Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Basketball: New Top 10

Not much movement in the first live Top 10, as everybody won except for Atlantic City -- which lost by a point to fellow Top 10 team Shawnee.

Basketball: New Top 10

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Not much movement in the first live Top 10, as everybody won except for Atlantic City -- which lost by a point to fellow Top 10 team Shawnee.

One team I want to see is Lenape. The Indians might belong in the Top 10 based on their balance, depth and sturdy defense. They get a shot at No. 9 Camden Catholic on Wednesday.

Here's the first live Top 10 of the season. The preseason ranking is in parentheses:


1. Bishop Eustace (1) 2-0
Senior Dexter Harris has been a force off the bench in the Crusaders’ first two games. This team has a lot of elements, with really impressive play so far from senior swingman Trevor Norton. He was a big factor on the backboards against Pennsauken.

2. Paul VI (2) 1-0
Sophomore forwards Jay Howard (16) and Matt Risse (10) combined for 26 in season-opening win against Triton. The Eagles step out of SJ and face Philadelphia Catholic League power Roman Catholic Monday night at Philadelphia University. Coach Tony Devlin hopes it's a game that will better prepare the Eagles for the post-season tournament.

3.  Eastern  (3) 1-0
Senior Melvin Ford made a big impact as a reserve in Friday’s victory over Camden. This team has remarkable depth and versatility. Sophomore Matt Klinewski, a 6-6 forward, gives the Vikinga another inside presence.

4. Willingboro (4) 2-0
Senior forward Mike Owens powered inside for 16 in an impressive victory over Wildwood Catholic in the PBA Tipoff Tournament in Ocean City on Saturday. The backcourt tandem of senior guards Tyrell Maloney and Ronny Paden might be the best in SJ. Big test Tuesday night with No. 8 RV.

5. St. Augustine (5) 2-0
Penn State football recruit Austin Johnson scored a career-high 25 in a victory over Kingsway Saturday in the tournament in Ocean City. This team lacks the signature star of last year's Isaiah Morton-led state champions. But they are tough, physical, deep and resourceful. The South A tournament promises to be a war again.

6. Shawnee (7) 2-0
The Renegades start just one senior in guard Don DiVirglio. This team is going to get better and better with so many juniors in key roles. Even experienced juniors such as Josh Borelli and Ryan Bodnar are adjusting, as they are now go-to guys as opposed to complementary players. Nice win over Atlantic City in OC on Sunday. Typical Shawnee: Tempo control, great ball movement on offense.

7. Atlantic City (6) 1-1
The Vikings are counting the days until the return from injury of 6-8 junior Jahleem Montague, who is nursing a knee injury. This is another team that will be better in February than now. If the Vikings get Montague and Atlantic Christian transfer Gabriel Chandler on the roster and mesh those elements together, they will be tough to beat in the SJ 4 tournament.

8. Rancocas Valley (8) 1-0
The Red Devils allowed just 11 points in the second half against Pemberton Friday night’s opener. Senior guard Tariq Jett is carrying this team as senior forward Dom Twitty recovers from a football injury. That's two years in a row that a football injury has slowed the Red Devils in December.  Role players will have to step up against No. 4 Willingboro on Tuesday.

9. Camden Catholic (9) 2-0
Junior Kyle Green is averaging 24 points and should approach 1,000 career points by mid-season. The Irish are showing a lot of balance and defensive diligence so far. Lenape will be a big test on Wednesday. That game could be 40-38.

10.Paulsboro (10) 0-0
The Red Raiders open Monday night at home against rebuilding Audubon. Paulsboro visits Haddon Twp. on Tuesday for what could be a Colonial Patriot battle. The Hawks are much improved.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically):

Holy Spirit (1-0): Junior guard Paul Moore is a top playmaker.

Lenape (1-0): Evan Ward scored 20 in the opener. This team's man-to-man defense is a constant.

Medford Tech (1-0): Senior forward Kennedy Chukwoucha (I'll have that spelling memorized by January) scored 21 in opener.

Middle Township (1-0): Lots of balance and defense will add up to a lot of victories for the reloading Panthers.

-- Phil Anastasia

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

Phil Anastasia Inquirer Columnist
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