By Barry Sankey
PHOENIXVILLE — Bill Leonard nurtured his young Perkiomen Valley girls team through some tough times in the early going of the 2012-13 basketball season.
But his patience and the Vikings’ development as well as rapid progress has started to make everyone else around the Pioneeer Athletic Conference take notice of their success.
On Friday night, Perikomen Valley won its sixth straight game with a convincing 43-24 victory over host Phoenixville in an inter-divisional matchup as part of the Phantoms’ “Night of Champions” ceremonies at their new school building.
Anna Leonard scored 13 points with a pair of treys, and Mikki Guiton added 11 for Perkiomen Valley (3-3, 8-4 overall), which opened a 25-13 halftime lead. Guiton also had seven rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot.
The Vikings outscored the Phantoms (2-5, 4-9) in the third period by a 7-0 count that offset an 11-11 standoff in the final stanza.
Aubree Flagg had seven first-half points, six rebounds and two steals for the Phantoms, while Jada Boyce finished with 11 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two points. Mary Sinnott and Nicole Lemon ach chipped in with five counters. Sinnott also had four boards.
“Our depth and our press made them turn the ball over,” said coach Leonard. “Many times we got some easy baskets in transition. In the early going, we didn’t handle their press. Once we figured out what they were dong, we were all right.”
Perkiomen Valley shot 14-for-42 from the field and 12-for-27 at the foul line, while Phoenixville dropped just 7 of 43 from the floor and 9 of 18 at the charity stripe.
The Phantoms owned a 38-35 rebounding edge. Both sides had trouble taking care of the ball as PV turned it over 26 times and Phoenxville 29.
PV, from the Liberty Division, used 12 players in the contest. Phoenixville, from the Frontier Division used 12, but the minutes were not as evenly divided until the end.
After a 5-5 tie, PV took a 10-5 lead after one quarter and stayed ahead the rest of the night. A free throw by Lauren Leonard put the Vikings in front with 1:59 left in the opening quarter, and then Guiton tacked on a jump shot and Kelly O’Brien a basket inside.
The Phantoms were still within 12-7 at the 6:17 mark of the second quarter, but the Vikes reeled off nine unanswered points to pull away to a 19-7 cushion at the 4:29 mark.
Anna Leonard hit a fast-break layup off a turnover and then drilled a trey from the right side. Guiton sank a baseline jumper from the left side and then Anna Leonard made a layup to cap the spurt.
Coach Leonard talked about Guiton.
“It is a nice luxury to have her,” Leonard said of his 6-foot senior center. “She is so fast up and down the floor. She can run the floor, and she can run the floor with anybody. She broke out of the pack three or four times and got some easy baskets in the early going. And she can hit the short-range jump shot, too.”
Leonard said he has nine freshmen on the roster between varsity and junior varsity, and it took some time for the Vikings to find their stride at the outset of the season.
“Early on it was a case of jitters for them,” said Leonard. “Now they are getting confidence and experience against bigger girls, and it is starting to pay off. Now they are confident about taking their shots more.”