PENNSAUKEN— Nick Villa is the consummate glue guy.
The Paul VI guard stole the ball of an in-bounds pass, sunk a layup and drilled a free throw to give the Eagles a 48-45 win over Sterling on Saturday at Bishop Eustace.
“He’s very important,” Paul VI guard Tyshon Judge said. “He does all the little things like hustling and playing defense and he got the key steal to win the game.”
Villa was all over the court on Saturday, as he made a good amount of hustle plays and impressed on defense before he was thrust into the role of hero.
The game-winning play was not only an example of how vital Villa is to the success of the Eagles, it helped them earn a big win that ended a three-game losing streak.
“It’s big,” Villa said. “We were on a three-game losing streak. It’s a huge confidence booster to help us keep going.”
Paul VI trailed for most of the contest, but got on level terms after a layup by Judge, who admittedly struggled for most of the 32 minutes.
“That gave me a lot of confidence because, during the game, I wasn’t doing that well,” Judge said. “My teammates kept boosting my confidence and that’s why I made that layup.”
The whole game was a perfect mock up of the playoffs for the Eagles.
“It’s one play at a time,” Judge said. “We work together as a team and try to help each other and boost each other’s confidence during the game when we’re not doing well.”
One of the reasons why the Eagles stuck in the game for so long, despite poor shooting, was Villa’s defense on Sterling shooter Chris Roe, who the guard took the ball from on the game-winning play.
“Just watching everything. You have to stay in front of them and I got lucky and got the ball,” Villa said. “You can tell who the shooter is all game. I know they weren’t looking for anyone else but him so I was eyeing him down.”
With confidence back on their side, the Eagles are ready for whatever challenges await in the next month.
“We were in a slump and now our confidence is up,” Judge said. “It’s nice to get back on a roll and get ready for the playoffs."