Schalick vs. Salem: Duel of rising teams Basketball Previews

Posted: February 11, 2003

If you're looking for pleasant surprises in boys' basketball, go no further than Salem County, where Schalick and Salem are among South Jersey's most improved teams.

A year after having gone 6-17, Schalick is 14-3 and stands on top of the Tri-County Classic Division with an 11-1 record. The Cougars hold a two-game lead over Wildwood, Gloucester and Salem.

As for Salem, it's 13-3 overall and 10-3 in the division after having gone 10-13 overall last season.

For Schalick, the job now is to close things out, which won't be easy. The Cougars still have meetings left with the three second-place teams, beginning today when they host Salem at 5:30 p.m.

Schalick has a nine-game win streak that began when it beat Salem, 64-53, on Jan. 14.

Since their loss to Schalick, the Salem Rams have won seven of eight. So both teams are hot, and each has done enough to earn the respect of other teams in the upcoming Group 1 tournament.

Here's a look at today's other top games:

Boys

Camden (9-4) at Shawnee (12-4), 7 p.m. It's rare when at least one of these teams isn't an overwhelming playoff favorite. But that's the case this season. Shawnee point guard Bill Kurtz likes to control tempo and hit three-pointers.

Rancocas Valley (14-4 overall, 7-2 Burlco Liberty) at Northern Burlington (8-8, 2-5), 6:30. Northern Burlco needed a win on Saturday's playoff cutoff date just to qualify for the playoffs in Group 2. Rancocas Valley beat Northern Burlco, 75-57, on Jan. 7.

Girls

Northern Burlington (12-4 overall, 5-3 Burlington Liberty) at Rancocas Valley (11-6, 5-3), 6:30. Northern Burlco has won four of its last five, with the only loss being to top-ranked Willingboro. The Red Devils are looking to halt a three-game slide.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225

or mnarducci@phillynews.com.

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