Valley Bingham: 30
The Hyde Phoenix returned home on Thursday evening for a critical matchup vs. rival Valley Bingham. The two teams have an interesting recent history, primarily due to the intensity and physical nature of each game, highlighted by the thriller at the Augusta civic center last year.
After a disappointing loss in overtime to Seacoast Christian, the Phoenix were faced with adversity for the first time in a young season. A solid practice of defense, adjustments and rebounding gave the team confidence as they prepared for a well-coached and tough Valley team. The effort in practice was evident from the tip. Active defense and team play propelled the Phoenix to a 10-2 run to start the game. Timely box outs by forwards FREDERICK LASSON 15’ and GREG KIDGER ’17 allowed the Phoenix to run in transition resulting in easy baskets and excellent early decision making by senior point guard ANTOINE MONTGOMERY. The first half was also an example of the value of mixing defenses. The Phoenix were active in both their 3-2 zone defense and their staple man to man, forcing the opponent to take contested jump shots. At the half, the Phoenix led 29-15.
A key player in the second half was junior forward SHAMAR JACK, also known as ‘Mr. Windex.’ Jack cleaned the glass throughout the game, impressing the crowd with his physicality and grit. JACK also led the team in hustle points, a stat we keep each game. Despite continued effort on defense, back to back baskets by Valley cut the lead to ten. Once again, the Phoenix would be tested with a tough, close game. How would they respond?
Despite having nearly an entirely new team, one starter has four years of varsity basketball experience. When the game got tight, the ball went to senior guard Kiefer Cundy. Cundy closed out the game by going 9/9 from the foul line and most importantly, kept his cool after two flagrant fouls. The Phoenix coasted to a 47-30 victory and all 11 eligible players entered the game.
The Phoenix were +18 in rebounding and held Valley below 35% field goal percentage. The Phoenix also enjoy a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures ( Cundy 11 points 9/9 FT, Montgomery 10 points, 7 assists, PALERMO 10 points, 4 steals, Horning 10 points ). A great team victory and bounce back win! The Phoenix are home on Saturday vs. Highview Christian at 3:30 PM.