By Barry Sankey
For Digital First Media
PHOENIXVILLE >> Owen J. Roberts got off to a fast 10-0 start in Tuesday night’s girls basketball game against Phoenixville.
But the game turned into anything but a cakewalk from that point on.
Still, the Wildcats managed to maintain their lead and wound up with a 38-31 Pioneer Athletic Conference crossover victory over the Phantoms.
Sophomore point guard Hannah Clay helped engineer the victory for OJR, particularly during the second half.
The Wildcats also got plenty of contributions from senior Kylie Cahill, three more sophomores in the top six in Olivia Leclaire, Brooke Greenawald and Maddi Koury. Junior Diana Rantz also helped the visitors get off to their fast start, banking home a jump shot for the first basket of the night and a 3-pointer just after that.
Phoenixville exhibited scrappy play from start to finish to make the game close.
Freshman guard Aubrie Breisblatt delivered some solid major minutes off the bench for the Phantoms along with regulars Jasmine Hamilton (10 rebounds), Peyton Graham, Liberty Allain and Ameerah Green.
Rantz had 10 points and Clay had nine for the Wildcats.
Hamilton scored a game-high 13 points for the Phantoms while Graham finished with nine
“Give them (Phantoms) credit,” said Owen J. Roberts coach Jeremy Mellon. “In the two years we have played them, they are tough and are hard to beat. They get up for the game. They don’t panic.”
He noted the Wildcats also hurt themselves by shooting 12-for-31 from the foul line, and he estimated they also missed 15 layups.
“Somehow, we survived,” said Mellon. “They should have won the game. You can’t use the weather as an excuse. We are all backed up. You have to be ready to play all the games. They are all tough.”
Evidently, players on both sides showed the effects of not having practiced for two days, resulting in numerous turnovers and general sloppy play.
“We are still a young team,” Mellon said. “We are pretty balanced and that helps us. We won even though we were out of rhythm and out of sync.”
Phoenixville coach A.J. Thompson was pleased with his girls’ performance.
“They (Phantoms) battled,” said Thompson. “Any time you play the crossover games against the bigger schools, you want the girls to compete. That was the hardest they competed all year long, from the tip to the end.”
He also thought the defense was the best it has shown all season.
But he credited Owen J. Roberts for having quality guards and five players who can handle the ball.
“We played hard all the time,” said Thompson. “I am very proud of the way we played for four quarters.”
He cited Breisblatt’s showing in her first solid, varsity playing time and liked the way she handled the pressure. He termed Hamilton’s play inside rock steady, and Graham’s work as gutsy.
“You are never happy with a loss,” said Thompson. “But I will take this kind of loss.”
OJR led 10-2 after one quarter, but Phoenixville closed to within 13-9 at halftime. OJR took a 29-21 lead into the fourth period.