By Phil Anastasia
Flo DaSilva swears he's not a risk-taker on defense.
He says he used to be gambler, trying for steals on almost every possession.
Now, he says, he picks his spots.
"When I was on j.v., I used to reach and go for steals all the time," DaSilva said after leading Bishop Eustace to 41-33 victory over Camden Catholic on Tuesday night. "Now I stay back."
DaSilva, a six-foot senior guard, registered seven steals along with nine points, six rebounds and four assists in sparking the visiting Crusaders past the Irish in an Olympic National battle of Top 10 teams.
Junior forward Brandon Cazan added 11 points and sophomore guard Mike Cohen scored 10, all in the second half, for Bishop Eustace (13-6 overall, 4-2 in the division), the No. 9 team in The Inquirer Top 10.
Junior forward Brendan Crawford scored 15 and junior swingman Courtney Cubbage grabbed 12 rebounds for No. 7 Camden Catholic (12-6, 3-3).
"We'll learn from this," Camden Catholic coach Matt Crawford said. "We had some open looks but they did a good job on defense."
The slow-paced game was played before a large crowd that included two chanting student sections.
With every possession at a premium, DaSilva's defense and some strong work on the boards by Cazan, junior Connor McLaughlin and senior Sean Dumele made the difference for Bishop Eustace.
"For us, it all starts with our defense," Bishop Eustace coach Bob Falconiero said. "Flo is the key guy for us. He has to be disruptive but not cost us."
Falconiero said DaSilva has learned, through film study and coaching re-enforcement, to limit his risks and stay in position.
Given his instincts, athletic ability and reach, DaSilva still will have ample opportunity to make plays at the defensive end, his coach said.
"Some players, you game-plan for what they can do on offense," Matt Crawford said. "With him (DaSilva), you always have to be aware of where he is on defense."
DaSilva made consecutive steals and turned them into baskets as Bishop Eustace rallied from an early deficit to take the lead midway in the second quarter.
Camden Catholic battled back behind Brendan Crawford, the coach's cousin, and the teams were tied at 17-17 at the half.
But Bishop Eustace seized command of the game with a 13-2 edge in the third quarter. DaSilva had two assists and two steals in decisive period.
"We knew they want to slow it down," DaSilva said. "We wanted to force a faster pace with our defense."
Camden Catholic twice cut the deficit to six in the fourth quarter, but Bishop Eustace held off the charge as Dumele grabbed four rebounds, converted one into a key basket, and Cohen scored five points.
And DaSilva also lifted two more steals while contrbuting two assists in the fourth quarter.
"I've learned that if you just play hard defense, a team will turn it over eventually," DaSilva said. "You just have to wait for it."
Bishop Eustace 3 14 13 11 -- 41
Camden Catholic 6 11 2 14 -- 33
BE: Flo DaSilva 9, Mike Cohen 10, Brandon Cazan 11, Connor McLaughlin 7, Sean Dumele 4.
CC: Rob Brosh 6, Tom Organ 2, Brendan Crawford 15, Courtney Cubbage 7, Jim Robinson 3.
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