Phantoms bounce back, get first win since break

By Mike Hamill

Freshman forward Shawn Mendez (#32) shakes hands with teammates as the DCCC Phantoms go through pregame player introductions prior to their game against Bucks County Community College on Jan. 16 at Haverford College. Photo by Mike Hamill

The DCCC men’s basketball team improved to a re- cord of five wins and seven losses following a well-fought 75-62 win over Bucks County Community College on Jan. 16 at Calvin Gooding Arena at Haverford College in Haverford, Pa.

The Phantoms got off to a hot start with a 14-3 run just five minutes into the first half, which was fueled by a string of unanswered 3-pointers by sophomore forward Mike Mallon and freshman guard Yohance Garner.

Bucks County pulled within seven points later in the half before the Phantoms capped off the half scoring six unanswered points, including a buzzer-beating layup by freshman guard Joshua Grant to give the Phantoms a 39-26 point lead heading into half-time.

Both teams came out firing to start the second half, but the Phantoms wouldn’t back down as they extended their lead to 18 points by mid- way through the second half. Bucks County pulled with- in ten points with five minutes remaining in the game, but a quick bucket from freshman forward Shawn Mendez fol- lowed with a 3-pointer by Mallon extended the Phantoms lead back to 15.

An and-1 layup capitalized by Grant with just over a minute remaining helped the
Phantoms put away Bucks County.

Mendez exploded for a 19-point second-half performance to add to his 23 points and 21 rebounds, which led all players in both statistics. Mallon added 18 points and five assists.

“The key to the win was our ability to execute [the game plan] and find the open man so he can be successful,” Mallon said after the game.

The Phantoms talk strategy in the team huddle prior to tip-off against Bucks County Community
College. Photo by Mike Hamill

The Phantoms jumped ahead with a 39-point first half which proved too much for Bucks County despite scoring 36 points in the second half.

“Coach always wants us to come out fast and grab the momentum so it’s difficult for
the other team to come back,” Mallon said about the team’s game plan.

The Phantoms’ height and defense overwhelmed a Bucks County team who were clawing their way back for most of the game.

DCCC head coach Larry Yarbray Sr. said that the program has improved consistently every year and this year’s team “stands out because of their size and athleticism from guard to center, but we try and play excellent defense so we make the game easy for ourselves.”

Yarbray Sr. emphasized that his team needs to “continue to build on this great win and progress together by building chemistry and getting back into shape after the break.”

The team enters the second half of the season needing to string together some wins in order to qualify for the Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (EPAC) playoffs.

The Phantoms did just that by following this game with two huge wins against Harrisburg Area (91-71) and Harcum JV (97-72).

The Phantoms fell to Northampton 86-71 to end their three-game winning streak, but bounced back to beat Valley Forge Military 65-55.

DCCC has won six out of their last eight games to put their overall record at 11-9. The Phantoms have two away games before their final game on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. against Delaware Tech at Cheyney University.

Contact Mike Hamill at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

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