By Phil Anastasia
Ivan Robinson found the range in warmups.
The Paul VI junior never lost it.
"I was hitting them before the game," Robinson said after leading Paul VI to a 59-41 victory over Camden on Thursday night in the Panthers' gymnasium. "Once the game started, I just kept shooting."
Robinson made six three-pointers and finished with 22 points and junior forward Jay Howard added 19 points, six rebounds and four steals as Paul VI (21-3, 6-2) clinched the Olympic Conference National Division title.
Junior guard Tavaris Headen scored 16 and freshman forward Jamil Hollway collected eight points and seven rebounds for Camden (15-9, 4-3).
"I told the kids, 'This will be a nice night if we can get this done,'" Paul VI coach Tony Devlin said. "Our division is tough. It means a lot to win it."
Camden has been one of South Jersey's hottest teams over the last three weeks. The Panthers had victories over Bishop Eustace, Camden Catholic, St. Augustine and Eastern since Jan. 29.
But Paul VI, the No. 5 team in The Inquirer Top 10, broke to leads of 19-10 after one quarter and 36-19 at halftime. Robinson fueled the Eagles' early surge with 11 points in the first quarter and 19 in the first half, making five jumpers from distance.
"Ivan was hot and that opened up the driving lanes for everybody," Howard said. "That spread them out and opened up the middle."
Devlin said Robinson's outside shooting was a big boost for a team that's not known for its three-point attack.
"We haven't been making a very good percentage," Devlin said. "When they go in, it makes life a lot easier. It changes the game."
Paul VI also created numerous turnovers off its zone trap, with Robinson, Howard and junior guard DeVahnte Mosley combining for eight steals.
"We were able to keep the ball out of the middle," Devlin said. "We didn't want their big guy (Camden center Amir Maddred) to get too many touches because he can score and he also is a good passer. We tried to deny him the ball."
The 6-7 Maddred, who went for 24 points with 12 rebounds in a 66-61 victory over No. 5 Eastern on Monday, was limited to three free throws as Camden struggled to get the basketball inside against Paul VI's active zone.
"This was very big," Robinson said. "We knew before the game we could win the division if we won this game and that was a big goal of ours. We knew this was a tough place to play but we came in and played hard."
Paul VI 19 17 9 14 -- 59
Camden 10 9 14 8 -- 41
P: Jay Howard 19, Matt Risse 4, Matt O'Keefe 4, DeVahnte Mosley 3, Ivan Robinson 22, Jair Green 5, Alex Danko 2.
C: Tavaris Headen 16, Amir Maddred 3, Jamal Holloway 8, Brad Hawkins 5, Rasool Hinson 2, Jamil Maddred 5, William McCants 2.
Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.