Parkland, Camden livens up Saturday night with a memorable basketball game – The Morning Call

Parking was at a premium. So that was a good view of the court Saturday night at Cedar Beach.

That’s because to end the longest day of the A-Town Throwdown, national powerhouse Camden played defending Eastern Pennsylvania Conference champion Parkland and fans lined the field, filled the stands and were at five depths in some places.

This game created a buzz that most schools would love for any winter regular season game, let alone a summer game starting at 9 p.m. While it’s hard to gauge the total attendance, the atmosphere was one of the best local summer basketball has had. in years.

The Trojans had an early 12-5 lead and were still tied at 19 at halftime before Camden finally wore down Parkland in the second half and won 60-53.

Camden rookie Ikena Alozie scored 16 points, 12 after halftime to lead the New Jersey team’s push.

Aaron Bradshaw, one of the nation’s top rookies with offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland and many other top programs who would later put on a show by winning Throwdown’s slam-dunk contest, tagged 11 stitches. Dasear Haskins had 11 points in the second half as Camden had 41 points in the second half with an 18-minute clock.

The Throwdown slam-dunk contest was to follow the game, but Camden started it early with at least 10 dunks in their offensive spectacle. Even without the nation’s most coveted player, DJ Wagner, Jr., who was in attendance but didn’t play, the Jersey boys were unstoppable.

Still, Parkland coach Andy Stephens was delighted with the atmosphere and his team’s effort.

“Even though they were missing a few of their guys, they’re still a national powerhouse,” Stephens said. “But I think our guys had that look in their eyes before the game that they were going to play hard and not back down. I told them after the game that I was proud of the way they competed and that I didn’t back down. Even towards the end, when we were behind by eight or ten, they continued to compete. This desire for competition will eventually pay off. »

While Parkland could have made it tighter if he hadn’t missed several workable shots, Stephens wasn’t going to complain.

“We missed a lot of shots, but we made good plays,” he said. “We found the guys open and we shared the ball. We were hot early and missed a few shots towards the end, but we played well.

No one has played better for Parkland than Nick Coval, who is considered by most to be Lehigh Valley’s best returning player for the 2022-23 season. He spent much of the summer playing in top AAU tournaments.

Playing without Coval, the Trojans won the Lehigh Valley Summer Varsity League title on July 21.

But Parkland is clearly much better with him and Coval didn’t disappoint against Camden, scoring 26 points. He made five of the Trojans’ nine 3-pointers.

“It was a great vibe,” Coval said. “A lot of people showed up and it was great to see so many familiar faces. We learned a lot. We learned how to deal with these guys. Games like this will just make us better because we learn from it. This must be our state of mind at the end of this match.

Coval said while he knows many on Camden’s star-studded roster, he hasn’t faced them on the AAU circuit. Parkland lacked the size to compete with Camden and a 7-foot center like Bradshaw, but were able to pick up the pace and create scoring opportunities.

“We have a lot of shooters and guys who get into the paint and make plays for other people,” Coval said. “I think it will help us a lot. We are going to be very different from last year. We are going to be much smaller, but much faster. It’s going to be different, but it’s going to be okay. »

Parkland was hoping for a long run on Sunday. The Trojans were scheduled to open play in a Round of 16 game against Phillipsburg, NJ at 10:30 a.m.

As much as people would love to see a rematch between Camden and Parkland in the tournament final on Sunday night, that’s not going to happen. Camden couldn’t commit to staying for four games on Sunday and had to pull him from the tournament. It will be replaced by Muhlenberg Township, which was a finalist in last month’s Cedar Beach Showcase and Lehigh Valley Summer League.

Randy Atiyeh, one of the tournament directors, agreed with Camden’s decision.

“I would be lying if I told you I didn’t want to see the guys from Camden again on Sunday,” Atiyeh said. “But I would actually like to thank [Camden] coach Maalik Wayns as we had a great chat during the slam dunk contest and he was very honest with me after learning that they would no longer be available for the whole Sunday. We decided that he would rather give the place to a school that can commit to playing all day Sunday rather than his team playing one or two games and then having to bail us out.

Atiyeh said Camden players, including DJ Wagner, will be around Cedar Beach for a game on Sunday, but will not play.

“Wayns said he was looking forward to letting his guys be high school kids and letting them have fun and enjoy the park,” Atiyeh said. “Those who don’t appreciate what Camden did by coming to our event just don’t understand. To see the pure joy on all of our kids’ faces Saturday night was truly amazing. I’ve never seen the park like this of my life and we all appreciate it, although we would have liked to see them play more.

Due to the delay of Saturday’s games and the slam-dunk contest, the 3-point contest will take place after the conclusion of the championship game which is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start. Former Allen star Nate Ellis has won the 3-point contest three times during his Canaries’ career. The only time he didn’t win was in 2020 when there was no tournament due to COVID-19.

Boys Varsity Round-of-16 (10:30 a.m.) Parkland vs. Phillipsburg; Notre Dame-GP vs. St. John Vianney, Nj; Timber Creek, NJ vs. Reading; Freedom against Executive; (11:30 a.m.) Allen vs. Catholic Bethlehem; Camden vs. CD East; Emmaus versus Malvern Prep; Lower Merion vs. Newark Arts.

Varsity Girls, 12:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals Boys JV (12:30) Muhlenberg Twp vs. Team BLM; Boyertown versus Whitehall; (1:30) Reading versus Hatboro-Horsham; Malvern Prep versus Emmaus.

Boys’ varsity quarterfinals, 1:30 p.m.

Girls’ varsity semi-finals, 2:30 p.m.

JV boys semi-finals, 2:30 p.m.

Boys’ university semi-finals, 3:30 p.m.

JV Boys and Girls Championships, 4:30 p.m.

Women’s University Championship, 5:30 p.m.

Boys University Championship, 6:30 p.m.

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