Camden senior Aaron Walton-Moss didn't force the issue, but he helped decide it. Last year's South Jersey scoring leader with a 25.9 average, Walton scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as Camden earned a 77-68 win over visiting Bishop Eustace in yesterday's opening game for both Olympic Conference National Division basketball teams.
Ranked No. 9 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, Camden is a young team, and Walton-Moss is more than willing to provide the leadership.
For the game, the 6-foot-2 Walton-Moss, who said Temple and Texas-El Paso are showing the most interest in him, shot 10 for 16 from the field. He also contributed seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
In the critical fourth quarter in which Camden outscored Eustace, 24-18, Walton-Moss hit all five of his shots.
"I don't want them to depend solely on me, so I wanted to make sure everybody got involved," Walton-Moss said. "I also want Vinny to know what it's like to take big shots because he's going to have to."
He was referring to junior guard Vinny Walls, who had a team-high 24 points. Walls isn't bashful about taking a big shot - or any shot, for that matter. He hit 9 of 22 from the field, including 6 of 12 from beyond the arc. So Walls isn't about to get dejected after missing a few shots.
"My dad was here, and he said keep playing hard," Walls said.
Walls certainly listened to his father, former Camden great Kevin Walls.
Eustace, which trailed by 11 points midway through the fourth quarter, got to within 69-68 after Pat Vasturia hit two free throws with 35 seconds left.
Camden then scored the final eight points, starting when sophomore Hubert Simmons scored two of his 18 points on a feed from Walton-Moss.
Eustace, which played four freshmen yesterday, committed 10 of its 18 turnovers in the second half.
Still, Eustace showed plenty of fight and some impressive talent, led by Vasturia, a junior sharpshooter who had 30 points, while shooting 8 for 14 from the field, 5 of 9 from beyond the arc, and 9 of 10 from the foul line.
"I was happy with the way we played offense, but we have some work to do defensively," Eustace coach Bob Falconiero said.
Camden also realizes that it is far from a finished product, although being in a close game in the opener will no doubt help this young team along the way.
Bishop Eustace 19 13 18 18 - 68
Camden 16 13 24 24 - 77
B: Will Clements 10, Tom Morello 7, Pat Vasturia 30, Bob Falconiero 3, Dexter Harris 7, Carson Puriefoy 7, Sho DaSilva 4.
C: Aaron Walton-Moss 20, Takwail Bailey 5, Vinny Walls 24, Devon Devine 3, Hubert Simmons 18, Khalil Mims 7.