PHOENIXVILLE — Freshmen Kayden Barrata and Riley Ford-Bey couldn’t say for certain the last time a Phoenixville girls basketball team won a District 1 tournament game.
“It’s been a long time,” Barrata said.
It had been at least 15 years. Despite its dubious streak of postseason misfortune, No. 11 Phoenixville walked into sixth-seeded Radnor feeling pretty good about its chances.
“We believed we could do it,” Ford-Bey said.
With Ford-Bey and Maliyah Warren taking care of the low post against a smaller Radnor team, and Barrata delivering several clutch baskets, the Phantoms indeed pulled off the upset and ended their lengthy playoff drought.
With their 46-37 victory, the Phantoms (14-9) advanced to the quarterfinal round of the District 1 Class 5A playoffs. They will play No. 3 Villa Maria (21-3), which is the Catholic Academic League champion.
The Phantoms know they could hang in games when they have the height advantage. Ford-Bey and Warren asserted their will against the Raptors, a guard-oriented team that simply couldn’t match up physically with the Phantoms’ imposing power forwards.
“We knew we had the advantage coming in against them,” Ford-Bey said. “We felt good about that.”
Ford-Bey accumulated 10 points, 11 rebounds and a blocked shot. Warren produced six points, six rebounds and three blocks. They caused havoc all game.
Radnor’s tallest player, sophomore Riley d’Entremont, gave the team a nice boost off the bench with eight points and five rebounds, but the Raptors struggled to take advantage of clean looks at the basket and turned the ball over seven times in the first half. The Raptors never established a flow offensively and failed to resemble the team that upset Garnet Valley in the quarterfinals of the Central League tournament eight days prior.
“We thought we could play fast with them, but they played really well, give them credit,” Radnor coach Rob Baxter said. “They shot the ball well and had an inside presence that we just don’t have. When we tried to take something away from them defensively they took complete advantage of it. And we’re just not in a good position to play from behind with a team that big.”
Phoenixville held a 12-6 lead after eight minutes and went into halftime with a 24-15 cushion. Barrata’s layup as time wound down in the third period gave the Phantoms a 32-20 lead.
In the fourth quarter the Phantoms shot 8 of 15 from the foul line. Not great, but enough to put away the Raptors. Barrata led all scorers with 15 points. Nevaeh Baltimore-Beasley chipped in with six points and two assists for the Phantoms.
Caroline Monahan paced Radnor (15-10) with 10 points. Mary Sareen had seven points and Kate Gallagher (nine rebounds, three assists) scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter.
“It’s definitely peaks and valleys. I mean, last week we beat Garnet Valley and were feeling really good,” Baxter said. “When you can control the tempo of the game it makes all the difference. And they controlled the tempo of the game tonight.”
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