For John Camden, the second half was a second chance.
The same goes for his team in the Philadelphia Catholic League, the so-called second season offering Archbishop Carroll the opportunity to settle some scores.
Camden, a junior swingman, scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half as Carroll fought off a strong effort from St Joseph’s Prep and emerged with a 74-66 victory Wednesday night in the first round of the PCL playoffs.
Freshman guard Dean Coleman-Newsome scored 20 points, junior forward Anquan Hill collected 18 points with four blocks, and senior center Tairi Ketner added 15, including a pair of key late buckets, for eighth-seeded Carroll (15-8).
The Patriots advanced to face either top-seeded Archbishop Wood or second-seeded Bishop McDevitt in Friday night’s quarterfinals, with a trip to the Palestra for the Feb. 19 semifinals on the line.
“Coming in an eight seed, no one is expecting us to take down the one or the two seed, but we’re going to come in with a chip on our shoulder,” Camden said. “It gives us an edge.”
Senior guard Trevor Wall scored 27 points for ninth-seeded St. Joseph’s Prep (12-11) in the last Catholic League game for legendary coach Speedy Morris, who started his career at Roman Catholic in 1968.
The Prep’s season is not over as the Hawks have qualified for the District 12 segment of the PIAA Class 6A tournament, with a first-round game against an undetermined Philadelphia Public League foe later this month.
“We played well,” Morris said. “We shot the ball well. But give them credit. They played well.”
Carroll coach Francis Bowe was pleased with his team’s balanced scoring and overall offensive production as the Patriots consistently made the extra pass to set up a teammate for an open look.
“We scored 74 points because we were doing what we worked on all year,” said Bowe, whose team made 10 three-pointers.
The Prep stayed in contention thanks to Wall’s superb all-around play as well as sharpshooting from distance by fellow senior guards Brian Geatens (16 points) and Mike Keenan (10).
“I thought Wall would pay well, but my gosh,” Bowe said. “I asked after the game where he was going [to college] and he said he didn’t know yet. Whoever offers him is getting a gem.”
Wall’s three-point jumper gave St. Joseph’s Prep is last lead at 60-59 with 4 minutes, 8 seconds to play.
But Ketner, a Bryant recruit, muscled inside for a pair of buckets while fouled, scoring five straight points to push Archbishop Carroll back in command.
“We’re an inside-out team, and as much as that’s a lost art, it works for us,” Bowe said.
Camden was just 1-for-6 from the field in the first half but sank three consecutive three-pointers in a span of two minutes in the third quarter. He also dished four assists, grabbed five rebounds and sealed the deal by going 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 27 seconds.
“My shots weren’t falling in the first half, but my teammates trust me, they found me and gave me the ball in the right spots,” Camden said.
Camden made the most of his second chance in the second half. He believes his team will do the same in the second season.
“We haven’t peaked yet,” Camden said. "We continue to improve every game. That’s what I think makes us the scariest team in the Catholic League.
“We’re underdogs and every night we’re coming out to fight. It’s playoff time. We’re coming out to play every game like it’s our last.”
St. Joseph’s Prep 19 15 18 16 – 66
Archbishop Carroll 15 19 20 20 – 74
SJ: Chris Arizin 6, Brian Geatens 16, Mike Keenan 10, Trevor Wall 27, Jimmy King 5, Richard Thomas 2.