It may not have been a major upset, but it certainly was an emphatic statement for Camden's girls' basketball team.
The Panthers, who were No. 10 in The Inquirer's South Jersey preseason rankings, jumped to No. 5 today after Friday's opening 56-50 overtime win over visiting Bishop Eustace in an Olympic Conference National Division game.
Eustace, which entered the game ranked No. 3, beat Camden twice last year by a total of 32 points.
"It was a good momentum-builder for our team," said first-year Camden coach Jonathan Taylor.
Annie Payton led Camden with 17 points and hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left in regulation to tie the score and send the game into overtime.
A Hofstra recruit, Payton received plenty of help from her teammates.
Jasmine Inge had 10 points, and Payton's sister, Lynette, a 6-foot sophomore, added eight points and 10 rebounds. Diamonique Carr scored eight points, while Briana Richmond-Peters had 13 rebounds and five steals.
"What I liked is we had a pretty balanced effort," Taylor said.
Good start. Woodbury won three games last year - and then lost four starters - which made Friday's 30-28 opening win over Haddon Heights that much more encouraging to coach Kate Bourquin.
"It's a step forward, and the players were really excited," Bourquin said.
The one returning starter is 5-foot-8 junior Dominique Sellers, who scored 21 points. While Sellers' production is no surprise, Woodbury received seven points from senior guard Brittney Smith, who is in only her second season playing basketball. Bourquin was impressed with Smith's athletic ability as a soccer player and persuaded her to come out last year.
"Last year, she was getting the basics down, and this year she has shown great progress," Bourquin said of Smith.
The same could be said of Woodbury.
Super sub. Gloucester Catholic is a perennial contender in the Tri-County Conference. Last season, the Rams finished a game behind co-champions Penns Grove and Glassboro in the Diamond Division, and it appears as if Gloucester Catholic has quickly moved to the favorite's role after Friday's opening 53-42 win over Glassboro.
The Rams received a huge game off the bench from junior guard Amanda Virgili, who scored a team-high 21 points.
Virgili and the Rams had to be on their game to offset a 25-point performance by Glassboro's Stephanie Gardner.
"She is a really nice player," Gloucester Catholic coach Lisa Gedaka said of Gardner. "A lot of times we were playing good defense on her, and she was able to score anyway."