By Phil Anastasia
Bob Hurley called it a "signature win" for his basketball team.
The legendary St. Anthony of Jersey City coach was that impressed with the Friars' performance in a 54-40 victory over Paul VI on Sunday in the 11th and final game of the 11th annual Cherry Hill East Invitational.
"We scouted them twice and we so impressed," Hurley said of Paul VI. "That's a really good, senior (heavy) team.
"For us to get them out of their rhythm, we must have been doing something right."
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 added 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 foul and 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, re-establishing 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."
Paul VI 7 7 13 13 -- 40
St. Anthony 12 15 12 15 -- 54
PVI: DeVahnte Mosley 4, Ivan Robinson 2, Jair Green 11, Jay Howard 17, Matt Risse 6.
SA: Cheddi Mosley 8, Jagen Mosley 6, Tarin Smith 10, Shaquille McFarlan 6, Markis McDuffie 18, Idris Joyner 4, Mohammed Bendary 2.
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