As the clock ran down on the first half, Paul VI senior guard Tyshon Judge drove into the lane against Haddonfield.
In the past, Judge would have looked for his own shot. This time, he dished a bounce pass to Hartnel Haye for a layup and a 25-15 lead at the break.
“I’m still learning to pick my spots,” Judge said. “I’m trying to put my teammates in the right spots to score.”
It was fitting that Haye was on the receiving end of Judge’s deft delivery.
The two seniors have been together since they were seventh graders for the Catholic Partnership Schools team in Camden, and they have developed into top players and team leaders during their careers at Paul VI.
Both have shown the way by deed as well as word for the Eagles, who have risen to No. 3 in the Inquirer’s Top 25 thanks in large part to that victory over previously undefeated and top-ranked Haddonfield in the Shoot Down Cancer Classic on Saturday at St. Augustine.
Both are playing a little out of position for the benefit of the team, with Judge learning the ropes at point guard while Haye spends a lot of time in the paint despite a skill set more suited to the perimeter.
“Hart is really our only ‘big,’ ” Paul VI coach Tony Devlin said of Haye. “He could play outside. He has that ability. But we need him to do the dirty work inside, and he’s accepted that role.”
Devlin said Judge is a natural shooting guard who has assumed many of the ballhandling and decision-making responsibilities for the Eagles.
“He’s taken the role of point guard, and that’s not easy in our program,” Devlin said.
The 6-foot-6 Haye is the Eagles’ leading scorer with a 17.8 average. He has scored in double figures in every game and was the star of a big early-season win over rival Camden Catholic.
Haye has the skills to play anywhere on the court. He made one of the top plays of the first half of the season with an acrobatic up-and-under reverse layup while drawing a foul in Paul VI’s 63-57 loss Jan. 10 to new No. 1 Camden.
“He can score inside and he can score outside,” Judge said of Haye.
The 6-2 Judge is averaging 12.8 points. He’s focused more on play-making than scoring this season and had one of his most complete games in the 59-52 victory over Haddonfield, with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He also shot 4-for-4 from the foul line.
“I’m trying to play with a lot of energy,” Judge said. “I still have a lot to learn. I just started playing [point guard] this year.
“It’s just knowing when to try to score and when not to try to score and how to get my teammates involved.”
Judge lives in the Whitman Park section of Camden. Haye lives downtown.
They both attended Sacred Heart grammar school in the city and played for the Catholic Partnership Schools team.
“We work out together all the time,” Judge said. “I know what he’s good at. He knows what I’m good at."
At Paul VI, Haye and Judge have been varsity players for four seasons, taking some lumps early in their careers as the program has made a steady return to its traditional place among South Jersey’s top teams.
This season, Haye and Judge are the only seniors in the regular rotation for a team that starts three sophomores — Wisler Sanon, Jordany Pierre, and Jalen Boyd-Savage — and features a top freshman in Jaden Arline.