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High School Basketball:
Camden's Aaron Stephens Heats Up Opener

Friday, Dec. 19, 1997

By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer

Highland was out to prove that they could take their new team and show the Panthers that they could play against one of South Jersey's top teams. Coach Harold Little had a strong season last year for the Tartans and a win would get the 1998 season started on a good note.


But it was Coach Clarence Turners' Panthers who would finally come together in the second half to post an 88-71 victory. Dujuan Wagner ran the floor well and Aaron Stephens drained in 37 points for Camden High School.

Highland's ball control was the key in the first half. The Tartans jumped out to an 8 point lead in the first quarter. Sophomore guards Gene Mergenthal and Mark Groark lead their in a full court press that kept them in the game. Mergenthal would hit on a three pointer near the end of the half and give Highland a 43-36 halftime lead.


The Panthers would come out in the second half and apply a full court press of their own. The press created several turnovers and got Camden within 2 points, 46-44, with 3:16 left in the third quarter. The aggressive defense finally gave the Panthers their first lead of the game with 2:14 remaining in the quarter 50-48. That's when Aaron Stephens started finding his shooting rhythm and draining 3-pointers deep in the corners. Camden was up 61-52 at the end of the third quarter.

Highland would go back to what got them the lead in the first half and score six straight points to bring them within 5 points. But the Panthers' pressure was too strong and went on an 8-0 run that forced the Tartans to call a timeout with 5:33 left in the game. Camden would cruise the rest of the way to post their opening day victory.

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