Basketball: New Top 10
Basketball: New Top 10
By Phil Anastasia
Here's the new Top 10, after a long and wild week of basketball highlighted by one of the best CHE Invitationals.
Previous ranking in parentheses:
1. Atlantic City (1) 21-1
The Vikings' defense and big-game moxie was the difference in a 58-48 win over No. 2 Paulsboro on Sunday. They forced 41 turnovers and executived down the stretch, pulling away late before a capacity-plus crowd at CHE. They play Holy Spirit in the nightcap of the CAL tournament semifinals Tuesday night at Hammonton. They are the defending champion. With a win, they would meet the St. Augustine-Middle Township winner in the CAL title game Saturday at Stockton.
2. Paulsboro (2) 22-2
The Red Raiders couldn't overcome those 41 turnovers in the loss to No. 1 AC on Sunday. They simply didn't protect the ball and were constantly fighting uphill against a big, physical opponent. Paulsboro showed something special in rallying from a 16-point deficit against a red-hit Camden team for a 71-61 win. Seniors Xavier Lundy and Kane Segar led the way. Segar is one of the most explosive bench players in SJ. His performance Saturday underscored the depth that has made the difference for the Red Raiders in numerous games over the last two seasons. Paulsboro visits Haddonfield Thursday at 6 in a battle of the two best teams in the Colonial Conference, the Liberty and Patriot division champions.
3. Lenape (5) 21-2
The Indians got a big game from Tabu Gaither (23 points, 12 rebounds) in a 68-53 win over Pitman on Saturday at CHE. Earlier in the week, they beat school district rival Shawnee, then-No. 3 in the rankings. Gaithers and Kendall Green were raining three-pointers against Pitman as Lenape notched a season-high in points. If the Indians shoot like that, they will be tough for any team to beat, including AC. These guys' defense is a given every night.
4. Shawnee (3) 20-3
The Renegades were 19-for-20 from the foul line in a 5243 victory over Holy Spirit on Sunday. They were 12-for-12 after HS pulled within 40-38. That's impressive. Good all- around game for senior swingman Tristan Polnitz. Shawnee had won 10 in a row before a 40-38 loss to rival Lenape on Tuesday. Soph Alec Warren, who missed the first half of the season with an injury, has been finding the range on his jump shot in recent games. His outside shooting will be a key for the Renegades in the SJ 4 tournament.
5. Eastern (7) 18-5
The Vikings get consistent work from junior center Matt Klinewski, who empties his bucket every night. This team pounded the glass in a 52-41 victory over Haddonfield on Saturday at CHE. They also played great defense, holding the Bulldogs to their second-lowest scoring total of the season, including just two points in the third quarter. When Klinewski, Avery Walker and Devon Bell are all operating at a high level, this team is one of the best in SJ and a real threat in SJ 4.
6. Paul VI (8) 20-3
Nice weekend for the Eagles with a fast-paced, double-overtime victory over Phelps Academy of West Chester, Pa., on Friday night and a grind-it-out win over Middle Township on Saturday at CHE. PVI can clinch Olympic National title outright with win over Camden on Tuesday in what should be a big-time battle.
7. Rancoas Valley (10) 23-2
The Red Devils rallied in the second half for a 49-47 victory over then-No. 4 St. Augustine Prep on Sunday at CHE. It was RV's 18th win in a row. These guys have not lost in 2013. Big game for junior guard Vince Anfield, who got to the rim again and again to score or create openings for his teammates. These guys will have almost a week off before opening CJ 4 tourney next Monday as No. 3 seed.
8. St. Augustine Prep (4) 20-3
The Hermits couldn't close out RV on Sunday at CHE. They have a big game Tuesday at Hammonton vs. Middle Township in the semifinals of the CAL tournament. These rivals split two regular-season games. Winner will get AC-HS winner in title game Saturday at 2 at Stockton.
9. Haddonfield (9) 22-2
Junior center Abby Bah is emerging as a force for the Bulldogs. He had 9 points, 12 boards and 3 steals in a 52-41 loss to Eastern on Saturday at CHE. Haddonfield was overwhelmed on boards (48-18) by Eastern but still was in position to win the game thanks to Bah and senior forward Chris Biddle, who does a little bit of everything for this team. Haddonfield has Cherokee on Tuesday, then hosts rival Paulsboro in a Colonial showdown on Thursday at 6.
10. Camden Catholic (6) 17-6
Senior Kyle Green, a Temple recruit, has scored 74 in last three games. Green went for 30 in 65-58 loss to Camden. The Irish bounced back with a 61-41 win over Pennsauken.
Middle Township (18-5): The Panthers went 0-2 in two tough games against Olympic National and South A teams Camden Catholic (41-34 loss) and Paul VI (47-45 loss). They face St. Augustine Prep for the third time in the CAL semifinals Tuesday at Hammonton. This team will be battled tested for SJ 2 tournament. They should make the final, facing the Haddonfield-Willingboro winner for the crown.
In the mix:
Camden (14-8): Junior guard Tavaris Headen is playing at a high level for the Panthers. He went for 22 in 71-61 loss to No. 2 Paulsboro on Saturday at CHE. Camden is 7-2 in its last nine, with wins over CC, St. Augustine and BE and losses to Willingboro and Paulsboro. The team to beat in SJ 3.
Pitman (19-5): Sophomore Tim Delaney made a trio of three-pointers in the second half of a 68-53 loss to Lenape on Saturday. That range is one reason the 6-9 Delaney is a high-level D-1 recruit. Pitman has lost to Haddonfield, St. Augustine and Lenape in the last nine days. While those games haven't helped the look of the record, they will serve to help this team in the tournament -- and also will serve the Panthers well in the future. Without a senior in the starting lineup, Pitman projects as a Top 5 team in 2013-14.
Burlington City (21-1): The Blue Devils continue to roll behind senior guard Josh Young and junior forward Jelani Glaze. Unlike other Group 1 powers such as Paulsboro and Pitman, BC has not played top competition in recent weeks. That doesn't mean the Blue Devils couldn't compete against the better teams in SJ. It just means they haven't played them.
Sterling (17-7): The Silver Knights had won eight in a row before dropping a 71-67 decision to Cinnaminson on Sunday morning at CHE. Jerry Crismond scored 26 in the loss.
Holy Spirit (15-9): The Spartans face a tough challenge on Tuesday, meeting Atlantic City in the second game of the CAL semifinals at Hammonton. These guys will be battle-tested for South A tourney.
Wildwood Catholic (19-4): The Crusaders made a strong comeback but fell to Holy Spirit at home in the first round of the CAL tournament on Friday. Junior forward Eddie McWade is averaging 18.5 and is closing on 1,000 career points.
Willingboro (13-10): Junior forward Awwal Reid, a 6-6 transfer from Westampton Tech, scored 24 in a victory over Florence Thursday at Life Center.
Cherry Hill East (17-7): Tough loss for the Cougars, who scored just two points in setback against rival CH West. It was a second straight loss after a seven-game winning streak.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.