By TOM WILLIAMS
It is championship week, the week when South Jersey basketball finals are traditionally played, followed by state semi-finals and state championship games.
But the NJSIAA did not schedule post-season basketball tournaments during this frustrating 2021 season. And the Cape-Atlantic League cancelled its tournament. But the Tri-County Conference put one together that brought its season to an exciting finish.
It makes you wonder about the outcome if South Jersey champions were determined.. So, lets take a shot at what would probably happen this week if the NJSIAA crowned South Jersey champions.
The starting point is the Power Points. But there is a problem – nobody played the 16 games that are traditionally used to determine qualification and seeding. So, lets do the logical thing – divide the final Power Point total for each team by the number of games played to determine a Power Point average.
With that in mind, here are the qualifiers for 2021, including first round match-ups for CAL teams. A total of 13 boys teams and 15 girls teams from the CAL qualified. These tournaments assume that all teams are eligible to play with no current quarantines.
In Group One, there are no qualifiers from the CAL. Wildwood is the top seed among boys and Haddon Township among girls.
In Group Two Boys, Camden is the top seed and hosted Middle Township in the first round. Other opening games found Point Pleasant Boro at Lower Cape May and Cedar Creek at Pemberton. Haddonfield is the top seed in Group Two Girls and hosted Lower Cape May in the opener. Also, Barnegat was at Middle Township, Oakcrest at West Deptford and Cedar Creek at Delran.
In Group Three Boys, Timber Creek is the top seed. First round games found Absegami at Delsea and Pennsauken at Ocean City. The top seed in Girls Group Three is also Timber Creek. First round games included Toms River South at Absegami, Pennsauken at Mainland and Ocean City at Central.
In Group Four Boys, Cherokee is the top seed and opened against Bridgeton. Other openers were Eastern at Egg Harbor Township, Vineland at Lenape, Atlantic City at Toms River North and Hammonton at Cherry Hill East. In Group Four Girls, Cherokee is also the top seed and opened against Hammonton. Other openers found Egg Harbor Township at Shawnee, Millville at Jackson Memorial and Toms River North at Vineland.
In Non-Public A Boys, Camden Catholic is the top seed and St. Augustine got a first round bye and opened against Paul VI, which had defeated Notre Dame. In Non-Public A Girls, St. John Vianney is the top seed but there are no CAL teams.
In Non-Public B Boys, Ranney is the top seed, got a first round bye and played Holy Spirit, a winner over Doane Academy in the first round. Also, Wildwood Catholic opened at Rutgers Prep and St. Joseph (with no home court) traveled to Calvary Christian. In Non-Public A Girls, Trenton Catholic is the top seed and hosted St. Joseph in the first round. Other games find Wardlaw-Hartridge at Our Lady of Mercy, Trinity Hall at Wildwood Catholic and Mater Dei at Holy Spirit.
OK, all of that would have happened last week. Now, lets take a look at the semifinals and who would win each of these groups. We won’t have video streams from Matt Ulmer, Bill Shallcross or Jim Quinn; Mike Gill, Brian Cunniff and Tony Blum won’t provide play-by-play; Mike Frankel and Dean Michalski won’t have video highlights; and Joe Fussner’s stats and brackets updated nightly will not be available.
But here is the way it turns out.
In Group One, the boys semifinals were Haddon Township-Wildwood and Gloucester City-Overbrook. And the girls semis were Wildwood-Haddon Township and Woodstown-Glassboro. The Group One championship doubleheader – at the Wildwoods Convention Center – has the Wildwood boys and Haddon Township girls winning South Jersey titles.
In Group Two, the boys semifinals were Manchester Township-Camden and Haddonfield-Sterling. And the girls match Middle Township-Haddonfield and Manchester Township-Cinnaminson. In the championship games at Deptford, the Camden boys and Manchester Township girls win it all.
The Group Three boys semifinals were Moorestown-Timber Creek and Ocean City-Deptford. For the girls it was Toms River East-Timber Creek and Ocean City-Mainland. The South Jersey championships are won, at Williamstown, by the Ocean City boys and Mainland girls.
In Group Four, the boys semis were Toms River North-Cherokee and Lenape-Egg Harbor Township. In Group Four girls it was Shawnee-Cherokee and Rancocas Valley-Eastern. Winning the titles in the Atlantic City gymnasium are the Lenape boys and Cherokee girls.
The Non-Public finals are played at Lakewood High School. This is, after all, a fantasy and visiting that unique facility at Lakewood was always a highlight of the state tournament.
In Non-Public A Boys, the semis were St. Joseph(Metuchen)-Camden Catholic and Christian Brothers-St. Augustine. The girls paired Red Bank Catholic-St. John Vianney and Paul VI-Donovan Catholic. The A championships are won by St. Augustine and St. John Vianney.
In Non-Public B, the boys semis were Trenton Catholic-Ranney and Gloucester Catholic-St. Joseph. Girls semifinals were Gloucester Catholic-Trenton Catholic and Wildwood Catholic-Rutgers Prep. The B champions are Ranney and Trenton Catholic.
That’s the way it would look from one viewpoint in the 2021 South Jersey Basketball Tournaments. Do you agree? Different outcomes can be expressed, below, with a comment.
Of course, we’ll never know who was right and who would really win. Strange results tend to happen in tournaments.
But it is fun to think about it. And, unfortunately, that is all we have this season.