Do-it-all DeAngelo boosts Sun Valley past Marple Newtown

ASTON >> There weren’t many certainties to be found Wednesday night at Sun Valley — not as Marple Newtown’s top two shooters failed to top 30 percent from the field, not as turnovers piled up and leads yo-yoed between double-digits and one possession.

But when Sun Valley needed the space to exhale in a hectic, rugged District 1 Class 5A first-round contest, the Vanguards knew they just had to place the ball in the steady hands of Vinny DeAngelo.

The junior guard scored 19 points, but his contributions were far more numerous in a 62-56 win for the sixth-seeded Vanguards.

DeAngelo did a little of everything. He dished four assists. He pocketed four steals, setting the defensive tone that muzzled Marple Newtown’s high-powered duo of Mike May and Tommy Gardler to 9-for-33 shooting.

And most frequently, DeAngelo exuded a tempo-dictating calm that helped the Vanguards (17-6) nurse an occasionally shaky lead in the fourth for a wire-to-wire win that sets up a quarterfinal date with third seed Chester Saturday.

“I try to just slow things down in my head and visualize,” DeAngelo said. “When I get the ball in my hands, I’m just thinking about attacking and creating offense for my teammates.”

DeAngelo was the impetus when Sun Valley made its move in the second quarter, either getting to the basket or kicking out to Marvin Freeman, who hit a pair of first-half 3-pointers and tallied 21 points. DeAngelo also spearheaded the defensive effort that translated into easy transition buckets.

“We had to crack down on defense,” Freeman said. “We came out early and we had the jitters because it was the first playoff game in a few years and it was the first game in a week and a half. We had to get the jitters out early but we cracked down on defense and got the job done.”

With DeAngelo orchestrating, all five of Sun Valley’s starters got in on the act in the program’s first home playoff game since 2000 — when coach Steve Maloney was a sophomore. Shahir Brown-Morris scored nine points. Isaac Kennon added five. Freeman provided nine of his 21 in the fourth quarter to go with eight rebounds.

And Lance Stone scored eight big points, tying his third-best total of the season, while grabbing 10 boards, the kind of ancillary contribution that made the difference.

“He’s very aggressive, hard worker, gets great rebounds,” Freeman said of Stone. “We call him the garbage man. He’s our garbage man. He’s our 5-foot-10 center.”

Such offensive balance eluded 11th seed Marple Newtown (13-10). Gardler led the way with 18 points, and May snuck into double-figures with 10. But their production was labored. Gardler hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter but couldn’t sustain his scoring. May nailed a 35-foot runner in the final minute of the game, burnishing a 3-for-16 day from the field and 2-for-10 from beyond the arc.

Marple’s secondary options surfaced in fits and starts. Matt Peel scored seven points and dished three assists, often finding Mike Smith. The senior forward not known for his offense stepped up with 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals. It’s a career-high in scoring for Smith, who stepped into the lineup for the injured Alden Mathes, in what proved to be his last high school game.

“I just try to play my role,” Smith said. “The coaches prepared us so well this whole last week of practice.”

Anthony Paoletti added 11 points (albeit on 11 shot attempts and 1-for-6 from the line) and 10 rebounds.

DeAngelo took a dime from Kennon to give Sun Valley its largest lead at 47-34 early in the fourth. Marple whittled the deficit to 53-50 on a Paoletti second-chance bucket with 2:01 left. But DeAngelo charged down the lane for a lay-in on the next possession, stemming the tide and firmly re-establishing control in a game that marks a definitive step in the years-long building process under Maloney.

“It means a lot to us,” DeAngelo said. “We all love basketball and we’ve all worked so hard for this and it’s finally come to fruition.”

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