Byrd hosts block party, sets tone as Moorestown upends Washington Township
Josh Byrd says it has a lot to do with instinct.
Three times in the closing minutes of Saturday’s second quarter, the Moorestown senior guard came up with a lead-spin block. Not only did they keep Washington Township from scoring, but the blocks gave the home team a boost of energy.
“I react to them like I would an offense,” said Byrd, who missed the first six games of the season. “If they go up, I’ll go up too. It’s just a different angle, so I can hit the ball on the backboard.”
Moorestown would end the first half on an 8-0 run and never trail en route to a 42-31 non-league victory. The win was their fifth in their last six games, the loss coming against No. 2 Camden on Thursday.
“He’s a super athletic kid,” Moorestown coach Shawn Anstey said of Byrd. “He set the tone with some of those blocks, the momentum went in our favor.
“He’s just freakishly athletic. He is great around the basket, has quick rebounds and is a great rebounder. He’s more of an energetic guy with rebounds, blocks, passes, solid defense. This helps a lot more than scoring in ways, bringing some energy to our team. He does a lot for our team.”
Byrd finished with just six points, a foul shot with 5:19 left in the third quarter putting him on the stat sheet. He would add a layup on the team’s next possession and drain a 3-pointer in the fourth that gave the Quakers (8-3) a seven-point lead.
Byrd would also contribute five rebounds, two assists, two steals and six blocks.
“I’m more of a defender and shot maker. I can help my friends open up; I can drive-and-kick, drive-and-finish,” Byrd added.
“He brings a lot of good energy to this team,” said senior David Gheysens, who scored a team-high 14 points to go along with two rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
Ryan Lynch added nine points and 10 rebounds for the winners.
After winning its first eight games, Washington Township (10-2) has dropped two of its last four. Chris Racobaldo led the Minutemen with 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. Gevon Conrad had 10 points, while Dan Farley had eight rebounds and Jackson McCrae added seven boards.
“We had this game floating around our schedule for a while because of their record. It was a great power point play for the playoffs,” Anstey said. “We’re mixing it up a little bit better. We have a lot to work on, but we are making progress for that March run.”
Said Gheysens: “I love the energy of our team. Our offense is doing a lot better, getting more guys involved. We’re finding ways to get shooters open and we’re finding ways to win games.”
Thank you for relying on us to deliver journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.
Kevin Minnick covers South Jersey boys basketball. He can be reached at kmi[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @kminnicksports