By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
ABSECON — One missed free throw and a couple of turnovers. That’s all that separated Camden Catholic senior point guard Andrew Crawford from an absolutely perfect afternoon on the hardwood Saturday at the Seagull Classic at Holy Spirit High.
Crawford was masterful in dismantling Egg Harbor Township, as he dished out 13 assists, scored 12 points and added 10 rebounds for a triple-double. Early in the second half he already had a double-double despite scoring just two points up to that point — proving how valuable he is to the Irish even when he’s not putting the ball in the basket.
With Crawford’s effort, along with 21 points and 11 rebounds from sophomore forward Luke Kennevan, Camden Catholic got an early lead and pulled away from EHT quickly to score a 69-57 victory. That game wasn’t nearly that close, as the Irish at one point in the second half led by more than 25 points.
The Irish (7-1, 0-1 Olympic National) took a 20-10 lead into the second quarter but then a 3-pointer from Tobe Nwobu and a bucket by Mel Jones in transition pushed the lead to 28-13 early in the second quarter. Egg Harbor Township (8-2, 3-1 Cape-Atlantic League National) shaved the lead down to 30-21 on a free throw from D.J. Germann — who finished with a game-high 32 points — with 2:24 left before halftime, but that’s as close as the Eagles could get all day long.
“We just have to go to practice, work harder and execute better. We just had a rough game and we have to bounce back,” Germann said. “Early on we were just missing a lot of open shots and playing bad defense. This is definitely a wake-up call for the next couple of games. We have to work harder.”
A runout bucket by Kennevan highlighted a third-quarter run by the Irish that gave them a 43-27 lead. Crawford showed throughout the second half his ability to find the open teammate, hustle after rebounds and find ways to get to the free-throw line. He was just 2-for-2 from the floor but went 8-of-9 from the foul line.
“I was very proud of the way he played,” Irish coach Matt Crawford said of his son. “He played hard and he played unselfishly. He doesn’t usually score a lot, but today he got some fouls and made a couple shots.”
“I really don’t care about the stats. I care about the win more than anything. Just trying to win every game, that’s the goal. I don’t care if I have zero points or a hundred points, I just want to win every game,” Andrew Crawford, a Haddon Heights resident, said. “We passed the ball well and played together. At first, they got a few open rebounds but then we zoned in on that and stopped them from getting offensive rebounds. That’s what my dad tries to preach to us, one possession and done, don’t let them get multiple chances.”
The Irish had six players score, including three in double digits. Along with Kennevan’s 21 and Crawford’s 12, Nwobu added 17 points, and Braelen Crump chipped in nine points, three rebounds and four assists. In all, Camden Catholic had 21 assists on 24 made baskets.
“We were worried about this game,” coach Crawford said. “They are very good defensively and they can score. But I thought we played pretty well. I’m proud of our team. I thought our kids did a good job of picking up the traps and the double teams. We played unselfishly, and I thought we played hard the whole game.”
“Sometimes we’ll have an open shot, and it can be a good shot or a great shot. Sometimes that extra pass is important,” Andrew Crawford said. “We have four guys — me, Luke, Tobe and Braelen — who just play off each other so well. We know when to make that extra pass and when to shoot it. I feel like we’re a very selfless team.”
That selflessness has Camden Catholic out to a 7-1 start. The Irish have won four straight since a blowout loss against Camden, the state’s top team, on Dec. 22, and their Olympic Conference schedule begins in earnest this week with games against Paul VI on Tuesday and Cherry Hill East on Thursday.
“We love coming down here (to Holy Spirit),” coach Crawford said. “It’s nice to see where we stack up against teams we don’t see very often, and for power points this was a big win for us.”
Added Andrew Crawford, “this is just another win. We have Paul VI on Tuesday, so we have to be ready for them. I do like the showcase games, though. You always get a free T-shirt out of it, so I guess that’s good. And we get to show our talent down at the shore.”
What’s Next: Camden Catholic hosts Paul VI on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EHT hosts Williamstown on Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays