Phillipsburg boys basketball team hung tough with a very good Pocono Mountain West team on Sunday morning in a Round of 16 game in SportsFest's A'Town Throwdown tournament at Cedar Beach in Allentown.
The Stateliners' strong showing against the Stellar tournament champion was even more impressive since they were missing four of their usual starters because they were playing in AAU tournaments.
"We brought two JV kids here to play against a team like Pocono Mountain West. It was a very good game for I would say three quarters of the game. They kind of just wore us down," Phillipsburg coach Eric Jacobs said. "We're thrilled. The program is on the rise. The kids love basketball. I think it's evidenced by getting to Sundays for both the tournaments. I think it's a great accomplishment for our team."
Last weekend, Phillipsburg reached the final day of the Stellar tournament for the first time in program history. The Stateliners then did the same thing on Sunday, reaching the final day at SportsFest for the first time.
The Stateliners beat Downingtown West by 16 points on Friday night. They beat Stroudsburg by 17 points on Saturday morning before a nine-point loss to Bethlehem Catholic on Saturday afternoon.
Phillipsburg fell to Pocono Mountain West 68-56 on Sunday.
Dave Yale, a rising senior guard, scored 22 points for the Stateliners on Sunday.Alain Gonda added 15 points and Richie Manigault had 16.
"We were coming off a good Stellar performance," Yale said. "I was just really proud of the way we played. We played as a team. We didn't have some of our starters for the last couple games but I'm just really proud of the guys that stepped up and competed really hard."
"They are a very good team. But I thought with the guys we had and the way we competed in an early-morning game, I was just really proud of how we played them. We played them tough," Yale added.
The Stateliners are hoping a strong summer will pay off for them this winter.
"We played a lot of games this summer. The more you play obviously the better you're going to get," Jacobs said. "We're also playing much smarter. We're learning how to play different tempos. Guys are learning their roles. The summer's the time to build the chemistry and the cohesion to see what kind of pieces fit. We just keep getting better and better. So I really like how we did this summer. That obviously will transfer into the winter."
Josh Folck may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JoshFolck. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.