Junior swingman Markis McDuffie scored 18, and senior guard Tarin Smith added 10 for St. Anthony (15-4) in a game played before a capacity-plus crowd of around 2,200 in Cherry Hill East's gymnasium.
Senior swingman Jay Howard scored 17, and senior forward Jair Green had 11 for Paul VI (16-2), the No. 1 team in The Inquirer Top 10.
"We've got some things to work on over the next two weeks," Paul VI coach Tony Devlin said. "As always, our kids didn't quit. It was a tale of two halves, but we came out and had 10 turnovers in the first half, and we didn't shoot it as well as we needed to."
Fans filled both levels of seating on both sides of the court to watch this clash between one of the nation's most fabled programs in St. Anthony and a veteran Paul VI team that has been one of the top squads in South Jersey for the last several seasons.
With its patented pressure defense and some crisp ball movement on offense, St. Anthony built a 27-14 lead in the first half and stretched that advantage to 37-18 midway in the third quarter.
The 6-foot-7 McDuffie, who projects as a high Division I college player, made two three-point jumpers and also snaked inside for tough layups.
The Friars also got strong work from senior guard Cheddi Mosley (eight points), a Boston University recruit, as well as his sophomore brother, Jagen Mosley (six points, three assists).
"They move the ball so well," Devlin said. "They spread you out and work for good shots."
St. Anthony's defense created problems for Paul VI, especially in the game's first 20 minutes. The Friars also took three charges.
"We couldn't get everybody together for practice yesterday [because of the weather]," Hurley said. "So we made sure everybody got to a health club to work on their conditioning because we knew we would need to be at our best to beat this team."
Paul VI made a run in the second half, as Ivan Robinson sparked the Eagles' pressure defense and Howard and Green worked inside for baskets.
Green's thunderous dunk while being fouled and subsequent free throw cut St. Anthony's lead to 39-30 early in the fourth quarter and capped a 12-2 run for Paul VI.
But St. Anthony answered with a 6-0 surge, reestablishing command.
"We came to win, it wasn't just to play St. Anthony's," Devlin said. "A game like this will prepare us for March. We'll get right back to work."
St. Anthony (N.J.) 12 15 12 15 - 54
Paul VI 7 7 13 13 - 40
SA: Mohamed Bendary 2, Idris Joyner 4, Markis McDuffie 18, Shaquille McFarlan 6, Cheddi Mosley 8, Jagen Mosley 6, Tarin Smith 10.
PV: Jair Green 11, Jay Howard 17, DeVahnte Mosley 4, Matt Risse 6, Ivan Robinson 2.
In other showcase games Sunday:
Atlantic City 54, Rancocas Valley 46: The Vikings opened the fourth quarter on a 17-2 run to seize command in a battle of Top 10 teams.
Kevin Allen scored 16 for Atlantic City (16-4), which was 11-for-13 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
"We're starting to get it," said No. 3 Atlantic City coach Gene Allen, whose team is the two-time defending Group 4 state champion.
Vince Anfield scored 14 for No. 6 Rancocas Valley (16-5).
"They're the best fourth-quarter team around," Rancocas Valley coach Jay Flanagan said of Atlantic City.
Rancocas Valley 13 17 6 10 - 46
Atlantic City 14 11 7 22 - 54
RV: Darius Dooley 2, Vince Anfield 14, Jalen Freeman 2, Niall Carpenter 2, Nick Davidson 13, Adam Perry 11, Shaun Bradley 2.
AC: Isiah Graves 10, Kevin Allen 16, Dennis White 10, Lamar Thomas 2, Tashad Reynolds 5, Jamir Prevard 5, Bryan Nolan 4, Jamal Williams 2.
St. Augustine 69, Eastern 66: Sophomores Mike Vasturia and Sa'eed Nelson led the Hermits in another clash of Top 10 teams.
Vasturia scored a 18 and was 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 56 seconds. Nelson scored 16 with four assists.
The victory improved No. 4 St. Augustine's record to 18-2 and also marked the 799th win over veteran coach Paul Rodio's career.
Rodio can win his 800th Tuesday at Lower Cape May.
Senior center Matt Klinewski scored 29 with seven rebounds for No. 5 Eastern (18-4).
St. Augustine 21 16 9 23 - 69
Eastern 13 19 14 20 - 66
SA: Steve Corbo 3, Kevin Kennedy 7, Justyn Mutts 6, Sa'eed Nelson 16, Nate Segal 11, Brian Seward 8, Mike Vasturia 18.
E: John Scalindro 4, Justin Fendrick 3, Logan Edwards, Alex Barr 14, Tom Flacco 4, Maliq Sanders 10, Matt Klinewski 29.
Camden Catholic 64, Medford Tech 45: Brendan Crawford scored 15 to lead a balanced attack for the No. 7 Irish (14-6). Jake Johnson added 12, Courtney Cubbage 11, and Tom Organ 10 for Camden Catholic.
Camden Catholic 8 14 24 18 - 64
Medford Tech 11 7 10 17 - 45
CC: Jamal Parker 1, Rob Brosh 9, Courtney Cubbage 11, Tom Organ 10, Jim Robinson 4, Jake Johnson 12, Joe Wolfram 2, Brendan Crawford 15.
MT: Sidney Harris 9, John Armstead 13, D'Angelo Hilton 6, Shakwel Vincent 6, Aziz Parker 2, Alex Watkis 1, Dennis Tunstall 6, Ricky Jones 2,
Bishop Eustace 48, Middle Township 37: Flo DaSilva scored 14, and the Crusaders held the Panthers to 10 points in the middle two periods. Brandon Cazan added 11 as No. 9 Bishop Eustace (15-6) won for the seventh time in eight games.
Middle Twp. 14 4 6 13 - 37
Bishop Eustace 16 5 16 11 - 48
MT: Jeremiah Bland 10, Trai Greer 12, Mike Feraco 2, Lynell Brooks 5, Tanner Kerr 6, Will Neill 2.
BE: Flo DaSilva 14, Brandon Cazan 11, Mike Cohen 8, Connor McLaughlin 5, Sean Dumele 3, Jack Walter 3, Max Raiken 4.