Phillipsburg boys basketball picks up 1st win of season against Warren Hills
When the Phillipsburg boys basketball team needed a spark against Warren Hills on Saturday afternoon, Josh Borelli provided it.
The junior knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, starting a 10-2 run to close out the first half before locking down
The Stateliners defeated Warren Hills 43-36 at Phillipsburg High School to pick up their first win of the season.
Phillipsburg (1-5) was just 1 of 5 from beyond the arc when Borelli faked a pass and knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing with 2:38 left in the half. The junior guard connected on another after senior Colin Domzalski kicked out a pass while making a drive at the baseline.
“After I hit that first one, I knew I was bound to hit another one,” Borelli said. “As a shooter, once you see the ball go in the basket, it just gives you a different momentum, a different flow.”
A layup at the buzzer from Borelli gave the Stateliners a 21-18 halftime lead.
Phillipsburg took control of the game defensively in the third quarter by limiting opportunities in the paint for Flaherty, who paced Warren Hills (1-4) with 13 points.
“The game plan against (Flaherty) was to stand in there, take some charges because he likes to drive first, he doesn’t want to really pull up,” Phillipsburg coach Todd Sigafoos said. “I think Josh Borelli really set the tone by picking up those two quick charges on him. That really sparked us and gave us the energy defensively.”
Early in the third, Flaherty was twice called for a charge while trying to drive inside and the Blue Streaks struggled to generate offense from there, scoring just two points in the quarter.
“We were trying to step in, get some charges at first but we couldn’t really get any in the first half,” Borelli said. “Then, we took two charges back to back. It kind of got in his head and he got a little frustrated and started forcing more stuff.”
The Stateliners found success with their half-court offense by repeatedly getting the ball inside early before kicking out to the perimeter.
“The game plan was I thought we could execute inside first. We have some really good shooters with Josh and Colin, but we wanted to attack inside first and allow them to get the shot a little more open on the outside and allow the game to progress that way,” Sigafoos said.
With space on the outside, Borelli, Domzalski and senior Julian Couto distributed the ball well to find open looks.
“We have some really good guys like Aidan Harkin and Andrew Martin down low, so when they got the ball, the defense usually collapsed and that allowed me and Josh Borrelli to set up and shoot 3s,” Domzalski said. “Me and Julian have a great connection; we were fortunate to run the plays that our coaches gave us. We got some really high-percentage looks because of that.”
Borelli led the Stateliners with 13 points. Domzalski added 12 and Couto scored eight.
After taking a 30-20 lead into the fourth, Phillipsburg controlled the glass to limit second-chance opportunities for Warren Hills.
“Throughout the whole season we’ve played a lot of tough teams, a lot of teams with a lot of size,” Domzalski said. “We focus every day at practice on boxing out because, once we limit teams to one possession, it’s hard to score on our defense.”
The victory gave Sigafoos his first as head coach after the P’burg graduate took over following several seasons as the JV coach.
“I’ve had Coach Sig since I was a freshman on JV. I love Coach Sig; he’s one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had and just being able to get him his first varsity win, as a team, it was really good,” Borelli said.
Desmond Boyle may be reached at email@example.com.