Bishop Eustace Prep basketball coach Bob Falconiero was talking after the game about the difference between young players and older ones.
“You don’t see it as a sophomore and you see it as a senior,” Falconiero said.
Peyton Vostenak sees it.
The senior swingman led the way in Bishop Eustace’s 47-35 victory over visiting Paul VI Thursday night in an Olympic Conference National Division clash of Top 12 teams.
The 6-foot-4 Vostenak generated a game-high 23 points with six rebounds for the Crusaders (8-2, 2-1 in the division), the No. 12 team in the Inquirer Top 25.
Vostenak was 6-for-10 from the field, including 3-for-3 from three-point range. He also was 8-for-10 from the foul line.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Rowan University assistant coach Joe Cassidy said after the game. “Well, he missed that left-handed layup late.”
That miss came off a strong drive with Paul VI mounting its last, best rally of the night, and underscored the most important aspect of Vostenak’s game: his willingness to step forward in big moments.
“He wants the ball in his hands,” Falconiero said. “He wants to take the big shot, he wants to be on the foul line late in the game.
“The big thing with him this year is his leadership. He’s stepped up as a senior.”
Bishop Eustace, which has won seven in a row, got strong work from junior forward Mattia Morini, an exchange student from Italy who collected 11 points with 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Pat Fish (four points, four assists) and sophomore guard David Cross (eight points) played strong floor games for the Crusaders.
Junior Tyshon Judge scored 11 for No. 9 Paul VI (5-3, 0-2), which had won four in a row.
“They’ve been scoring a lot of points,” Falconiero said of Paul VI. “We didn’t want to get into a 70-point game with them.”
Bishop Eustace’s defense was the difference. The Crusaders held the Eagles to just 12 points in the first half. Paul VI’s previous low points total this season was 51 in the opener vs. No. 8 Timber Creek.
“That was our biggest concern, stopping Tyshon and Hartnell (Haye),” Vostenak said. “The offense is there sometimes and sometimes it’s not. But you can always play defense.”
Said Falconiero: “I don’t know if teams look at us as a defensive team but that’s always been a point of emphasis for us. Tonight, we played great team defense.”
Vostenak was able to score on a night when points were at a premium for both teams. He hit a layup and three-pointer to turn back a Paul VI rally and pushed Bishop Eustace’s lead back to 33-22 late in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Vosetnak was 3-for-4 from the foul line and hit a driving layup. He also took a charge, another big play that muffled Paul VI’s momentum.
“I’m a senior, I feel like I have to step into a leadership role,” said Vostenak, who lives in Delran. “We have some younger guys, some inexperienced guys, some new guys. I feel like I have to step up and try to take control.”
Paul VI 8 4 15 8 – 35
Bishop Eustace 17 8 11 11 – 47
PVI: Tariq Johnson 4, Tyshon Judge 11, Nick Villa 8, Hartnell Haye 8, Jordan Pierre 2, Wisler Sannon 2.
BE: Pat Fish 4, Peyton Vostenak 23, Mattia Morini 11, Matt McCaffrey 1, David Cross 8.