Imhotep Charter beats Camden in clash of No. 1 teams

Imhotep’s Amear Johnson (13) and Bernard Lightsey celebrate the win over Camden.

In the beginning, it was Imhotep Charter’s power in the paint.

In the end, it was the Panthers’ accuracy from distance.

“We like to play inside-out,” Imhotep Charter junior Dahmir Bishop said. “That’s our game.”

The combination carried visiting Imhotep Charter to a 61-48 victory over Camden on Saturday in a cross-river clash of the top two basketball teams in their respective rankings.

Bishop, a 6-foot-5 swingman, made five three-pointers on his way to 21 points and 6-foot-6 junior forward Jamal Riggins added 18 points with six rebounds for Imhotep Charter (20-2), the No. 1 team in the Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 25.

Camera icon ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Camden’s Lance Ware dunks the ball, tying the score at 25 with 2:49 to go in the second quarter.

Junior forward Donta Scott added 13 and made some key plays down the stretch for Imhotep Charter before a loud and thoroughly engaged near-capacity crowd at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden.

“What I liked about this was we came into a hostile environment and beat a really good team,” Imhotep Charter coach Andre Noble said. “To play Camden in Camden, in front of this kind of crowd, it’s going to help us get ready for our playoffs.”

Senior guard Corey Greer scored 13, making a trio of three-pointers, and sophomore forward Lance Ware added 10 for Camden (12-3), the No. 1 team in the Inquirer’s South Jersey Top 25.

“We lost it in the fourth quarter,” Camden coach John Valore said. “We were not mentally tough enough in the fourth quarter.”

Camden closed within 48-46 on Ware’s short jumper off a feed from Myles Thompson (eight points, six rebounds) with three minutes, 30 seconds to play.

But Imhotep Charter, the defending PIAA Class 4A champion, closed the game on a 13-2 run.

Camera icon ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Imhotep’s Chereef Knox shoots over Camden’s Myles Thompson in the first half.

Scott led the finishing flourish with five points, including a three-pointer, and also dished to Riggins for a key basket.

Scott, Riggins, and Bishop all made three-pointers in the final 1:10 as the visiting Panthers pulled away, much to the chagrin of the pro-Camden crowd.

“This was one of the best environments we played in all year,” Bishop said. “Their fans, they’re just like our fans. They like to get involved.”

Imhotep Charter’s late surge was its second key sequence of the game. After Camden opened the second half with seven straight points to take a 34-29 lead, the visitors finished the third quarter on a 14-3 run to take a 43-37 advantage.

“That was the key part of the game for us,” Bishop said.

Earlier, the visiting Panthers compensated for some ragged shooting by controlling the glass, grabbing offensive rebound after offensive rebound behind some strong work in the paint by Riggins and junior forward Chereef Knox (seven points, eight rebounds).

“We weren’t making shots,” Noble said. “But we did a good job battling through that and finally it opened up and we hit some shots.”

Valore said Camden was forced to extend its defense in the final minutes, creating some openings on the perimeter for Imhotep Charter.

“We were pressing and the good thing was they were taking some shots from distance,” Valore said. “The bad thing was, they were making them.”

Imhotep Charter              18   11   14   18 –  61

Camden                           14   13   10   11 –  48

IC: Dahmir Bishop 21, Amear Johnson 2, Chereef Knox 7, Jamal Riggins 18, Donta Scott 13.

C:  Corey Greer 13, Ethan Tarte 6, Myles Thompson 8, Saleem Brown 8, Lance Ware 10, Nasim Hinson 3.