Upper Merion closes out PAC schedule with win over Phoenixville

PHOENIXVILLE >> Upper Merion withstood an inspired start by Phoenixville on its Senior Night, settled in behind the three-point shooting of Amya Anthony, and ultimately found its way to a 40-29 victory over the Phantoms in a Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division game Thursday evening.

“We really wanted it, especially to prove that we could be back-to-back champions,” said Viking senior guard Jordan Wilson, as Upper Merion clinched at least a share of the division crown with Pope John Paul II (8-1 going into Thursday). “That was our number-one goal.”

Wilson scored eight fourth-quarter points for the Vikings (11-10, 9-1 Frontier) to ensure a second victory over Phoenixville this season (41-32 on Jan. 5).

“We’re pretty excited (for the playoffs),” said Wilson, who scored a game-high 12 points. “We don’t know what we’re gonna face but we’re prepared for whatever we face. Hopefully we’ll come out with a win.”

Consecutive drives to the hoop by Wilson began the fourth quarter in style for Upper Merion, which led by double digits the rest of the way.

Anthony added 10 points for the Vikings and Maddie Harvey scored nine off the bench. Upper Merion now just has a non-league game at Kennett Monday before getting ready for the postseason.

It was a night that saw Phoenixville get off to a tremendous start on both ends of the court.

Ameerah Green was hitting from the outside and Jasmine Hamilton was battling — and winning — down low, pushing the Phantoms out in front.

A jumper by Green opened the scoring and Hamilton soon scored off a rebound to give Phoenixville an early edge. Hamilton scored again inside, Green hit a jumper, and the Phantoms were out in front of their PAC rival, 8-3.

Hanna Sands scored off a runner to boost the margin to 10-3 after a quarter, with the Phantoms not allowing a single field goal in the opening eight minutes.

But back came Upper Merion.

Anthony hit back-to-back threes, Kelly Burns scored along the baseline, and Upper Merion surged in front for the first time, 11-10.

Upper Merion methodically gained control, with its bench contributing key baskets and Anthony scoring off the fast break, helping to provide the visitors a 17-14 edge at the break. Phoenixville’s only baskets in the quarter came from Liberty Allain and Sands.

Upper Merion tightened its grip in the third quarter, particularly on the defensive end. Phoenixville (12-10, 5-5 Frontier) was held to just two points in the frame.

“Our defense leads our offense,” Wilson said. “We were happy to start making shots after our defense got going.”

Upper Merion widened the gap: Wilson hit a jumper, Maddie Harvey came off the bench to a hit a three, and a jump shot by Tymeriah Stanton fell through with just a second to go in the quarter, stretching the Viking advantage to 25-16.

Wilson helped lock things up in the fourth.

“It was Senior Night, they came out excited, played hard,” said Phantoms coach A.J. Thompson of his squad. “We’ve been kind of bit by the turnover bug all year long. The girls tried to battle back but every time we needed a bucket, we had a costly turnover.

“But I’m really proud of the way the seniors played and played all year long. We’re 12-10 — that’s a two-game improvement from last year, and we’re still waiting to see if we have a shot at districts.”

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