Gloucester Catholic was coming off a win over defending state Non-Public A champion St. Augustine, so a letdown could have been possible. And when Pitman scored the game's first 12 points, possible was on the verge of being probable.
The Rams held their composure, Shawaryn provided enough offense, and he fought on defense against 6-foot-8 Pitman freshman Tim Delaney.
Averaging nearly 20 points, Delaney scored 17 and had seven rebounds and five blocked shots. No wonder college coaches are already putting in their dibs to Pitman coach Kevin Crawford.
Shawaryn stands 6-foot-2, maybe 6-3 in baseball spikes, but he scrapped on defense. Delaney shot 7 for 16, but holding the freshman with three-point range to 16 shots was an accomplishment in itself.
And afterward, both parties showed great mutual respect.
"You can't play him to one strength, because he has so many," Shawaryn said of Delaney.
"He's really a pain to play against, and he's such a tough kid," Delaney said.
That actually describes Gloucester Catholic (16-9), a team that might not pass the eye test at first, until watching the Rams play defense.
"They play as good a 'D' as any team in South Jersey," Crawford said.
He was similarly impressed with Shawaryn, who despite being a junior, is already considered a potential Major League Baseball draftee.
"I know everybody says he is such a good baseball player, but he can really play basketball," Crawford said.
Shawaryn gets by on grit, and on senior night, he had a little bit extra to give.
"The seniors have meant so much to the program, and you don't want to see them go out here with a loss," Shawaryn said.
Those seniors are guard Rob Alessandrine, who had 12 points; Chris Sacchetti, who added 13 and was 7 for 7 from the foul line; and Ryan Schoppy, who played a strong floor game.
Pitman (17-7) is young, led by Delaney and sophomore point guard Eric Stafford. The Panthers won't be an easy out in the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs this year or for the next three with Delaney in the lineup.
This was a night on which the more experienced team summoned that experience, outscoring the Panthers by 29-9 in the middle two periods.
Pitman 16 4 5 14 – 39
Gloucester Catholic 7 17 12 13 – 49
P: Jon Boyd 7, Trevor Datz 2, Eric Stafford 6, Matt Spicer 7, Tim Delaney 17.
G: Rob Alessandrine 12, Steve Jackson 6, Chris Sacchetti 13, Fran Kinsey 4, Mike Shawaryn 14.
Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at email@example.com, 856-779-3225 or @sjnard on Twitter.