The Paul VI basketball team is at its best in transition.
The same goes for Wisler Sanon.
The Eagles’ speedy sophomore guard shook loose in the open court on several occasions in Saturday’s 59-52 victory over Haddonfield in the Shoot Down Cancer Classic at St. Augustine.
But the key to victory in the clash of Top 4 teams was Paul VI’s ability to execute in halfcourt and also to score when the clock was stopped. Sanon played a big role in both areas, knocking down a pair of three-point jumpers and also going 5-for-6 from the foul line in the final 40 seconds.
“He loves to get out in transition,” Paul VI coach Tony Devlin said of the 6-foot-1 Sanon. “But there are times when his outside shot is on, and it was on today.”
Senior guard Tyshon Judge scored 14 with three assists and senior forward Hartnel Haye added 12 points for Paul VI (8-2), the No. 4 team in the Inquirer Top 25.
“This is a big win, gives us a big energy boost,” Haye said.
Senior swingman Aidan Blake scored 14 for No. 1 Haddonfield (10-1).
The Bulldawgs made seven three-pointers, with senior Dan Fleming and junior Ben Cerrato combining for five, but spent the second half in scramble mode after falling behind by 10 at the break.
“They wore us down with their speed and athleticism,” Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said of Paul VI.
Not all the news was bad for Haddonfield. Wiedeman said that senior guard Mike DePersia, a first-team All-South Jersey last season who has been out since Dec. 15 with a broken bone in his right wrist, likely will be back before the end of the month.
“Sooner rather than later,” Wiedeman said of DePersia’s return.
Paul VI was coming off a tough loss Thursday night to rival Camden, and the Eagles fell behind, 8-0, on Saturday.
But they rallied with defensive pressure creating some run-outs and also with some crisp halfcourt execution. Judge got in the paint and dished to teammates for open looks on several occasions.
“That’s probably the best we’ve looked in the halfcourt all season,” Devlin said.
Sanon got the Eagles going with an acrobatic scoop shot and free throw in the first quarter. He buried a three-pointer from the corner in the second quarter, then made another big shot from behind the arc after Haddonfield cut the deficit to 37-32 early in the fourth.
Down the stretch, Sanon, Judge, and Jalen Boyd-Savage were a combined 11-for-12 from the line.
“We turned it up on defense,” Sanon said. “We played with energy. Everybody was upset when we lost to Camden, but we came back stronger.”
Haddonfield 8 7 15 22 – 52
Paul VI 8 17 12 22 – 59
H: Lewis Evans 3, Aiden Blake 14, Ben Cerrato 11, Dan Fleming 12, Dylan Heine 5, Drew Gavranich 5, Andrew Gostovich 2.