By TOM WILLIAMS
Ocean City and Mainland were scheduled to open the 2021 Cape-Atlantic League basketball season on Jan. 26, the first day the NJSIAA permits teams to play. But there was some concern about whether Mainland could play that early because of limitations caused by COVID-19 exposure.
But it seems like they can. And those games will go on – boys in Linwood, girls in the Dixie Howell Gym.
The Cape-Atlantic League has decided to finalize its three-conference basketball alignment with no season-ending tournament, so the focus changes to the 15-game schedule each team is allowed.
Actually, each team has been assigned 12 games in its conference and two “crossover” games against teams in other conferences. That makes a 14-game schedule and the NJSIAA permits 15 games, so each school can schedule one more game. Practice can begin on Monday (Jan. 11).
However, some teams will not have access to their gymnasiums on Monday because their schools are operating virtually. That could affect more than 50 percent of the CAL public schools, plus possibly St. Joseph Academy, So there may be some games, especially in the first week (Jan. 26-30), that will either be re-scheduled or cancelled.
The Ocean City High School teams are grouped in the newly-formed East Conference with Atlantic City, Cape May Tech, Lower Cape May, Mainland, Middle Township and Wildwood Catholic. The Raiders will play each of those teams twice.
In addition, in the crossover games, the boys have been scheduled to host Holy Spirit and visit Pleasantville and the girls to host Atlantic Tech and travel to Oakcrest. Besides having no CAL Tournament, there will be no NJSIAA Tournament at the end of the basketball season.
According to current regulations, no fans will be permitted to attend these games and efforts are being made to broadcast and video stream as many as possible so those who would normally attend the games can watch them or listen to them live.
The OCHS boys and girls schedules are HERE.
Because of the increasing number of cases in New Jersey, changes could be made in the regulations that control indoor high school sports. But, as of now, swim season is scheduled to begin in mid-February, wrestling in mid-March and the spring sports season, which was wiped out in 2020, will begin in mid-April.