Delsea showing it can win despite adversity

Eastern's Matt Klinewski has the rebound against Lenape Thursday. Eastern's Vikings won the game, 56-52, and have moved into the No. 1 spot in the South Jersey Top 10 with a 13-0 mark.
Eastern's Matt Klinewski has the rebound against Lenape Thursday. Eastern's Vikings won the game, 56-52, and have moved into the No. 1 spot in the South Jersey Top 10 with a 13-0 mark. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 16, 2012

Tom Freeman wanted to see what his Delsea basketball team would do on the road in a tough gym against a quality opponent.

He didn't necessarily want to see what his team would do without its best player on the road in a tough gym against a quality opponent.

But that's what happened for long stretches of Saturday nonleague battle as Delsea's leading scorer and rebounder, junior forward Cedric Elleby, sat out more than half of the game with foul trouble.

"We faced some adversity with our best player on the bench," Freeman said of Delsea's 47-46 victory over Haddonfield, which entered the game with a 9-1 record. "To get through that is a good sign."

Elleby, who is averaging 18.8 points, scored a season-low eight points, although he made a crucial foul shot late in the game. Still, the Crusaders ran their record to 9-2, thanks to some strong work from senior center Tre Parker (13 points) and a boost from the bench.

Reserve Ryan Colone, a junior forward, came off the bench to score 11, all in the first half. Delsea also got a good game from reserve guard Brandon Williams and solid play from seniors Kyle McCulley and Bobby Lanzolotti.

"I looked at this game as a chance to see where we're at," said Freeman, whose team has won nine of 10, with the only loss by a 50-48 score to unbeaten Westampton Tech at the Boardwalk Classic in Wildwood. "I think we're a pretty good basketball team. I believe it and the kids are starting to believe it."

Delsea, which hasn't won a division title since 1997, looms as a strong contender in the Tri-County Royal. The Crusaders also could be a major factor in what promises to be a wide-open South Jersey Group 3 race.

Impact player. Shawnee senior guard Dan Mumford has made an immediate impact for the Renegades, scoring 49 points in his first two games.

The 6-foot Mumford, who enrolled at Shawnee in September after spending the first three years of his scholastic career in Florida, was declared eligible by the NJSIAA on Wednesday. He scored 26 points on Thursday night in an 84-72 victory against Cherry Hill West and added 23 on Saturday in a 64-49 victory over Cherry Hill East.

"The best thing about him is that he's made everybody else better," Shawnee coach Joe Kessler said of Mumford. "He's got people excited. He's been a breath of fresh air."

Kessler describes Mumford as a "scorer" with offensive skills that compare favorably with the best players in South Jersey.

MLK Classic. Delsea will face another test Monday night as the Crusaders face unbeaten host Paulsboro (8-0), the No. 9 team in The Inquirer Top 10, in the nightcap of the second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Classic. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Other games in the showcase will be Clayton vs. GCIT (11:45 a.m.), Burlington City vs. Highland (1:15 p.m.), Clearview vs. Gloucester (2:45 p.m.), Gloucester Catholic vs. Sterling (4:15 p.m.) and Schalick vs. Deptford (5:45 p.m.).

Top-10 talk. It was a shakeup week in the Top 10 as previous No. 1 Paul VI suffered its first loss on Saturday by a 52-45 score to Lenape and previous No. 3 St. Augustine also suffered its first loss by 52-50 to Middle Township.

Eastern (10-0) rose to the top spot as one of just five remaining unbeatens along with Holy Spirit (7-0), Paulsboro (8-0), Westampton Tech (10-0), and Florence (9-0).

Meanwhile, Bishop Eustace (10-1) stretched its winning streak to seven to jump into the No. 2 spot behind Eastern and ahead of new No. 3 Paul VI.

Paden out. Willingboro senior guard Ronny Paden has missed the last two games with a dislocated finger, according to coach Jeff Haddock.

Haddock said the 6-3 Paden, who is averaging 19.1 points, should return to action in the next week or two. The No. 4 Chimeras went 2-0 last week without Paden, beating Cinnaminson by 84-58 and Moorestown by 62-46.

"We're playing well on defense," Haddock said. "We're anticipating well and getting some easy baskets and that's bringing smiles to people's faces."

Senior guard Tyrell Maloney also has raised his game for Willingboro. He's averaged 26.5 points in the last four games.

St. Anthony vs. Bishop Eustace. Tickets for Bishop Eustace's Feb. 16 game vs. national power St. Anthony will go on sale from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Crusaders' field house.

There is a limit of four tickets per person.

Williams honored. Cape-Atlantic League man-about-sports Tom Williams, who will be inducted in the South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame in February, will be honored for 50 years as a sports writer, broadcaster and contributor to the athletic scene at a luncheon Jan. 28 at 12:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier.

Tickets are available at the door but also can be purchased by telephone at 609-383-8994, ext. 333. Proceeds will benefit a scholarship fund for high school students.

This and that. Cherry Hill West (4-8) has gotten a boost from sophomore Rodney Williams, who has averaged 22.2 points in the last four games. . . . Collingswood's Malik Clark, a transfer from Camden, scored 20 in his first start in a 58-50 victory over Audubon. . . . Northern Burlington (7-4) has won six of seven behind Alex Irvin and Fred Young.

Gloucester (6-4) has won three in a row as junior Stefano Okoro has averaged 23.3 and registered his 1,000th career point. . . . Woodrow Wilson (6-3) has lost to Lenape, Cherry Hill East and Bishop Eustace, which have a combined record of 29-5. . . . Timber Creek (3-6) should get a spark this week from the addition of Trenton Catholic transfer Dominique Reid, a 6-4 junior who sat out the season's first 30 days. . . . Florence (9-0) has not allowed more than 47 points in a game.

Looking ahead. Some of the top games this week include Cherry Hill East at Eastern on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.; Bishop Eustace at Paul VI on Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Shawnee at Lenape on Thursday at 6 p.m. and Woodrow Wilson at Camden on Saturday at 2 p.m.


Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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