Phoenixville rallies past Perkiomen Valley in 4th, 54-49

PHOENIXVILLE >> Perkiomen Valley’s boys basketball team had the better of it in the beginning Thursday night. But in the end, Phoenixville’s strength and firepower was just too much to beat.

Perkiomen Valley jumped out to a 13-3 lead after one quarter and was ahead of the Phantoms 28-17 at halftime, thanks to sizzling 3-point shooting by Justin Jaworski and Sean Owens.

But host Phoenixville turned up the defensive intensity and energy in the second half and proceeded to defeat the Vikings, 54-49, in a Pioneer Athletic Conference contest.

Christian Kelly scored 20 points with 10-for-11 free throw shooting, and Avery Close finished with 14 points and three 3-pointers as Phoenixville upped its record to 4-0 in the PAC-10 (6-1 overall) with its sixth straight victory to stay on top in the Frontier Division.

Jaworski, coming off a stellar football season for the Vikings, fired in a game-high 24 points with six 3-pointers, and Sean Owens knocked down 11 with three more treys for the Vikings (1-3, 2-5) in the PAC crossover contest.

“I think the thing was how they kept the tempo down and forced us to take shots we normally don’t take,” said Kelly, who scored 17 points in the second half. “Then we came out with more energy in the second half. We pressed them and had team pressure. We got under their skin a little bit.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Sean Moriarity played tough defense on Kelly and forced him into 4-for-9 shooting from the floor and 2-for-6 from 3-point range.

With the Phantoms trailing 40-29 and 1:10 left in the third period, Kelly drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing. Then Close followed up with another 3-pointer from the left wing at the last second off an assist by Shyheim Abernathy to pull the Phantoms to within 40-35 entering the fourth quarter.

Kelly made two foul shots to start the fourth period and Close made two more before Abernathy’s driving layup put Phoenixville in front 41-40 with 6:14 left in regulation time.

The game was tied at 42, and then the Phantoms pulled away at the end of the game. Play included a couple of key turnovers by Perkiomen Valley as well as a blocked shot by Kelly and a steal by Marquise McDuffee.

“We were flat in the beginning,” said Phoenixville coach Eric Burnett. “We only scored three points in the first quarter. This was a good challenge. We have to come out early with energy. We can’t dig ourselves a hole.

“They (Vikings) are a good team. Jaworski is an elite scorer. He knocked down some shots. We knew that coming in. He was great early.”

Burnett used different combinations to help spark the defense as the Phantoms played catchup. The Phantoms got a lot of good minutes from Nasir Green, Hunter Herschell, Phil Meszaros and Abernathy (six points) as Phoenixville made its comeback.

“It was a good high school basketball game,” said Perkiomen Valley coach Mike Poysden. “We really tried to control the tempo tonight. We are just a few things away. We had a couple missed layups where we were in position.

“But give Phoenixville credit. We did a nice job defensively. We practice a lot of defense. It was a great night for Sean (Moriarity) on Kelly. We knew we had to account for him. We wanted to get the ball out of his hands. But he is a great player. He made some great plays and got to the hoop.”

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