EASTON VS. PHILLIPSBURG BOYS BASKETBALL
Easton 52, Phillipsburg 50 — Rapid Recap
After leading Phillipsburg for the first 15 minutes and 38 seconds of the second half -- and for most of the first half, too -- the Easton boys basketball team needed some heroics in the final 22 seconds Monday night to pull out the win.
They were delivered from a freshman as Ryan Boylan drained a 3-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation to lift the Red Rovers to a 52-50 win over the Stateliners at Phillipsburg High School.
Turning point: Behind its two-three zone, Easton controlled most of the game and only spent about three minutes in the second quarter playing from behind — until Chris Mann’s tough work inside the paint paid off and gave Phillipsburg the 50-49 lead with 22 seconds left.
But the Red Rovers brought the ball back down the floor and senior guard Arnel Lewis drove inside before kicking it out to Boylan, who calmly caught and shot the three from the wing as it found nothing but nylon with eight seconds left.
The Stateliners called a timeout with 5.7 seconds left and drew up a play. Richie Manigualt, who had success from downtown for much of the night, got an open look for three but it wouldn’t go down. Boylan secured the rebound as Easton escaped with the win.
Top performer: Senior forward Connor Fahie led the Red Rovers with 13 points while Boylan and Mohammad Dumbuya each added 11 points. Arnel Lewis chipped in 11 points in the win.
Manigault dropped a game-high 18 points for Phillipsburg while Jayshawn Grant and Jermaine Knight each had 11, helping to make the second-half comeback.
What it means: Easton grabbed a big win — both for bragging rights and in terms of its District 11 playoff chances, moving to 10-8 and one win away from securing a postseason berth.
The Stateliners, who were coming off their biggest win of the year Friday night when they upset state-ranked Hunterdon Central, found a better offensive flow in the second half but it wasn’t enough. They’ll look to get back on track Tuesday against North Hunterdon.
Greg Joyce may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GJoyce9. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.