Marc Narducci: Bishop Eustace defeats Camden Catholic, 63-32

Carson Puriefoy , considered among the best in South Jersey, led Bishop Eustace with 22 points.
Carson Puriefoy , considered among the best in South Jersey, led Bishop Eustace with 22 points. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff)
Posted: January 04, 2012

The season is still young, but the questions were already getting old.

With the team held to a higher standard than most, among the most frequently asked question in this high school boys' basketball season was what has happened to Bishop Eustace?

It probably isn't fair to ask a question of a team whose only loss has been to still-unbeaten Cherry Hill East, but this was a season of heightened expectations for the Crusaders.

And for those asking that question, there is now a simple answer, at least for one night: nothing.

That's the conclusion after the Crusaders defeated host Camden Catholic, 63-32, Tuesday in an Olympic Conference game matching Inquirer South Jersey Top 10 teams.

No. 6 Eustace moved to 6-1, and No. 9 Camden Catholic dropped to 6-2 and won't have any time to feel sorry for itself, having to play No. 1 Paul VI and No. 2 Eastern in its next two games.

Eustace began the season as The Inquirer's No. 1 South Jersey team, and of course, there is only one way to go when a team begins that high.

And in truth, the Crusaders haven't been winning with an excess of style points. Thus, the talk that there was more hype than substance.

"We weren't playing well," Eustace coach Bob Falconiero said about the Crusaders' previous games. "We were playing in spurts."

On Tuesday, the spurt lasted 32 minutes.

The competitiveness was over at halftime, with the Crusaders leading by 37-13.

Leading the charge was guard Carson Puriefoy, the Stony Brook recruit who had 22 points, shooting 9 of 13 from the field. He also dealt six assists.

When the conversation about best players in South Jersey begins, it won't take long until Puriefoy's name is mentioned.

He has great quickness, is lethal from the outside, and can dish with the best. At times, he also guarded 6-foot-5 Kyle Green, one of South Jersey's top players, who was held to eight points, about 16 less than his average.

"We have heard the talk about our team," Puriefoy said. "We went out and played our best game tonight."

That's for sure.

Sho DaSilva, a 6-2 senior skyscraper, had 16 points and six blocked shots.

DaSilva and Puriefoy are just two of many options. Center Ryan Bland is difficult to budge inside, and seniors Dexter Harris and Trevor Norton are double-figure scoring threats on any night.

"This tonight looked like an experienced team against an inexperienced team," said Camden Catholic coach Jim Crawford, whose team shot 11 for 45 from the field. "They are a good team."

And a team that figures to climb up that Top 10 ladder, one that Falconiero can do without.

"I don't worry about the rankings," Falconiero said. "I worry about us improving."

Either way, the Crusaders, for the first time, played like the team everybody envisioned them being, yet the players have learned enough not to get too carried away with one sterling performance.

"It's only one game," Puriefoy said. "We have to keep our focus."

And if so, the rankings will take care of themselves.

At least for one night, Eustace regained its status as a team that won't be a whole lot of fun for any opponent to face.

Bishop Eustace 18 19 12 14 – 63

Camden Catholic 9 4 8 11 – 32

BE: Carson Puriefoy 22, Nick Hanuscin 2, Trevor Norton 2, Sho DaSilva 16, Tom Falconiero 2, Dexter Harris 5, Scott Hyland 2, Sean McLaughlin 2, Ryan Bland 8, Brandon Cazan 2.

CC: Rob Brosh 3, Matt McElhatton 10, Andrew Racobaldo 5, Kyle Green 8, Tom Organ 3, Ivan Robinson 3.


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com, or @sjnard on Twitter. Find his Rally columns at www.philly.com/narducci

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