GRATERFORD >> Sydney Wagner sipped on her Gatorade bottle, admittedly feeling more tired than usual after suffering through bouts of nausea throughout the day.
Anyone who had watched the Spring-Ford senior’s performance would have never ventured a guess of her feeling off, because it was Perkiomen Valley, not Wagner, looking ill as it left the court Thursday.
Wagner shined for Spring-Ford hitting five 3-pointers en route to a career-high 30 points as the Rams continued their winning streak with a 58-46 victory over Perkiomen Valley in a clash between two PAC Liberty heavyweights.
“We came out strong and played really good as a team,” Wagner, a Stetson University commit, said. “Our defense was really good. We got back to our principles and once we do that, it’s hard to beat us.
“We came in, handled our business and now we’re looking to keep it going.”
The win is the fifth straight for Spring-Ford (2-1 PAC Liberty, 6-2 overall), which came into Thursday night on a roll after an impressive string of wins in Florida that culminated in a KSA Tournament Championship — one where the Rams battled back from a 22-point deficit in the final 15 minutes.
It also snapped a three-game losing streak to the Vikings dating back to the 2014-2015 season.
“The way we came out and played them tonight in their place, I’m just proud of their effort,” Spring-Ford head coach Mickey McDaniel said. “We played well in Florida and we continued it here against a very good team. I can’t be more proud.”
Megan Jonassen led Perkiomen Valley (1-2, 2-4) with 20 points in the loss. The Vikings, still without last year’s Mercury All-Area Honorable Mention selection in forward Taylor Hamm, never led after seeing a 4-0 lead vanish in the game’s first six minutes.
“My kids work really, really hard,” Perkiomen Valley head coach John Strawoet said. “We’re down a player or two and that’s been a struggle for us since the beginning. The effort that was put out there, I can only praise them for that. The tough part about this is waking up tomorrow morning and coming in and having a practice with some intensity and continuing that until our next game.”
The loss is the team’s second double-digit division loss, yet a silver lining could be found by Strawoet in Thursday’s tilt.
“Some defeats are installments to victories,” he said. “That’s how I feel about this loss. We’ll get Hamm back shortly. We still have a couple of issues that we have to solve but we’ll get it sorted out.”
Thursday, Wagner was one issue that went unsolved.
The senior guard — aided by sensational ball movement — went on a tear in the first quarter, converting on three 3-pointers as she torched the Vikings for 12 of the team’s 14 first-quarter points in leading the Rams to a 14-7 lead after one.
The seven-point cushion was as close as the Vikings got the rest of the way, especially due to the defensive efforts of Wagner, Juliana Alessandroni and Lexie Nugent and a full-court press that was the epitome of “Spring-Ford basketball.”
“We really stepped up our full-court press and that really set the tempo for the whole game,” Wagner said. “We got a lot of stops off that and then we switched it up to a 1-2-2 and that really flustered them. It allowed us to get a lot of steals and allowed us to push the ball.”
A 30-18 lead at the half was maintained throughout the third, courtesy of 3-pointers from Maddie Haney, Rachel Christman (eight points) and an eight-point effort from Wagner that included a step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 46-35 entering the fourth.
The Vikings trimmed the deficit to nine to start the quarter courtesy of Jonassen free throws after she was fouled trying to put back a miss but the Rams answered right back, a 3-pointer from Alessandroni (seven points) extending the lead back to 12 before Wagner spaced out six of her 30 points in the final minutes to send the Rams into the New Year on a high note.
NOTES >> Wagner has finished in double figures in every game she’s played this season. … Abby Goodrich finished with eight points for the Rams. … Spring-Ford finished with eight 3-pointers. … Hanan Richmond added nine points and Bridgette Bonjo had eight for the Vikings.