Camden Eliminates Bengals, 50-30, in Semifinals
After winning their first NJSIAA South Jersey Group II boys basketball playoffs at home against lower seeded teams, the Barnegat Bengals knew there would be a huge uptick in the caliber of competition on the road against Camden March 3. And the home team, which was the top seed, played true to form in eliminating the Bengals, 50-30, in the semifinal round.
Leading the way for the victors was junior Myles Thompson with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Mike Revello led the No. 4-seeded Bengals with 14 points. Camden is 22-6, while Barnegat ends the year at 18-11.
The teams were tied 10-10 at the end of the first quarter, but Camden outscored Barnegat, 14-5, in the second quarter to take a 24-15 lead at the half.
“At the start of the fourth quarter, we were down by 11 (34-23),” said Bengal head coach Mike Puorro. ”We tried to make a comeback, but we couldn’t hit our shots. Their physicality and athleticism wore us down.”
The Bengals were looking at a size disadvantage, as the Panthers fielded a team with four players 6-foot-4 or more, topped by 6-7 senior Deaquan Williams, who scored six points and had 15 rebounds. The tallest Bengals are sophomore forwards Parth Patel (6-4) and Sean Morris (6-3).
“We weren’t intimidated,” said Puorro. “For a while, we were giving them fits on defense as we were doing a good job guarding at the three-point line. But they were taking advantage of their size on the boards with offensive rebounds. We lost to the better team.”
Puorro said he “is very proud of his team” as it set the school season record with 18 wins. He also knows that nearly all of his key players will be returning next year. Aside from Revello, Patel and Morris, junior guard Carson Francisco, junior forward Alex Grogan and sophomore forward Brian Finucan will also be back.
“The future looks very bright for us,” he said. “The team set the school mark for wins in a season. We’ll learn from our experiences this year and hopefully do better next season.”
Revello was the leading scorer with 470 points, good for a 16.2 game average. He scored a school record 38 in the opening playoff round against Cape May Tech. Francisco was the second best scorer, with 13.4 per game. Francisco also had a team-high 112 assists (3.9 per game), and Revello was next with 101 assists (3.5 per game).
Revello and Grogan were the leaders in three-point baskets with 44 and 43, respectively.
Top rebounder was Grogan, with 200 (6.9 per game).
Francisco led the team in steals with 79 (2.9 game average), and Revello was next with 65 steals, or 2.2 per game.
— Eric Englund