GRATERFORD >> Perkiomen Valley didn’t need to make any adjustment — or even listen to a pep talk, for that matter.
The Vikings simply needed to settle in.
After giving up 16 points during the opening quarter, Perk Valley rallied back and dominated the rest of the way Friday night en route to a 47-33 win over Phoenixville in a Pioneer Athletic Conference divisional crossover matchup.
“To give up 16 in the first quarter and only 17 over the next three quarters — that’s the game we’re trying to play,” said PV head coach Michael Poysden. “We settled in, defended, rebounded well.”
With the win, Perk Valley (0-3 PAC Liberty, 2-3 PAC) improves to 5-6 overall, that after ending a six-game skid earlier this week. Phoenixville (3-2 PAC Frontier, 3-4 PAC) drops to 6-8 overall.
Standout scorer Tyler Strechay led the way with a game-high 20 points but it was the effort of senior forward Carson Parke that proved the difference. Parke was bullish in the paint, leading the Vikings’ comeback rally with nine points in the second quarter before finishing up with 12 on the game.
The 6-1 big man battled with Phoenixville’s 6-6 center, Brendan Jenkins, in the paint all night. He utilized his strength and crafty quickness to score the go-ahead bucket on a give from Strechay to make it 20-18 as PV took a lead it would never relinquish during the decisive second quarter.
Poysden drew comparisons of Parke to Hogan Millheim, a key piece to Perk Valley’s run to a PAC Championship and a PIAA Class 6A playoff berth last season.
“(He’s a) 6-1 center who can find ways to score against bigger guys,” said Poysden. “That’s sort of what the inspiration was. Going after him (Millheim) all day long last year and the year before, it taught Carson to be crafty around the basket. He’s really coming into himself.”
With the defense locked in on Strechay in the early going, Parke’s emergence proved pivotal.
“Perk Valley is very balanced that way,” said Phoenixville head coach Eric Burnett. “They find ways to hurt you. If one guys is falling asleep on defense, they’ll move the ball and find that guy. They’ve got good balance.”
As for Strechay, the junior wing kept the Vikings afloat throughout while scoring his team’s first nine points. He finished with his seventh double-digit scoring game of the season and his fifth outing with 20-plus.
“I was working off my teammates,” he said. “Part of our offense, we want to set screens for each other — that really opens up everything. We were spreading the floor and I was on the receiving end of a lot of good screens and passes.”
Senior guard Kevin Bernabe finished with six assists and four points while junior forward Bryce Streeper closed out the third quarter with two big blocks to keep the momentum with the Vikings.
What had begun as a positive showing for Phoenixville turned into a forgettable night. After starting out the first quarter going 3-for-4 from 3-point land, the Phantoms went ice cold in all aspects. They finished 1-for-11 from deep the rest of the way, and were unable to generate any sort of sustained run offensively.
“That’s been the story of our season,” said Burnett. “We’ve been pretty streaky. At times, we look like we could really beat anybody, we’re moving the ball, making our shots. And then at other times, we’re missing wide open shots, missing lay-ups.”
Sophomore guard Steven Hamilton led the Phantoms with eight points while junior Colton Brown finished with seven and KJ Quinn had six.
Perk Valley turns right around with a Saturday matchup against Liberty Division foe Owen J. Roberts at 1 p.m. as the Vikings are still searching for their first Liberty division win. Phoenixville will host Spring-Ford on Tuesday at 7 p.m.