PHOENIX SUFFER FIRST DEFEAT IN OVERTIME THRILLER
After an extended break, the Hyde Phoenix were back in action on the road y vs. a much improved Seacoast academy team. The Phoenix faced a team that had won six games in a row and were undefeated at home. Ultimately, a slow start and costly mistakes in overtime cost the Phoenix a chance at a 5-0 start to the season.
Over winter break, a handful of the Phoenix were able to return early to work on their craft. Two a day sessions, team bonding and hard work defined these three days. Despite not having the entire team, the Phoenix were prepared to play on Tuesday night. Early in the first half, Seacoast gave the Phoenix trouble with an active 2-3 zone and great transition offense. The Phoenix struggled to get back in transition, allowing Seacoast to score many uncontested layups and earn opportunities through fouls. At the end of the first half, the Phoenix were down 36-28.
This was our first real bout with adversity all season. How would we respond in the second half? An emphasis on defense and ball movement began to help turn the tide of the game. Timely drives by JR ANDREW PALERMO 16’ and solid post play by GREGKIDGER 17’ helped the Phoenix trim the deficit to two points entering the fourth. This is when the drama would begin.
The beauty of basketball is that the game can change in an instant. The speed and overall play by both teams in the fourth quarter was impressive. Senior ANTOINE MONTGOMERY led the charge for the Phoenix in the 4th quarter, scoring 12 of his team high 18 points on a variety of pull-up jump shots and crafty drives to the basket. Once again, the Phoenix simply struggled to avoid fouling the opponent. Seacoast earned trips to the line and made nearly every free throw, a crucial part of their eventual victory. By the end of the 4th, the situation looked dire. It was Seacoast ball, up 3 with one minute to go. However, a timely trap by senior guard KEIFER CUNDY resulted in a turnover and another chance for the Phoenix! After two quick reversals, senior NOAH HORNING hit a clutch three pointer, tying the game at 45! The bench was ecstatic. The Phoenix had one last chance in regulation but an open mid-range jump shot clanged off the rim. To overtime we go.
The Phoenix started the overtime session with an AND ONE by Kidger and a steal by Montgomery. Things looked great as long as we could take care of the basketball! Alas, late game pressure and costly mistakes gave the momentum to the home team. After a critical turnover and a foul far from the basket, Seacoast was able to first tie the game and then go ahead, 53-50. The Phoenix were unable to answer and suffered a difficult overtime defeat.
Losing is part of the game and in my experience, can truly teach young men valuable lessons. As competitors, we learn to fear losing and the feelings it evokes. However, being tough ( a key theme this season ), does not involve the absence of fear. Rather, it is the process of overcoming it and improving each and every game. We are positive and extremely excited for our home game TODAY vs. rival Valley Bingham.
The Phoenix were led by Montgomery ( 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists ), Kidger ( 11 points, 8 rebounds) and Palermo ( 10 points, 5 rebounds ).