Well-balanced Methacton exploits holes in Phoenixville's defense

By DAVE KURTZ

Pac-10sports.com

LOWER PROVIDENCE – Penetration, exploitation and utilization were the key components of Methacton’s 68-58 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over Phoenixville Tuesday afternoon.

The Warriors consistently penetrated into the paint off the dribble for easy shots or dish-offs, exploiting a Phantoms defense still searching for a blue-collar work ethic. In the process, Methacton utilized its deep 10-man rotation, with nine different players scoring and four reaching double figures.

Brendan Casper (13 points, 8 rebounds), Ryan McKee (13), Evan Galloway (12) and Mike Handley all hit two columns for the Warriors, who used a 20-11 second-quarter edge to take control.

“We’re a guard-oriented offense,” said Methacton coach Jeff Derstine after his club improved to 3-2 (6-6 overall) in the PAC-10’s Liberty Division. “Our team offense comes from the perimeter with good ball movement. We like to reverse the ball and see the gaps.”

The gaps in the Phoenixville defense were big enough to accommodate an 18-wheeler. The Phantoms did their usual solid work at the offensive end – with Marcus Howell (16 points) and Jake Lynch (15) leading the way. But when it came to getting stops, Phoenixville was operating without brakes.

“We have to do a better job defensively,” said Phoenixville coach Randy Reber, whose young squad is now 3-2 in the PAC-10 Frontier, 6-5 overall. “I told the kids they have to play hard, they have to compete hard.

“It’s a mindset. If we think we can just outscore people, we’re not going to win. There was too much penetration, which meant late help or no help. We need to talk more, do a better job communicating. It’s all about working hard.”

Methacton got good work off the bench from 6-foot-2 sophomore Brendan Casper, who showed craftiness around the basket that belied his sophomore status. Of the 8 boards he corralled, 4 came off the offensive glass.

“We don’t have a natural post player,” Derstine said. “But Brendan has good hands and some tools. He’s getting a lot of minutes with the jayvees and his confidence is growing. He can catch the ball and he uses his body real well. He attacks the offensive glass.”

Casper was in attack mode after intermission, dropping 9 of his 13 points in the third quarter when Methacton kept Phoenixville at arm’s length. The Warriors had used a 14-6 run at the close of the second period to go up, 31-26, at the break.

The Phantoms got as close as 44-42 when Jordan Kelly converted a spinning shot in the lane with 1:20 left in the third quarter, but Methacton answered with a 10-2 run spanning into the fourth quarter to resume control. Unable to establish any consistency at the defensive end, Phoenixville would get no closer than 6 the rest of the way.

“We play 10 guys, which is unusual for high school basketball,” said Derstine. “Different guys were giving us sparks at different times. Matt Ahlberg came off the bench and gave us 8 points in the second quarter. We get good defense from everyone and guys like Pat Dinan and Andrew Hart give us instant energy off the bench.”

METHACTON 68, PHOENIXVILLE 58

Phoenixville (58) - Howell 5 4-7 16, Riggins 3 0-0 6,  Lawson 1 1-3 3,  Kelly 4 0-0
8,  Lynch 5 3-4 15,  Jones 3 2-5 8. 
Totals 21 10-19 58.

Methacton (68) - Ahlberg 3 0-0 8,  Miller 1 0-0 3,  Handley 3 4-5 10,  Galloway 5 1-2
12,  Hart 0 2-2 2,  Herber 2 0-0 4,  McKee 5 3-4 13,  Markle 1 1-2 3,  Casper 4
5-5 13.
Totals:  24 16-20 68

Methacton:      11      20      17      20      68
Phoenixville:    15      11      16      16      58

3-point goals:
Howell 2, Riggins 2, Lynch 2, Ahlberg 2, Miller, Galloway.