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Paul VI boys basketball avenges early season loss to Bishop Eustace with decisive victory

PENNSAUKEN (N.J.) - The Paul VI High School boys basketball team hoped to continue its recent surge against parochial rival Bishop Eustace. The Crusaders defeated Paul VI, 53-48, on December 22.

Paul VI's Adiel Fred and Bishop Eustace's Daniel Mason jump for the opening tip-off in the Eagles' 66-34 triumph at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, New Jersey on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network

The Eagles left no doubt as they cruised past Bishop Eustace, 66-34, in an Olympic Conference National Division matchup on Thursday night.

Paul VI trailed 11-8 after the first quarter, before sophomores Judah Hidalgo and Emmanuel Joe-Samuel initiated a storm of 3-pointers.

Joe-Samuel, the reigning South Jersey Sports Zone Rookie of the Year, finished with a game-high 19 points including five triples. Hidalgo, the younger brother of Notre Dame commit and Paul VI girls hoops standout Hannah Hidalgo, pitched in 17 with three 3-pointers.

Deptford transfer Josh Eli provided an interior presence with a 13-point, 14-rebound double double for the Eagles.

James Iannelli led the Crusaders with 11 points and four rebounds.

Paul VI has won six out of its last seven contests.

"We needed this win," Joe-Samuel said. "Losing to them earlier in the year didn't feel right, but we also weren't the team we are now. We're young considering we start four sophomores and we're just starting to gel together now."

Despite starting four sophomores, the Eagles are gaining experience day by day and finding success.

"The core we've been rolling with lately has played maybe eight or nine of the 15 or so games we've played total," Paul VI coach Tony Devlin said. "They're young and hungry players. As the season goes on they'll continue to get better with age and experience."

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