Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Basketball: New Top 10

Basketball: New Top 10

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By Phil Anastasia

Here's the new Top 10, as if Sunday January 13, with previous ranking in parentheses:

1. Atlantic City (1) 9-0
The Vikings have held their last three opponents to an average of 37.3 points. This is a team with tremendous offensive balance as Dennis White, Isiah Graves, Jah-leem Montague, Dayshawn Reynolds and Ga-brial Chandler have all scored in double figures in recent games. But the defense has been the key for the Vikings, since the middle of last season when they began their run to the CAL and Group 4 state titles.

2. Paulsboro (2) 9-0
The Red Raiders have averaged 76.6 points in their last three games. Senior forward Xavier Lundy is leading the way but Paulsboro, like AC, has been getting a lot of balanced scoring. The Red Raiders still haven't been challenged -- It's tough to determine the best team they've played; Timber Creek? Woodbury? Winslow? -- but the schedule will turn challenging later this month and through February.

3. Lenape (4) 10-0
The Indians have not allowed more than 41 points since a 59-53 victory over Camden on Dec. 18, a stretch of eight games. Here's how many points the Indians have allowed in their last eight games: 38, 35, 40, 27, 40, 41, 40 and 41. Wow. Senior forward Tabu Gaither, who missed a few games over the holidays, has scored 20 and 15 in his last two games.

4. Paul VI (3) 7-1
Junior forward Jay Howard has scored between 13 and 22 points in every game. That 37-35 loss to Bishop Eustace on Thursday was a shocker. But it was a rivalry game and BE has been playing extremely well. The Eagles get transfers Ivan Robinson and Alex Danko this week as they will have done their 30 days. It will be interesting to see how they are worked into the playing-time rotation. Big game Saturday at No. 5 Eastern.

5. Eastern (6) 7-1
Senior forward Avery Walker might be South Jersey's best shot blocker. Junior forward Matt Klinewski is emerging as one of South Jersey's best big men, with scholarship offers from Binghamton, Siena and New Hampshire. The key for Eastern is the play of senior guard Devon Bell. He's one of SJ's most talented players but he's been a little inconsistent thus far this season. If he settles in, this team will be tough to beat.


6. Middle Township (7) 8-2
Senior forward Lamarr Greer Jr. has found the range in the last two games, scoring 35 in victories over Hammonton and Holy Spirit. These guys bounced back from loss to AC in impressive fashion. They must have really played some serious defense against Holy Spirit as they held the Spartans' two two guys, Paul Moore and Junior Saintel, to a combined 5 points.

7. Shawnee (5) 8-2
Senior forward Tristan Polnitz is averaging 13.2 points in the last eight games. The Renegades got beat up a bit on the inside in a loss to Eastern. The Vikings can do that with Walker and Klinewski. Plus, Shawnee is not at full strength. If senior Frank Destito, who missed nearly a month with an ankle injury, rounds into shape and senior Jake Dean returns from injury -- no sure thing, but the Renegades are hopeful that Dean will be back -- this team will be much more physically imposing come late February and March.

8. St. Augustine (8) 8-1
Senior guard David Sullivan is averaging 16.4 points in the last five games, all victories. These guys have quietly won six in a row since a loss to Middle Twp. Big game at Holy Spirit on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans need that one.

9. Bishop Eustace (NR) 7-2
The Crusaders are 6-0 since the return of senior forward Ry'n Bland, who missed the first three games with an ankle injury. What a week for BE: Victories over rivals CC and PVI by a total of 4 points. That shows a lot, especially the ability to execute at both ends late in close games. Lots of offensive balance and great defense, plus a nice mix of senior experience in Bland and Tom Falconiero and youthful talent in soph forwards Brandon Cazan and Colin McLaughlin and frosh guard Mike Cohen. The Crusaders aren't under the radar anymore.

10. Haddonfield (9) 9-1
Senior guard Billy Griffin has averaged 17 points in the last four games. The Bulldogs have gotten balanced scoring all season with Griffin, Chris Biddle and Nick DePersia leading the way. Like Paulsboro, Bulldogs haven't stepped outside Colonial Conference too much thus far but will over the next several weeks.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically):

Holy Spirit (6-3): Spartans need a big win and get their chance Saturdsy at home against No. 8 SAP.

Rancocas Valley (8-2): Nearly bumped the Red Devils to No. 10 or No. 9 but didn't want to oust Haddonfield after 2-0 week. Plus, Wildwood Catholic has a Top 10 argument, too -- and win over RV. But RV is playing very well. Soph guard Ned Ogoemesim has averaged 21 in last three games, victories over Burl Twp., Holy Spirit and Trenton Catholic. Win over TCA was first by the Burlco team at TCA in 6 years.

Wildwood Catholic (9-1): The Crusaders have won nine in a row and have wins over RV and Penns Grove. Juniors Ed McWade and Jordan Robertson have led the way.

In the mix:
Medford Tech (6-3): Jaguars have two of SJ's top five scorers in Myles Powell and Elijah Cain. They are at Woodbury at 5:30 on Monday night.

Burlington City (9-0): Blue Devils have a top leader in senior guard Josh Young, who is averaging 16 points. Lots of depth and versatility on this team.


Camden Catholic (6-4): Irish coach Jim Crawford has 699 career victories. CC plays No. 3 Lenape on Tuesday night.

Woodstown (8-1): Junior guard Jayson Hankins (18.5) is an impact transfer from Academy of the New Church in Bryn Athyn, Pa.

Camden (6-4): Senior forward Amir Maddred has averaged 19 in the last two games, both victories.

Pitman (9-1): The Panthers are 5-0 with junior guard Darnell Foreman, a transfer from St. Anthony of Jersey City.

Cherry Hill East (8-2): The Cougars have won six in a row and senior forward Andrew Brown is averaging 14.8 points.

Penns Grove (10-1): The Red Devils are averaging 71.6 in a five-game winning streak.
 
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

 

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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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