Boyertown and Phoenixville took turns scrapping for the basketball Friday night. They kept clawing and getting after one another to help keep the game tight right into the fourth quarter.
But the .streaking Bears, who have now won six of their last seven ball games, used superior shooting from the field and at the free throw line to defeat the Phantoms, 60-48, in a Pioneer Athletic Conference boys basketball encounter.
Ryan Corcoran fired home a game-high 24 points, including 12 in each half, to help lead Boyertown (5-3, 7-8). He also had plenty of help from his Bears teammates.
Tyler Bauman grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with nine points, and Kyle Dennin turned in 10 points and eight boards. Ben Longacre finished with eight rebounds, and Colton Moyer had a pair of blocked shots.
Christian Smith and Kevin McAteer directed the floor game for the Bears, who shot 23-for-31 at the foul line and 17-for-43 (40 percent) from the field.
“It was a hard-fought battle the whole game,” said Bauman, a 6-3 senior forward who is averaging 14.2 points per game. “Both teams kept fighting. Finally, we were able to make our foul shots and get the win.”
Bauman shot 7-for-8 at the charity stripe, including 6-for-6 in the last quarter. Corcoran shot 7-for-9 at the foull line with a 6-for-7 showing in the final stanza.
“Our focus was to control the offensive and defensive boards,” said Bauman. “They (Phantoms) crash the boards hard so we had to box out. We also had to limit our turnovers. We took care of the ball, and that helped us win the game.”
Bauman said that has been the main thrust of the focus during this Bear winning streak, to rebound, take care of the ball and play as a unit.
“Everybody is playing for each other and everybody wants to get the win,” said Bauman.
Phoenixville (2-7, 5-11) held a 13-9 lead after one period and 24-22 at halftime despite a 25-foot, last-second buzzer-beater by Corcoran. The Bears then outscored the hosts 19-14 during the third quarter to carry a 41-38 lead into the last eight minutes of regulation time.
Dennin canned seven of his points with one 3-point field goal during the third period.
Phoenixville did have its bright spots again as DeAndre Gadsden sparkled with a double-double that included 16 points, 14 rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal. Mike Anthony totaled 14 points with two 3-pointers during the first three quarters before fouling out of the game with 2:38 left in the fourth period. He also had a block and a steal. Cole Luzins pulled down eight rebounds while Christian Kelly had five boards and three blocks. Sophomore point guard Marquise McDuffee totaled seven points with one 3-pointer, four boards and three assists.
But as they have done all season, the Phantoms have struggled shooting from the field and at the foul line. Phoenixville came into the game shooting 37 percent from the floor for the year and did not help that number with a 17-for-63 showing (27 percent) against the Bears. The Phantoms shot 10-for-17 at the foul line.
“When you get the ball inside and take that many shots, you’ve got to make those shots,” said Phoenixville coach Randy Reber. “Not only don’t we finish, but we don’t go strong enough to get to the foull line. We figured we missed about 20 shots inside and we lose by 12 points. It’s tightness and again we don’t shoot fouls well. We are within five or seven points every game and then we don’t score and have to foul.
“Boyertown did an excellent job of making their free throws. They play good team ball offensively and defensively. They play very well together. Corcoran can score the ball, but their other people know their roles and play them very well.”