Phil Anastasia: Camden defeats Bishop Eustace, 54-48

Of Camden's astounding total of 42 South Jersey boys' basketball titles, the most surprising might have come last season.

This season could be second.

Camden coach Cetshwayo Byrd still isn't sure what to make of his team. He just knows the Panthers are better today than they were yesterday.

So tomorrow has promise.

"There are times when we have lapses," Byrd said after Camden's 54-48 victory over Bishop Eustace in a key Olympic National game Tuesday. "We revert back to where we've progressed from. Or where I thought we've progressed from."

Perhaps it's a measure of Camden's progress that Byrd can find faults in a victory over an 11-4 Bishop Eustace team that had won four in a row, and 10 of 11.

Paul VI and Camden Catholic couldn't beat the Crusaders on their home court. Camden found a way.

"This is a huge win for us," said Camden junior guard Tavaris Headen, who sparked his team with 20 points, including five in a flurry in the final eight seconds of the third quarter. "This can get us on a run, and we need to stay on a run."

That's what happened last season. Camden was 2-5 at one point and 8-9 on Feb. 1. But the Panthers got healthy and hot and won the South Jersey Group 3 title.

Byrd could see it happening again. Camden was 4-4 at the start of the new year and 7-6 at the start of this week.

But after beating Cherry Hill West and Bishop Eustace on consecutive afternoons, the Panthers are 9-6 and thinking big.

"We're finally healthy," said Byrd, who thinks his team likely will be the No. 4 seed in the South Jersey Group 3 tournament. "No more flu bug. No more [injured] ankles and legs. We can establish a starting five and a rotation, and see where we can go from there.

"I like where we're at. That [Bishop Eustace] is a very good team. To come in here and beat them on their court, I like what that says about us."

Camden 14 9 19 12 – 54

Bishop Eustace 17 5 12 14 – 48

C: Rasool Hinson 6, Tavaris Headen 20, Amir Maddred 13, Jamal Holloway 6, Kelvin Davis 3, Jamil Maddred 4, Brad Hawkins 2.

BE: Flo DaSilva 8, Dvonne Trumbo 14, Tom Falconiero 12, Ry'n Bland 9, Brandon Cazan 3, Conner McLaughlin 2.

Contact Phil Anastasia at Follow on Twitter @PhilAnastasia. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at