Delsea gets a reality test at Jimmy V Showcase
Tom Freeman knew his team was in hot water.
He didn't realize how high the temperature would rise.
"I knew they were elite, but I didn't realize they were the No. 1 team in the state," Freeman, Delsea's coach, said of St. Benedict's Prep of Newark, his squad's opponent in the first Jimmy V Showcase event at Schalick on Saturday.
St. Benedict's is No. 1 in New Jersey in MaxPrep's rankings, which includes teams that don't play under the auspices of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The Gray Bees, who play a national-caliber schedule, flexed their muscles in a 100-45 victory over Delsea in the highlight of Saturday's five-game event to raise money for cancer research.
Despite the lopsided score, Freeman said the game was a positive experience for his team.
"I wanted to see two things," Freeman said. "One, how would we react to the environment? How would we play? Would we be scared?
"And two, how would we act and behave if the situation got out of hand as far as the score? I thought in both cases, our guys did even better than I had hoped."
Delsea (1-1), a Tri-County Conference Royal Division and South Jersey Group 3 contender, got 17 points from 6-foot-2 senior Cedric Elleby, who played well despite foul trouble.
"Cedric showed very well," Freeman said.
Freeman said the experience was beneficial for his team, which features three veterans from last year's 23-5 squad in Elleby, Joe Ingram, and Ryan Colone, but also will rely on youngsters such as sophomore Keith Braxton and talented freshman Kaleb Morton.
Freeman said he tried to load up the team's nonconference schedule this season, playing perennial powers such as Shawnee, Bishop Eustace, Lenape, Haddonfield, and Paulsboro.
The coach decided his team needed to face tougher nonconference foes after falling to Camden by a 52-49 score in the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals last season.
"Last year, we weren't ready for that environment," Freeman said of the Camden game, played before a near-capacity crowd in the Crusaders' gym. "This team might be more talented that last year's team. That doesn't mean we're going to be as good, but we have more talent.
"I want us to play tough games to develop that talent."
The Crusaders probably won't face a better team this season than St. Benedict's (8-0), which got 29 points from Syracause-bound lead guard Tyler Ennis.
"How many times can you say you played the No. 1 team in the state?" Freeman said. "That's a great experience for our kids."
1,000-point club. In Friday night's season-opener, Brandon Rembert became the fifth boys' player in Pennsauken Tech history to score 1,000 career points.
Rembert, a 5-10 senior guard, scored 22, with seven rebounds and six assists, in a 63-56 victory over Camden Academy Charter.
"If our gym holds 700 people, there were 701 here," Penn Tech coach Jim Norton said. "It was a great scene."
Norton said Rembert has worked hard to improve his game during his four seasons with the Tornados.
"When he was a freshman, he didn't have much of an outside shot, but now he has a great touch from the outside," Norton said. "You can have a player who is talented, and you can have a player who works hard. This kid is both."
Rembert has a chance to become Penn Tech's all-time leading scorer in boys' basketball. The mark of 1,433 points was set in 1988 by Reggie Riggs.
Fast start. The highest scoring South Jersey team with more than one game under its belt?
Would you believe West Deptford?
The Eagles are averaging 80.5 points after victories over Overbrook and GCIT. Leading the way is junior guard Justin Hansen, who scored 30 in a 70-68 victory over Overbrook and added 17 in a 91-43 victory over GCIT.
"We're playing 10 guys," West Deptford coach Don Clark said. "We have a lot of guys who are pretty similar, so we're going to try to get them all in there."
West Deptford faces a big week with games against No. 8 Haddonfield on Tuesday and Woodbury on Thursday.
"We'll find out a little more about who we are this week," Clark said.
Down the Shore. The Boardwalk Basketball Classic starts before Christmas this season for the first time in its 15-year history.
To accommodate a growing field - which this year will include national power St. Anthony of Jersey City, which will face Camden on Dec. 30 - the tournament will begin Saturday with a "Battle at the Boards" event at the Wildwoods Convention Center.
Included in Saturday's action will be a showcase game between Atlantic City, the defending Group 4 state champion and the No. 1 team in The Inquirer Top 10, against Philadelphia Catholic League power Archbishop Wood.
Saturday's action also will include the two Andrew Alameno Memorial Island Championship games between the boys' and girls' teams from Wildwood and Wildwood Catholic, the two host schools for the tournament.
Alameno was a Wildwood Catholic graduate who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City.