PBA Tipoff Highlights the Opening...

PBA Tipoff Highlights the Opening... PBA Tipoff Highlights the Opening South Jersey Basketball Weekend

The South Jersey boys' and girls' high school basketball season kicks off on Friday and one of the early-season staples is the Ocean City PBA Tipoff Weekend.

Now in its 19th season, this is a two-day showcase of some of the top boys and girls' basketball teams in South Jersey.

There will be five games each on Saturday and on Sunday at Ocean City High.

This event has been staged at Ocean City since 2005. Before that, it had been held at several venues, Egg Harbor Township H.S., Holy Spirit and the Ventnor Education Complex.

One of the prime attractions is the boy' matchup between St. Augustine and Central Jersey power Ewing. St. Augustine was the consensus South Jersey No. 1 team last year and 'only' lost one starter. Of course that one person was point guard Sa'eed Nelson, who was the consensus South Jersey Player of the Year. To show what a big loss it was, Nelson has gotten off to a scorching start at American University. In his first nine games he was leading the team in scoring (16.7 ppg.), minutes (37.2 per game) and assists (2.8 per game).

So even with four returning starters, St. Augustine must replace Nelson, which won't be easy. Leading the way will be senior forward Justyn Mutts, who toward the end of the season was playing as well as just about any frontcourt player in South Jersey.

So the Hermits, coached by the venerable Paul Rodio, are ready to defend their turf as South Jersey's top team.

Also playing in the Atlantic City, which is ranked No. 3 in South Jersey by The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Vikings are a perennial contenders for the top spot and this year is no different. Atlantic City is the defending South Jersey Group 4 champion and in junior swingman Ray Bethea Jr., has one of the top players in South Jersey.

The Vikings will close out the two-day event by facing Ocean City in Sunday's 7 p.m. matchup. Here are the weekend pairings, a great way to kick off the opening basketball weekend in South Jersey.

19th Annual Ocean City PBA Tipoff Weekend

Saturday, December 17
Noon ------ Wildwood Catholic girls vs Atlantic Christian
1:45pm --- Mainland girls vs Southern Regional
3:30pm --- Pleasantville boys vs Pemberton
5:15pm --- Wildwood Catholic boys vs Burlington City
7:00pm --- St. Augustine boys vs Ewing

Sunday, December 18
Noon ------ Holy Spirit girls vs St. Joseph
1:45pm --- Holy Spirit boys vs St. Joseph
3:30pm --- Middle Township girls vs Millville
5:15pm --- Ocean City girls vs Atlantic City
7:00pm --- Ocean City boys vs Atlantic City

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Author: Marc Narducci

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