Basketball: New Top 10
Basketball: New Top 10
By Phil Anastasia
Here's the new Top 10, as of Sunday Jan. 20, with previous ranking in parentheses:
1. Atlantic City (1) 11-1
Junior guard Isiah Graves scored 11 as the Vikings showed well in a 45-31 loss to St. Anthony in the Jersey City Armory on Saturday night. That's a tough place to play and while the Vikings didn't put a serious scare in the Friars, they played a lot better than they did in a 30-point loss in last year's T of C. This team continues to function well in low-scoring, defensive-oriented games, which was the key to their run to the Group 4 state title last season. It bodes well for another run for another crown -- although apparently that East Brunswick team in CJ 4 is the real deal.
2. Paulsboro (2) 11-0
The Red Raiders have averaged 76.2 points in their first five games in 2013. Paulsboro has yet to be challenged (just three games outside the Colonial, not against a Top 20-type team) but that's about to change. Lenape, Eastern, Haddonfield, Camden, Atlantic City and Hudson Catholic, the No. 2 team in the Star Ledger state rankings, are on the docket. Senior center Julien Davenport is playing the best basketball of his career.
3. Paul VI (4) 9-1
Playing in just his second game after sitting out 30 days as a transfer, junior guard Ivan Robinson was a huge factor in Saturday night's 65-57 victory over then-No. 5 Eastern. These Eagles have great depth and versatility -- lots of inter-changable parts. They have Medford Tech Saturday at the Coney Classic at RV. It's interesting game in that MT junior point guard Elijah Cain, a 6-5 athlete drawing heaviy recruiting interest from St. Joe, started his career at PVI. Imagine that junior class if he was still there.
4. Middle Township (6) 10-2
In a 41-33 win over Oakcrest on Monday, Lamarr Greer Jr., Tom Feraco, and Darrell Shelton each scored 10 and Tom Catanoso scored nine. That's typical balance for the Panthers. Big game this Friday at No. 5 St. Augustine, which has won nine in a row since losing to Middle on Dec. 18.
5. St. Augustine (8) 11-1
Senior guard Mike Greenman has averaged 17.5 points in the last six games. These guys are beating pretty solid opponents -- Hammonton, Southern, Holy Spirit -- by double digits. Veteran coach Paul Rodio has 769 wins. Needs five to tie former Camden coach Clarence Turner for top spot on SJ's all-time list.
6. Lenape (3) 12-1
The Indians are 7-0 in games decided by six points or fewer. The Indians bounced back from loss to Camden Catholic by allowing 37 and 39 points in victories over Timber Creek and Pennington. Lenape faces a challenge from red-hot CH East in Olympic American clash on Tuesday.
7. Eastern (5) 9-2
Junior center Matt Klinewski has scored 14 or more points in every game. The Vikings needed OT to beat CH East earlier in week but senior guard Devon Bell was held out of that game. Big week ahead includes gritty Washington Twp. on Tuesday, mercurial Camden on Thursday and No. 2 Paulsboro at Coney Classic at RV on Saturday.
8. Shawnee (7) 10-2
Sophomore Alec Warren, who has been out with an injury, returned to score 14 in a 62-54 victory over then-No. 9 Bishop Eustace. Senior forward Tristan Polnitz continues to emerge as strong second scoring option after senior guard Josh Borrelli. Polnitz scored 20 in win over BE and 17 in win over Seneca last week. Shawnee at CH East Thursday should be a good one.
9. Haddonfield (10) 12-1
Senior forward Chris Biddle has averaged 18.5 points in a five-game winning streak. The Bulldogs are playing solid defense, allowing just 38, 43, 44, 22 and 42 points since dropping that game at Delsea on Jan. 5.
10. Wildwood Catholic (NR) 11-1
The Crusaders have won 11 in a row since losing to Sacred Heart on opening night and have victories over Rancocas Valley (11-2) and Penns Grove (11-1). Juniors Eddie McWade and Jordan Robertson are leading the way. WC has a rematch with Sacred Heart this week and an interesting game with Bishop Eustace at RV on Saturday.
Under consideration (listed alphbetically):
Bishop Eustace (8-3): Senior forward Ry'n Bland has scored 16 in each of the last two games. Busy week features games vs. Delsea at Paulsboro as well as Winslow Twp. and Wildwood Catholic.
Camden Catholic (9-4): Senior Kyle Green went for 36 in a big win over Pleasantville. CC has an interesting matchup with 11-1 Penns Grove at MLK Day event at Kingsway Monday at 5.
Rancocas Valley (11-2): Junior center Nick Davidson went for season-high 20 in 64-50 win over Holy Cross on Saturday night. RV has a quiet week with game vs. Sterling Saturday night in Coney Classic.
In the mix:
Burlington City (12-0): Juniors Derrick Wright and Jelani Glaze are leading way for Blue Devils. Should be a fast-paced game Monday vs. Clearview at Paulsboro in MLK Day event.
Pitman (12-1): Junior guard Darnell Foreman, a transfer from St. Anthony, has averaged 17.2 points in last five games. That's quite a trio of scoring options with 6-9 soph Tim Delaney (20.3 average) and 6-5 junior Eric Stafford (18.1).
Cherry Hill East (10-3): The Cougars have won 8 of 9. They survived a tough battle with cross-town rival CH West 47-45 on Hank Davis' layup at 0:02 on Saturday. Strong game for senior forward Gary Hettinger, who hit three three-pointers in first quarter and finished with 21 points. Tough week ahead with games vs. Lenape Tuesday and Shawnee Thursday.
Hammonton (11-3): Pretty impressive win over Holy Spirit on Thursday. Senior Christian Mortellite is second in SJ in scoring with a 23.7 average.
Penns Grove (11-1): Red Devils get their shot at signature win as they face Camden Catholic Monday at 5 at MLK Day event at Kingsway. Senior Ge'Shawn Davis is averaging 19.8 points.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.