Lots of stories at Ocean City PBA Tipoff Weekend

There will be lots of stories at the Ocean City PBA Tipoff Weekend on Saturday and Sunday in the Dixie Howell Gymnasium at Ocean City High School.

The event returns for its 23rd year after last December’s showcase was cancelled. It will be the 16th Tipoff sponsored by the Ocean City PBA in the OCHS gym.

The biggest story is that everybody – except the 13 people on the basketball court – must wear a mask. This is in keeping with the Executive Order from Trenton, the Ocean City High School procedures and the best way to keep everybody as safe as possible.

The goal is to make this a successful return to high school basketball after last winter’s near wipeout and not a season filled with cancellations and postponements because not enough precautions were followed.

As it turns out, this year’s Tipoff Weekend is more of a crossover event than in previous years – it just worked out that all 20 teams playing are from the Cape-Atlantic League.

On Saturday, the big story will be the return of Paul Rodio after a health scare during the summer. The winningest coach in South Jersey history (967 coming into Saturday) he will return to the bench for a 7 p.m. game against Lower Cape May, coached by veteran Scott Holden. Both teams are expecting good seasons from young and talented players.

Right before that game, Paul M. Rodio will start his 8th season at St. Joseph Academy with probably the tallest team in the CAL. And his opponent will be the veteran Gene Allen, whose Atlantic City Vikings are young but talented.

The action on Saturday starts at noon with Wildwood Catholic’s girls – coached by Steve DiPatri, who has won more girls basketball games in the CAL than any other coach – taking on Cedar Creek. That will be followed by the Vineland boys against Cape May Tech at 1:45 and the Vineland girls against Absegami, in a battle of two of the CAL’s best girls teams, at 3:30.

Another great girls game begins on Sunday at noon when Atlantic City, which won the last CAL Tournament in 2019, takes on Our Lady of Mercy. That contest will be followed by two boys games – Pleasantville vs. Hammonton at 1:45 and a tough match-up between Egg Harbor Township and Wildwood Catholic at 3:30. Anthony Raffa, former star at Wildwood Catholic, makes his coaching debut at his alma mater this weekend.

The final two games on Sunday are dedicated to the memory of Jack Boyd, a South Jersey Basketball Hall of Famer who coached Ocean City and whose sons played for Mainland. It will be a doubleheader between the Raiders and the Mustangs – girls at 5:15, boys at 7. Mike Cappelletti is taking over the OCHS girls this season after the retirement of Paul Baruffi.

Throughout the two days, high school basketball fans will get an early idea about which teams can be expected to be challengers in their CAL conferences and NJSIAA groups.

Boys including Carlos Lopez, Elijah Brown, Dylan Delvecchio, Archie Lawler, D.J. Germann, Yamere Diggs and John Andoloro will be in action.

And top girls, like Kaitlyn Boggs, Egypt Owens, Sanai Garrison-Macon, Carly Murphy, Marin Panico, Samantha Jones, Cea’anai Jackson-Williams, Jackie Fortis, Angelina Dragone, Camryn Dirkes and Quanirah Cherry-Montague will be in action.

There will be lots more players who will show this weekend that they will belong on the prominent list of CAL players. It is the start of a new season – hopefully a full season with minimal interruptions – and it tips off with 10 interesting games and lots of stories.

Come to Ocean City High School Saturday and Sunday to get a feel for what the 2021-22 basketball season with hold.

And bring your mask.

THE SCHEDULE:

Saturday, December 18
Noon —— Cedar Creek girls vs Wildwood Catholic
1:45pm — Cape May Tech boys vs Vineland
3:30pm — Vineland girls vs Absegami
5:15pm — Atlantic City boys vs St. Joseph
7:00pm — St. Augustine vs Lower Cape May
Sunday, December 19
Noon —— Atlantic City girls vs Our Lady of Mercy
1:45pm — Pleasantville boys vs Hammonton
3:30pm —-Wildwood Catholic boys vs Egg Harbor Twp.
(The Jack Boyd Memorial Doubleheader)
5:15pm — Ocean City girls vs Mainland
7:00pm — Ocean City boys vs Mainland

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