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Bishop Eustace on an Impressive Boys’ Basketball Run

Bishop Eustace on an Impressive Boys’ Basketball Run

When Bishop Eustace’s boys’ basketball team began the season 1-2, the Crusaders didn’t have the look of a contender.

The first loss was a 70-51 defeat to Eastern, which was a preseason Top 20 team in South Jersey. The next loss stung more because it was a close game and against one of the contenders for the Olympic Conference National Division – Camden Catholic.

That was a 46-43 loss to the Irish in the first of two meetings between these perennial Olympic Conference National Division contenders.

Since that loss, Eustace won seven in a row entering this week (where the schedule remains unforgiving). Included were three wins in a Florida tournament.

The Crusaders have a veteran team and they have been bolstered by the addition of Mattia Morini, a 6-foot-6 senior exchange student from Italy. 

Morini has attracted Division I interest. He has a varied game, that includes deep range from beyond the arc.

Morini also showed that he doesn’t mind being physical inside. In a recent 47-35 win over Paul VI (another quality team from the loaded Olympic National) Morini grabbed 12 rebounds. He also scored 11 points, hitting a few deep threes.

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Teams are beginning to game plan to stop Morini, but Eustace has other weapons, chiefly 6-4 senior Peyton Vostenak. In the aforementioned Paul VI game, he scored 23 points and hit all three of his three-point shots.

Vostenak, who is an outstanding student, would appear to be a find for a Division III program. He attacks the basket with ferocity, but also has the ability to shoot from deep range. He has a motor that never stops.

Morini and Vostenak make a nice scoring tandem, but the key to the Crusaders success is their defense. In the Paul VI game, they stopped one of the hotter offensive teams in South Jersey, holding the Eagles to just 12 first half points.

The Crusaders also have two fundamentally sound guards in senior Pat Fish and sophomore David Cross.

Eustace is guided by Bob Falconiero, who was a standout guard on several state championship teams at Eustace in the 70’s.

He has done a good job with the program and has the ability to adjust to his personnel. In past seasons, the Crusaders were able to play more up-tempo. This year, they can still excel in the transition game, but as the Paul VI matchup showed, Eustace can win a half-court affair where defense reigns.

Besides competing in the difficult National Division with the likes of Camden Catholic, Camden and Paul VI, Eustace is in South Jersey Non-Public A, which usually has a deep field and this year should be no different, with teams like CBA, St. Augustine and St. Joe Metuchen in addition to Camden Catholic.

Eustace isn’t the favorite in the National or SJ Non-Public A but the Crusaders can’t be counted out of either.


Author: Marc Narducci

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