High School Boys Basketball:
Thursday, February 3, 2000
By Gregory "Graig" White
The question that was asked most before the basketball game between Camden Catholic and Camden High on Thursday was, "who was going to guard DaJuan Wagner?" Well, in the words of the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, "It doesn't matter!"
Wagner had his way with whomever was unlucky enough to draw the assignment. The atmosphere rivaled most games played during March Madness. Both teams started slowly, as the first points weren't scored until the 5.25 mark on the two free throws by Bill Bakanowsky. The Irish guards were cautious when bringing the ball up. Play went back and forth and the quarter ended in a 14-14 tie.
The second quarter saw the Panther Defense harass Bakanowsky into numerous turnovers as he insisted on trying to dribble. With the game tied at 21-21, the Irish went to a box-and-one type defense that took the ball out of Wagner's hand. This is when the other players from "The High" stepped up. James Pulliam, Arthur Barclay, and Matt Perry, off the bench, continued to make the plays for the Panthers. DaJuan eventually started to hand the ball and helped his squad into halftime with a seven-point lead.
The second half was all Camden High. It seemed as though everyone in the gym knew that Camden had taken Camden Catholic's best shot. Camden High is playing a style of play that could only be described as focused. The intensity level was turned up and it seems that The Irish were always a step behind. The third quarter ended with "The High" up 46-36.
The fourth quarter started with Camden High in cruise control. The Irish unleashed a trapping defense that produced a couple of quick turnovers that led to quick baskets. And then it happened. DaJuan Wagner put on a display of basketball ability that amused and amazed everyone in the gym. He was everywhere and to his credit, he kept his team involved. His 43 points led all scorers and served notice to the rest of South Jersey that the road leading to the championship goes through Camden.
Photos by Forrest Robleto
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