High School Boys Basketball:
Tuesday, March 7, 2000
By Art Redd
This was it, the No. 7 seeded Camden Panthers going up against the No. 1 seeded Lakewood Piners in the boy's basketball South Jersey Group 3 championship. After disposing of Moorestown in the semi-finals, Lakewood had their sights set on the high scoring Panthers. Camden's road to the championship was reached with ease. DaJuan Wagner was unstoppable as he lead Camden to an 89-64 victory to claim the title.
The anticipation was high when both teams entered the Eastern High School gymnasium on Tuesday afternoon. Needless to say, the house was packed as the Lakewood fans were wondering whether Camden's starting junior guard was really that good. Coach John Richard, who passed the 300 victories mark this year, had a deep bench and was ready to use that to his advantage in guarding Wagner. Every player on that bench had the capability of putting points on the board.
As the first quarter began, both teams were having success putting points on the scoreboard. Lakewood was 4 of 8 from three-point land, Carlton Henderson accounting for three of those shots. The initial quarter found neither team able to pull away to gain the momentum in this championship game. Wagner and Arthur Barclay combined for 16 points as the quarter ended with both teams scoring 19 points.
Defense was the key in the second quarter as Camden held Lakewood off the scoreboard for two minutes and thirty-four seconds. During their drought, it was all Camden. Wagner took the rock right to the rack as he scored 17 points in the quarter to open their largest lead of the game. He was 8 for 9 from the free throw line in the half. Lakewood only managed six points in the quarter and when into the locker room down 46-25. Wagner highlighted the first half with a basket after DorJan Brown put up a shot. The high flying Wagner followed with a monster slam that caused the rim not to rest back into its normal position. That basket sent the Panther fans out of their seats as they could smell the victory.
The second half was all Camden as Barclay picked up his game and accounted for 11 third quarter points. Coach Richard began using his bench to guard Wagner and try to slow down the shooting guard. Wagner would find creative ways to break through the defense and score. Coach Glen Jackson sent in his reserves late in the quarter after his team was up by thirty points. The starters re-entered the game at the start of the final quarter, but they were pulled again in the quarter. Wagner led all scorers with 44 points and Barclay added 25 points for Camden. Lakewood's Hassan McDougal had a team high 37 points and Carlton Henderson added 14 points.
Photos by Forrest Robleto
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