South Jersey boys' basketball tournament preview

Eastern's Matt Klinewski will be a key player for the Vikings. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Eastern's Matt Klinewski will be a key player for the Vikings. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Posted: March 04, 2014

Here's a look at the boys' basketball tournaments, which begin Tuesday:

South Jersey Group 4

Field: 1. Cherry Hill East, 2. Atlantic City, 3. Millville, 4. Rancocas Valley, 5. Eastern, 6. Cherokee, 7. Southern, 8. Clearview, 9. Cherry Hill West, 10. Kingsway, 11. Egg Harbor Township, 12. Williamstown, 13. Washington Township, 14. Lenape, 15. Vineland, 16. Absegami.

Defending champion: Atlantic City.

Dark horse: Cherokee. The Chiefs are a senior-laden squad that plays sturdy defense.

Best early game: Eastern at Rancocas Valley in the second round, if forms holds, could produce a serious contender for the sectional championship.

Another game to watch: Cherry Hill West at Cherry Hill East would be a lively second-round clash of cross-township rivals who split two games during the regular season.

Player to watch: Eastern senior center Matt Klinewski is the hardest-working man in South Jersey basketball.

Finals prediction: Eastern over Atlantic City.

South Jersey Group 3

Field: 1. Mainland, 2. Delsea, 3. Toms River South, 4. Moorestown, 5. Westampton Tech, 6. Hammonton, 7. Lacey, 8. Oakcrest, 9. Highland, 10. Cumberland, 11. Burlington Township, 12. Central, 13. Winslow, 14. Ocean City, 15. Seneca, 16. Woodrow Wilson.

Defending champion: Camden.

Dark horse: Westampton Tech. The Panthers have a potent scorer in junior swingman Lamar Morgan and are coming off a big win over Doane Academy.

Best early game: Moorestown at Westampton Tech would be a fast-paced battle in the second round.

Player to watch: Delsea junior swingman Keith Braxton is averaging 18.8 points.

Finals prediction: Mainland over Delsea.

South Jersey Group 2

Field: 1. Haddonfield, 2. Pemberton, 3. Medford Tech, 4. Camden, 5. West Deptford, 6. Woodstown, 7. Collingswood, 8. Middle Township, 9. Haddon Heights, 10. Cedar Creek, 11. Penn Tech, 12. Bridgeton, 13. Sterling, 14. Pleasantville, 15. Lower Cape May, 16. Deptford.

Defending champion: Medford Tech.

Dark horse: West Deptford. The Eagles can get on a serious roll from three-point range.

Best early game: Haddon Heights at Middle Township should be a competitive 8-9 clash.

Sensational semis: If form holds, Camden at Haddonfield and Medford Tech at Pemberton could make for a great double dip.

Player to watch: Camden senior Tavaris Headen played his best basketball in last season's Group 3 tournament.

Finals prediction: Haddonfield over Pemberton.

South Jersey Group 1

Field: 1. Schalick, 2. Penns Grove, 3. Pitman, 4. Paulsboro, 5. Haddon Township, 6. Burlington City, 7. Woodbury, 8. Clayton, 9. Audubon, 10. Gloucester, 11. Lindenwold, 12. Wildwood, 13. Maple Shade, 14. Gateway, 15. Palmyra, 16. Riverside.

Defending champion: Paulsboro.

Dark horse: Burlington City. The Blue Devils have been a work in progress for much of the season but they have the talent to surprise.

Best early game: Woodbury at Penns Grove in the second round could be a 160-point game.

Semifinal to see: It will be a major upset if Paulsboro doesn't visit Schalick in the third round. The Red Raiders will not relinquish their title without a fight.

Player to watch: Schalick senior center Rashaan Holloway is a major force in the paint at both ends of the floor.

Finals prediction: Schalick over Pitman.

Non-Public South A

Field: 1. St. Joseph Metuchen, 2. St. Augustine, 3. Paul VI, 4. Red Bank Catholic, 5. Bishop Eustace, 6. Christian Brothers, 7. Camden Catholic, 8. Notre Dame, 9. Gloucester Catholic, 10. Monsignor Donovan, 11. Bishop Ahr, 12. Holy Cross, 13. Pingry, 14. Immaculata.

Defending champion: St. Joseph Metuchen.

Dark horse: Camden Catholic. The Irish have won eight in a row, and junior forward Brendan Crawford has taken his game to another level.

Best early game: Camden Catholic at St. Augustine, which has a first-round bye, could be a whale of a second-round clash between traditional powers.

Senior moments: Paul VI has seven seniors, including three-year starters Matt Risse and Jay Howard, whose sophomore and junior seasons ended with losses to St. Joseph Metuchen in the South A title game.

Player to watch: Bishop Eustace senior guard Flo DaSilva has a knack for playing his best in the biggest games.

Finals prediction: St. Joseph Metuchen over Paul VI.

Non-Public South B

Field: 1. Trenton Catholic, 2. Patrick School, 3. Holy Spirit, 4. Roselle Catholic, 5. Doane Academy, 6. Gill St. Bernard's, 7. Marist, 8. Wildwood Catholic, 9. St. Mary, Elizabeth, 10. Timothy Christian, 11. St. Rose, 12. St. Joseph Hammonton, 13. Rutgers Prep, 14. Mater Dei, 15. Christ the King, 16. Ranney.

Defending champion: Roselle Catholic.

Dark horse: Wildwood Catholic. The Crusaders are coming off three emotional wins in the Cape-Atlantic tournament and feature a dynamic duo in seniors Eddie McWade and Jordan Robertson.

Best early game: St. Joseph Hammonton at Doane Academy could be a fascinating first-round battle.

Second-round game to watch: Wildwood Catholic at Trenton Catholic, if form holds. The Crusaders wouldn't be looking for a moral victory.

Player to watch: Trenton Catholic junior Malachi Richardson is a Syracuse recruit and one of the state's best all-around players.

Finals prediction: Trenton Catholic over the Patrick School.


panastasia@phillynews.com

@PhilAnastasia

www.inquirer.com/jerseysidesports

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