Archive: March, 2012
Here’s how next season’s Top 10 in South Jersey boys’ basketball could look, with this season’s record:
1. Atlantic City 26-5 (heading into Friday's T of C semis)
The Group 4 state champion Vikings return five players from their nine-man rotation, including 6-8 junior center Jahleem Montague as well as 6-4 junior forward Ga-briel Chandler and 6-2 junior swingman Dayshawn Reynolds. Dennis White, a 6-5 sophomore, could be in impact player. The key could be the development of 6-2 sophomore guard Isaiah Graves, a fearless slasher and scorer who likely will need to become more of a floor general.
The Inquirer's final South Jersey Top 10 won't appear in the newspaper until Sunday's season-ending package -- which will also include Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and the All-South Jersey teams.
But why wait? Atlantic City earned the No. 1 spot in the final ranking by becoming the only South Jersey team to win a state title. The Vikings are 25-5 after a 5-4 start and play Willingboro-slayer Ewing in the T of C Wednesday night at TR North.
Willingboro drops from No. 1 to No. 2 and Paulsboro drops from No. 2 to No. 3, both to make room for AC. There wasn't much to separate the Chimeras and the Red Raiders -- both were unbeaten against SJ teams.
Dave Ricci, one of the good guys and hardest workers in South Jersey basketball, said Sunday that he has been dismissed as Audubon's head coach.
Ricci has been Audubon's coach for the last six seasons. He also was the Green Wave's coach from 2000-03 before taking off from coaching to pursue his master's degree.
The man who transformed Atlantic City basketball is a soft-spoken former recreation-league coach who couldn’t decide if he wanted to teach geometry or attend law school.
Gene Allen chose to teach mathematics to special-education students because he figured he could make a bigger impact in the classroom than with a law firm. He never planned on altering the history of one of South Jersey’s most visible programs.
But that’s what happened. Once a program known for great players, supportive fans and post-season frustration, Atlantic City has become the quintessential tournament team – tough-minded, patient, balanced, resourceful in pressure situations.
It's not just that national power St. Anthony of Jersey City always is waiting in the Tournament of Champions.
There are other reasons basketball teams (and baseball teams) never finish undefeated seasons.
Paulsboro coach Sean Collins said 30-0 was a "monster" on the Red Raiders' backs.
Willingboro, the No. 1 team in The Inquirer South Jersey Top 10, will get leading scorer Tyrell Maloney back for Saturday's South Jersey Group 2 semifinal against Middle Township, according to coach Jeff Haddock.
Haddock told The Inquirer's Chris Melchiorre after Thursday night's 99-65 victory over Bridgeton that Maloney would be "ready to go" in the sectional semifinals.