ASTON — Sun Valley’s four senior starters stood tall in the Vanguards’ 82-65 win over Phoenixville Thursday night in the opening round of the District 1 Class 5A boys basketball tournament.
Vinny DeAngelo lit up the scoreboard with 31 points, and fellow seniors Isaac Kennon and Marvin Freeman chipped in with 14 each. The trio was tough on the boards Thursday night, too.
“DeAngelo, Freeman and Kennon have been our top rebounders for the last three years, but our unsung rebounding hero is Lance Stone,” Sun Valley head coach Steve Maloney said. “He’s barely 6-foot, and he pulled down some big ones in the second half tonight.”
Sun Valley (16-7) maintained a small lead against Phoenixville (11-12) most of the night, then exploded for 31 points in the final quarter.
“We’ve scored the ball pretty well this season, but we spent the last two weeks working on defensive assignments,” Maloney said. “I thought our defense was good tonight. Dom Valente had a good defensive game, he’s taken about 20 charges for us this year.”
With DeAngelo and Kennon (nine first-quarter points) leading the way, the Vanguards got off to a 21-10 lead at the end of the first period.
Phoenixville converted 11 treys Thursday night, and began to hit from the outside late in the second quarter, cutting the Vanguards’ lead to 34-29 by halftime.
“At the end of the first half, we gave up a couple of uncontested shots, but our defense was solid tonight for the rest of the game,” Maloney said.
In the third quarter, Valente found a favorite shooting spot in the left corner, from where he hit a trio of threes. He added a fourth shot from beyond the arc midway through the fourth quarter to give the hosts a 65-54 lead. Meanwhile, DeAngelo kept driving inside for scores.
“My teammates were making shots when I passed them the ball, and that kind of opened things up for me,” said DeAngelo, who is averaging more than 22 points per game this season. “Phoenixville was playing up-pace, and I thrive off that. When they were playing full-court defense, I was getting to the basket when I had odd-man breaks.
“We got off to a good start in the first quarter, and all of our starters have three years of varsity experience, so I don’t think our confidence ever wavered tonight. We were calm, cool and collected.”
With the win, the sixth-seeded Vanguards (16-7) will head to Unionville to play the third-seeded Indians in the second round.
“It will be important for us to handle the crowd up there; Unionville has a good student section,” Maloney SAID. “Just like tonight, we’ll try to pride ourselves on defense, and see where we’re at in the fourth quarter.”