Pope John Paul II turns up heat defensively in 34-17 win over Phoenixville

PHOENIXVILLE >> Pope John Paul II’s Shannon Mullen and Elise Sylvester couldn’t help but finish one another’s sentences after a convincing victory over Phoenixville.

“Chemistry” they attributed it to.

It was easy to see between the two, and also between the rest of the Golden Panther squad as a dominant defensive effort lifted PJP to a 34-17 victory over the Phantoms Tuesday night in a key Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division battle.

The win moves the Golden Panthers (5-2 Frontier Division, 6-4 PAC overall) into first place in the Frontier Division. It’s a win that can be credited to a swarming and suffocating defense that forced the Phantoms into errant passes and mistakes off the dribble. In all, PJP forced 31 turnovers while holding the Phantoms (4-3 Frontier, 4-5 PAC) to their second lowest point total of the season.

“We’ve come together as a team and we knew how to play them on defense this time,” Mullen, a 5-10 senior forward, said. “We were really comfortable, we felt like we were on our home court.”

“We were being aggressive and kept taking it at them and didn’t let anything get in our heads,” Sylvester, a 5-0 sophomore guard, quickly followed. “We were just trying to pressure them as much as possible.”

Monica Rapchinski, averaging 11.4 ppg entering Tuesday, scored 14 points and recorded eight rebounds to lead PJP. She took over in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of her game-high total to add separation to a game that was within seven after three (18-11). Her reverse layup that kissed the glass with a little over three minutes remaining gave PJP a 12-point lead before Sylvester’s similar layup after her backdoor cut made it 32-16 a minute later to seal it.

Sylvester finished with nine points as the team overcame a sluggish start, only leading 4-1 after one and 12-3 entering the half.

“It was probably just a little bit of nervousness coming in,” Mullen said. “We knew we had to do well.”

“We just knew we had to stick together as a team,” Sylvester continued. “Play well and trust in each other.”

“We did that pretty well,” Mullen finished.

Phoenixville’s Dakota Graham finished with six points. Her sister, Peyton, added five in the loss.

Jasmine Hamilton finished with a game-high nine rebounds for the Phantoms, which saw their two-game winning streak come to an end.

Rachel Yerger20004
Elise Sylvester32219
Jenna Finley00000
Maria Cotellese00000
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Shannon Mullen20004
Lauren Ciuba11203
Monica Rapchinski702014


Dakota Graham30206
Jordan Hrynkow01201
Hannah Sands02202
Amanda Fields00000
Jess Anthony01201
Peyton Graham21205
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