Basketball: Why unbeaten seasons never happen

It's not just that national power St. Anthony of Jersey City always is waiting in the Tournament of Champions.

There are other reasons basketball teams (and baseball teams) never finish undefeated seasons.

Paulsboro coach Sean Collins said 30-0 was a "monster" on the Red Raiders' backs.

He was speaking after a 67-54 loss to Asbury Park in the Group 1 state semifinals on Wednesday night.

Paulsboro basketball was just the latest team to learn how difficult it is to go wire to wire without a loss.

No SJ baseball team has done it since Pennsville in 1981 (one year after Gloucester Catholic did it in 1980).

No basketball team has done it since Camden in 1986 (and 1984, too).

Shawnee came closest, going 31-0 in 1995 (including a T of C semifinal victory over previously undefeated Pleasantville). But the Renegades lost a 47-44 decision to St. Anthony, despite having star guard Brian Earl foul out late in the third quarter.

Lenape went 28-0 and won the Group 4 state title in 2004, with Jason Thompson and Matt Betley, but came out flat and lost to Bloomfield Tech in the T of C quarterfinals.

So the T of C is a factor, since those Camden teams never played in the T of C which began in 1989.

But there are other factors. We'll take a closer look in Saturday's Inquirer.

-- Phil Anastasia