The Phoenix U-12 beat the CT Premier, 61-23, in an AAU boys basketball game on Saturday.
Maybe the most interesting aspect of this victory by the Phonex was the CT Premier led 14-6 in the early going. Then an angrier Phoenix defensive five of James Crovatto (New Canaan), Ryan Allen (Norwalk), Mack Muller (Westport), Charlie Wright (Darien) and Jack Williams (Wilton) took the floor.
They ball-pressured and rotated into a vicious swarm, creating a 20-14 lead change and huge momentum swing.
The next five players into the game were Ralph Manigat (Norwalk), Zak Swetye (Darien), Thomas Tamiolakis (Westport), Carter Scott (Darien) and Alex Preston (Darien). They advanced the attacking theme by switching into a full court press. CT Premier wilted. Manigat and Swetye flew around the court, creating scoring opportunities for everyone in Phoenix blue. Preston, extremely agile for a 6-foot, 1-inch 12-year-old, seemingly swatted away any shot that was attempted.
Phoenix continally repeated the tactic of bringing a fresh set of five, with a defensive scheme that was differently aggressive than the prior one. Crovatto was tremendous in applying pressure. Wright and Allen muscled their way to low post dominance. The hustling weakside-rotations from Muller, Tamiolakis and Williams allowed their ball hawking teammates to become greedier and greedier.
In the second half, Phoenix unleashed another weapon. Lightning quick Miles McQuillen (Norwalk) had been nursing a bruised thigh, but at halftime, he decided that he wanted a part of the fun. He was too much. Dashiing, poking, passing and scoring, he was everywhere. Charlie Sealy's (Darien) contributions were also impressive. He played all five positions, excelling in in all of the schemes, at both ends of the court.
The win was Phoenix Basketball 's 22nd AAU victory of the spring season.
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