By Phil Anastasia
Here's the new Top 20 rankings in South Jersey boys' basketball:
(Last week's ranking in parentheses)
1. Paul VI (1) 4-0
Senior guard Ivan Robinson has scored between 12 and 16 in every game. The Eagles renew their rivalry with Camden Catholic on Tuesday. It could be the first of three meetings this season, just like last year.
2. Atlantic City (2) 2-1
AC coach Gene Allen was worried before the season because his two best players, senior guard Isiah Graves and senior forward Dennis White, were football players who would need time to round into basketball shape. It's January 5. AC has played three games. The football season ended in November. Those guys have more than a month of practices and scrimmages under their belt. It's no longer an issue.
3. Holy Spirit (4) 4-1
Senior Junior Santiel (15.2), junior John Middleton (14.0) and sophomore Leon Daniels (10.8) are averaging double digits for the Spartans. Nice win Saturday night at RV. That's a long trip and a tough place to play and a quality opponent. HS took care of business in second half.
4. Haddonfield (5) 5-0
The Bulldogs are playing tough D, having held four of five opponents to fewer than 44 points. Junior guards Rob DePersia and Nick DePersia have scored in double digits in every game. Haddonfield will get a big boost in another week or so with the return of senior center Abby Bah, a starter last season who has been out with a hand injury.
5. Bishop Eustace (6) 5-1
Junior center Brandon Cazan is developing into a dependable inside scorer for the Crusaders. This team plays through the all-court excellence of senior guard Flo DaSilva, perhaps South Jersey's top defensive guard. An interesting game Thursday with a tough Washington Township team.
6. Pitman (3) 4-1
Pitman coach Kevin Crawford won't make excuses for the stunning 59-57 loss to Penns Grove on Saturday. But the Panthers were missing senior guard Eric Stafford, a Lafayette recruit, who was held out for precautionary reasons after banging his head and neck during a fall in a game. He should be back shortly. But let's give Penns Grove credit. That was a great win. Pitman senior guard Darnell Foreman has been the most consistent big scorer in South Jersey -- he's registered 20 or more in every game except the one in which he scored 19.
7. Paulsboro (8) 5-0
Senior guard Cassius Carter, the brother of former Red Raiders star and Notre Dame player Russell Carter, is one of South Jersey's top three-point shooters. He set a Boardwalk Basketball Classic record with eight -- no mean feat in that cavernous place, where nobody seems to shoot well. It's like playing outside, except it's not windy and you can't hear the ocean.
8. Eastern (9) 4-0
That was a nice win for the Vikings Saturday at then-No. 7 Camden Catholic. With big man Matt Klinewski hampered with foul trouble, sophomore Maliq Sanders, junior Justin Fendrick and seniors Alex Barr and Tom Flacco stepped up and led the team to victory in a tough gym against a a good team. While there were a number of big plays late in the, the key was the way the Vikings turned up and sustained their defense in the final three quarters. They held Camden Catholic to 26 points in the last 24 minutes. Without a ton of fireopower, that's how this team has to play.
9. Rancocas Valley (NR) 5-2
Senior guard Vince Anfield scored a season-high 17 in a 69-61 loss to No. 3 Holy Spirit on Saturday night. If he gets going, that's big for RV as a complement to senior center Nick Davidson (18.6 points per game). This team will always play defense.
10. Camden Catholic (7) 3-2
The Irish suffered a big blow when 6-9 junior center Demola Onifade was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. He was just starting to develop into an intimidating defensive force. CC also was missing senior point guard Rob Brosh (chest injury) in the loss to Eastern on Saturday. That hurt with some ball-handling issues, especially late. Brosh is expected back shortly, according to coach Matt Crawford. Junior swingman Courtney Cubbage (14 rebounds, 8 points against Eastern) has been CC's most consistently productive player.
11. Schalick (12) 4-0
The Cougars are getting great inside-outside work from senior center Rashaan Holloway (20.0) and senior guard Melvin Allen (17.0).
12. Cherry Hill East (10) 5-1
Senior guard Austin Wetzler went for a career-high 24 in a win over Winslow Township on Saturday. Big Olympic American game for the Cougars Tuesday at home vs. Cherokee.
13. Camden (13) 4-1
After a flurry of games to start the season, the Cougars have been off for more than a week. They still hope to get senior guard Tavaris Headen back on Feb. 1 but that's no sure thing.
14. Wildwood Catholic (14) 4-2
The Crusaders' senior guard, Jordan Robertson, is starting to draw a lot of recruiting interest.
15. Cherokee (15) 3-0
The Chiefs will have been off for more than 10 days when they visit CH East on Tuesday night.
16. St Augustine Prep (16) 4-0
The young Hermits get a big challenge Saturday in the American Basketball Classic at their place when they face Montrose (Md.) Christian. That's a national caliber program.
17. St. Joseph (17) 4-0
The Wildcats have a strong 1-2 combo in junior swingman B.J. Mitchell and senior guard Charlie Riccardi.
18. Washington Twp. (18) 2-2
The Minutemen will have plenty of chances to prove they deserve this rankings with a challenging schedule both inside the American Division and in Olympic cross-over games.
19. Clearview (19) 4-0
The Pioneers' balance has been key, with Dan Brown, Adam Herman, Gavin Bright and Sterling Sheffield, among others, contributing at important times.
20. Pemberton (NR) 4-1
Senior swingman Shaun Brooks has been a consistent presence for a young, talented team.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically):
Collingswood (4-0), Delsea (2-2), Medford Tech (2-3).
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com
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