinson’s heave from beyond half court to beat the buzzer in the first half and two threes from Pottsgrove senior Gabe Applebach, who finished with nine points.

Phoenixville answered with a 13-1 run of its own, including eight points from Quinn, to retake the lead and head into the fourth quarter up 59-57. Both teams had shares of the lead before Robinson’s heroics at the end of regulation. However, when the game went to overtime, the Phantoms were too much.

With Khaliym Smith, who fouled out with 18 points, and Manny Clark, who finished with 11 points, on the bench, the Falcons made just one basket in the extra period. On the other side, Quinn, Clark and Hamilton combined for 11 points to secure the win.

“What you saw out of KJ tonight, that is kind of defining of him,” Burnett said. “That’s the kind of kid he is. He works for these types of moments. He works obsessively, and I’ve seen that over the course of his career where he’s the first one in the gym at 6 a.m. workouts. All that stuff that goes into these types of moments, came to fruition today for KJ.”

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