Before last season, Phillipsburg boys basketball team never won an Easton Rotary Holiday Classic championship.
Now, the Stateliners can't stop winning them.
Phillipsburg rolled to a 64-34 victory over Wilson on Tuesday night at Easton Area Middle School in a championship game that was never in question.
"I'm proud for the kids. I'm proud for the community," Phillipsburg coach Eric Jacobs said about his team's back-to-back Rotary titles. "We're trying to make basketball special at the school. The kids just bought into my philosophies. It's a great group of kids. They work hard and I would say that they deserve it. The kids made it happen. They did."
"It's awesome. No one in our program had done it before and just being able to do it twice in a row is just really a humbling feeling," Stateliners senior Dave Yale said.
Phillipsburg junior Chris Mann won the MVP for the second season in a row. He led the Stateliners with 18 points, including 13 in the first half. Mann had 16 points on Monday night in the semifinal victory over Notre Dame.
"It feels great," Mann said. "We played really well today. My teammates got me the ball. We shared the ball really well and we got the 'W.'"
Stateliners juniors Jayshawn Grant and Jermaine Knight also made the all-tournament team. Grant had six points in the final and Knight contributed with five.
Yale scored 13 points in the final, including three 3-pointers.
Phillipsburg controlled right from the start, building a 19-10 lead after the first quarter. Mann made it 14-6 Stateliners with a three-point play with 1:45 left in the opening quarter. Richie Manigault capped the first eight minutes with a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining.
Mann racked up eight points in the second quarter, which saw the Stateliners outscore the Warriors 18-2. Knight kept the late-shot magic going for the Stateliners when he hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left in the second quarter to make the score 37-12 at halftime.
Senior Zach Troxell and sophomore Bryce Feddeman each added six points for the Stateliners, who improved to 4-1 on the season.
The Stateliners led the championship game by as many as 32 points.
"We had a game plan to speed up the tempo. Don't let them get comfortable in the offensive end," Jacobs said. "We've been working on pressing a little bit more, using our athletes. We thought it would be a perfect time to break it out tonight. I can't emphasize enough how the kids really executed almost exactly how we drew it up."
"I credit that to coach's game plan because he saw what they did to Easton yesterday and he wasn't going to let that happen," Yale said about the team's complete control of the game. "We were going to pressure out on them and we weren't going to fall for what Easton did yesterday. So, we got up and pressured and made them uncomfortable, which really helped us."
"We scrimmaged them before," Mann said. "We really knew we were the better team. We just had to come out and perform and we really took care of business tonight."
Josh Folck may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JoshFolck. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.