By Phil Anastasia
The rankings are never easy.
But some weeks are tougher than others. This was one of those weeks.
There was so much impactful action from Monday, when Wildwood Catholic beat Schalick and Penns Grove handled Delsea, through Saturday, when Medford Tech stunned Paulsboro in OT and Eastern scored a buzzer-beating victory over Holy Spirit -- with lots and lots of notable results in between.
Anyway, here goes:
(Last week's ranking in parentheses)
1. Paul VI (2) 10-1
The Eagles got some great work from role players Jahvan Rosbia and Alex Danko in a 59-40 win over Rancocas Valley late Saturday night. Rosbia scored a season-high 14 (might be a career high, actually) and Danko bounced off the bench to grab eight rebounds. The Eagles re-took the top spot after Holy Spirit went 0-2 last week after taking the No. 1 perch.
2. Atlantic City (3) 7-2
"If you try to bury us . . . we're not dead," AC coach Gene Allen said after an imposing win over then-No. 1 Holy Spirit Thursday in the Spartans' gym. Nobody buried the Vikings, unless a No. 3 ranking qualifies as interment. But they had a bit of a chip on their shoulder since they are two-time Group 4 state champions and they still haven't lost to a SJ team this season. Big test Friday vs. surging St. Augustine in Battle by the Bay.
3. Haddonfield (4) 12-0
Wildwood Catholic coach David DeWeese said Haddonfield was "best team" the Crusaders have played this season. That's interesting, since Wildwood Catholic opened with a loss to Atlantic City. Haddonfield shut down WC with sensational defense in a 53-38 win at RC on Saturday. Nick DePersia had the hit hand with 25, including six 3s. Big game for Haddonfield Tuesday at Paulsboro.
4. Pitman (5) 12-1
The Panthers are undefeated with Eric Stafford on the court. The Lafayette recruit has averaged 14.7 in eight games since returning from injury. Pitman has a huge game Tuesday at Schalick. The Panthers' Tim Delaney, a Villanova recruit, and the Cougars' Rashaan Holloway, a UMass recruit, should battle in the paint.
5. Cherry Hill East (9) 12-1
The Cougars are 8-0 in 2014. They've rocketed up the rankings, thanks in large part to that win over Eastern on Thursday. It helped when Eastern turned around and knocked off Holy Spirit. This is one of those teams where the whole seems greater than the sum of the parts. That's a compliment.
6. Eastern (7) 10-2
Alex Barr went coast-to-coast in 5.5 seconds and dished to Matt Klinewski, whose buzzer beater lifted the Vikings to a 50-48 win over Holy Spirit on Saturday at RV. It was a great ending and a monster win for Eastern, which had dropped two in a row and was smarting from that loss to CHE. Not to be overlooked: Logan Edwards made a huge play by taking a charge with 5.5 seconds on the clock to put Eastern in position to win. "We won on a charge and a pass," coach Joe Murphy said. Coaches love to win on a charge and a pass.
7. Holy Spirit (1) 9-3
"We have to decide what kind of team we want to be," HS coach Jamie Gillespie said after the Spartans' second straight loss. The No. 1 ranking wasn't much fun for Holy Spirit, which staggered late against rival Atlantic City at home Thursday, then played inconsistently against Eastern. Still, some perspective is in order -- Holy Spirit's three losses were to good teams. This is an extremely talented team that can turn things around in a hurry.
8. St. Augustine (13) 10-1
The Hermits are 7-0 against South Jersey opponents and they have alloed an average of 40.5 points in those games. Balanced, unselfish and scrappy, this is one of veteran coach Paul Rodio's favorite kinds of teams. SAP has a big test Friday at Atlantic City in the second game of the first night of Battle by the Bay action.
9. Rancocas Valley (6) 10-3
The Red Devils made more three-pointers (4) than two-pointers (3) in the first three quarters against Paul VI on Saturday night. RV's defense was solid -- they held Paul VI to 3 points in the second quarter -- but they couldn't hit enough shots. Sophomore guard Adam Perry is emerging as a solid player.
10. Paulsboro (8) 11-2
Juniors Theo Holloway (14.3) and Saleem Little (13.4) have been steady scorers for the Red Raiders, and senior Cassius Carter is a constant threat from three-point range. Paulsboro sustained a tough loss to Medford Tech on Saturday, falling 93-86 in overtime. The Red Raiders get right back in the saddle with a home game against undefeated Haddonfield on Tuesday night.
11. Medford Tech (19) 9-4
Junior forward Dennis Tunstall is blowing up. He went for 33 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks in the win over Paulsboro on Saturday. "This is a signature win for this group," coach Nick Powell said. No team plays harder than MT.
12. Camden Catholic (NR) 7-4
The Irish jump back in the rankings in a big way after that performance against Camden on Friday night. Since a disappointing loss to Kingsway, Camden Catholic has won three in a row, with double-digit wins over rivals Bishop Eustace and Camden. The return of senior guard Rob Brosh from injury has worked wonders for this team.
13. Camden (10) 9-3
The Panthers were lifeless in the first quarter against Camden Catholic and never recovered. That's the wrong kind of team to fall behind 13-0. Camden has a chance to get back in the Top 10 conversation with a big game at Eastern on Tuesday afternoon.
14. Schalick (14) 10-2
Senior center Rashaan Holloway went off with a career-high 41 in a 100-83 win over a strong Ewing team on Saturday. Schalick gets its chance to move higher as the Cougars host No. 4 Pitman on Tuesday night.
15. Wildwood Catholic (15) 9-4
It was a roller coaster week for the Crusaders as they handled Schalick at Paulsboro on Monday, then lost decisively to Haddonfield on Saturday at RV. Oh, and in between they had a home game against rival St. Joe postponed at halftime Thursday night because of a slick floor in their little gym. That game resumes Monday night.
16. Millville (16) 9-1
The Thunderbolts went through a quiet week, thanks to the weather and a quirk of the schedule.
17. Penns Grove (NR) 9-2
The Red Devils have won eight in a row with wins over Pitman, Williamstown and Delsea. This is a deep team a nice inside-outside combination in seniors Tristan Lloyd and Laqwin Stewart, both of whom are averaging better than 17 a game.
18. Pemberton (17) 10-1
The Hornets were supposed to play Delsea Saturday at RV. That could have been a good game. But Delsea administrators pulled the plug on the game, deciding that the Crusaders couldn't travel because of the snow.
19. Willingboro (18) 8-4
The Chimeras are 7-2 in their last nine and the losses were to RV and Medford Tech.
20. Doane Academy (20) 14-1
The Spartans host Burlington Twp. this week. They already have wins over Burlington County programs such as Riverside, NBC, Delran, Westampton Tech, Burlington City and Moorestown.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Bishop Eustace (8-5), Cherokee (7-3), Clearview (8-3), Delsea (8-4), Gloucester Catholic (8-5), Mainland (6-4), Woodstown (8-3).
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