SPRINGFIELD >> Over the last couple of years the Jenkintown and Phil-Mont Christian Academy rivalry has turned into more than just a basketball game. Both communities pour out in support and pack the gym, no matter where the game is being held, to make sure they are there for their team.
Thursday night was no different, as the Drakes and the Falcons faced off in front of a packed gym for the right to call themselves BAL Constitution Division regular season champions.
With supporters from both sides there to cheer on their girls, the Falcons prevailed 53-46, adding a third straight championship to their banner.
“It feels amazing,” Phil-Mont forward Tracey Goodman said. “Before the game we went over there to where our banner is and we were just like we want to put up these numbers again. If we win this game they go on the banner and I just have to thank God because He’s been our inspiration and it’s because of Him that we’re able to pull out this victory tonight.”
Phi-Mont’s dynamic duo of Goodman and fellow senior forward Keyen Green eventually got it done, but it did not look good for them early.
Green and Goodman combined for just six points in the first two quarters and looked frustrated.
“We played well,” Jenkintown coach Jim Romano said. “They have the height but we are able to use our speed on the press. I can’t ask the girls to really do much more than what they did, they played hard.”
Jenkintown’s full-court press was getting to Phil-Mont, and forcing the Falcons run a hectic style of offense rather than their offensive sets that they are used to.
After the halftime whistle blew, Phil-Mont found itself down 10 with very little life on the offensive end.
At the break, Falcons coach Bill DeHeer wanted to make sure his girls kept it all in prospective and knew that they were still in it.
“I said (at halftime) it could have been worse, I said it could have been better too,” DeHeer said. “I tried to balance the picture out for them and kind of say well, it’s only ten points and there’s a whole half to go, that’s just a few baskets.”
The team must have listened to DeHeer because it came out of the break looking as confident as ever despite the 10-point deficit.
A dominating third quarter, where the Falcons outscored the Drakes 17-9, brought them back to within two. But it was Goodman’s fourth-quarter performance that was truly special.
The Rider University commit scored 13 points in the final eight minutes, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, including a 3-pointer with less than two minutes left that sent the packed gym into a frenzy.
“The coaches didn’t necessarily want us to shoot outside shots there,” Goodman said. “But I felt it and I told myself ‘Tracey you’ve got to take this shot’ so I just did.”
From that point on the Falcons never looked back, holding onto their slim lead as the clock ticked down to zero, signifying another yet another championship.
“It feels pretty awesome because of the way we did it,” said DeHeer with a smile. “I told the girls before the game we praise God if we win and we praise God if we loose, and a lot of prayer went into this.”