By Phil Anastasia
Jay Howard scored 19 and Matt Risse collected 12 points and nine rebounds as Paul VI beat Bishop Eustace 51-38 Thursday night before a near-capacity crowd in the Eagles' gymnasium.
Paul VI improved to 16-3 overall and 5-2 in the Olympic National. The Eagles can clinch the division title with a victory over Camden Feb. 19.
Ry'n Bland and Dvonne Trumbo each scored 11 for BE (12-7, 4-3).
PVI controlled the game with an active zone defense that held BE to 14 points in the first half and 25 points through the first three quarters.
"They were very active," BE coach Bob Falconiero said. "They had a little more than us tonight. We fell behind early and it seem like we were playing from all night."
Howard scored six and Ivan Robinson scored five with two steals and two assists as PVI broke to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. The Eagles were able to maintain comannd though most of the game.
Risse said there was a little bit of a "revenge factor" in the game since BE had beaten PVI by a 37-35 score on Jan. 10. That was PVI's first loss of the season.
PVI coach Tony Devlin said it was more a confidence builder for the Eagles than a payback to the Crusaders.
"We hit a little rough stretch in the last week," Devlin said, referring to a loss to Camden Catholic on Saturday and a ragged victory over Woodrow Wilson on Tuesday. "This was a confidence game for us. We needed this to turn the season around."
PVI will play five games in the final eight games of the regular season, facing Phelps Academy of West Chester Pa. on Feb. 15, Middle Township at the Cherry East tournament on Feb. 16, Camden on Feb. 19, Lenape on Feb. 21 and Life Center Academy on Feb. 23.
Bishop Eustace 7 7 11 13 -- 38
Paul VI 14 9 11 17 -- 51
BE: Flo DaSilva 8, Dvonne Trumbo 11, Tom Falconiero 6, Brandon Cazan 2, Ry'n Bland 11.
PVI: DeVahnte Mosley 6, Jair Green 4, Jay Howard 19, Ivan Robinson 6, Matt Risse 12, Matt O'Keefe 2, Jahvan Rosbia 2.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.