By Phil Anastasia
JERSEY CITY -- The traffic jam didn't end when Camden's bus turned off the last exit before the Holland Tunnel and pulled up at the recreation center.
The Panthers also ran into some serious resistance from the St. Anthony defense on Coach Hurley Court.
Camden finally hit the gas in the fourth quarter, generating some good vibrations for the long ride home and, the Panthers hope, some momentum for the rest of the season.
"If we play like we did in the fourth quarter, we'll win the rest of our games," Camden sophomore forward Jamal Holloway said after the Panthers dropoped a 56-41 decision to St. Anthony of Jersey City on Tuesday night.
Camden outscored St. Anthony 22-12 in the fourth quarter, and it was no fluke -- the Friars' regulars were in the game and playing as hard as they did in the first 24 minutes.
"That was their pride," legendary St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley said after the game on the court that bears his name. "They're such tough kids. They played with the intensity that Camden is known for."
Holloway and fellow sophomore Brad Hawkins (pictured) led the way for Camden (6-2), the No. 10 team in The Inquirer Top 10.
Holloway collected 10 rebounds with eight points, while Hawkins led all scorers with 14 and also generated four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
"This was a good experience," Hawkins said. "This game will help us for the rest of the season. We know we can play with teams like this."
Junior forward Markis McDuffie scored 13 and senior guards Tarin Smith added 11 for St. Anthony (8-1), the No. 5 team in the Newark Star-Ledger state rankings.
Hurley is the country's active leader in coaching victories. Tuesday night's win was the 1,085th of his career.
The game in the little gymnasium at the Community Education and Recreation Center off 9th Street in the heart of Jersey City matched two of the most fabled boys' basketball programs in New Jersey history.
The game started about a half-hour late because Camden was caught in "brutal traffic" on a rainy afternoon, according to assistant coach Vic Carstarphen.
The Panthers still seemed stuck in slow motion through the first three quarters, although St. Anthony's size, depth and defensive diligence were major road blocks for the visitors.
"We can talk about what it's going to be like but they just don't understand what the pressure is going to be like when you face a defense like that," Camden coach John Valore said. "They're kids. They were anxious. They wanted to play well and they rushed a lot of things."
Hawkins and Holloway were the only two Camden players to score in the first half, as St. Anthony built a 25-11 lead. The Friars, who made all seven of their three-pointers in the first 24 minutes, stretched their advantage to 44-19 after three quarters.
Camden roared back in the final eight minutes as junior Will McCants scored all eight of his points and junior Rasool Hinson scored five of his seven.
The Panthers cut the deficit to 51-39 and missed a pair of free throws at the 1:57 mark that would have reduced the margin to 10.
"The thing I'm happy about is that we came in here and our kids played really hard," Valore said. "I can't fault their effort. This was St. Anthony. They know St. Anthony.
"As good as our competition is in the Olympic Conference, this was a different kind of challenge for us. The way they played there at the end, I told them, 'If you play to that level the rest of the season, things are going to go your way.'"
Camden 2 9 8 22 -- 41
St. Anthony 10 15 19 12 -- 56
C: Brad Hawkins 14, Jamal Holloway 8, Rasool Hinson 7, Will McCants 8, Jamil Maddred 4.
SA: Tarin Smith 11, Markis McDuffie 13, Ed Dominguez 6, Idris Joyner 5, Cheddi Mosley 6, Shaquille McFarlan 9, Mohamed Bendary 2, Jaquan Mosley 4.
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