South Jersey Non-Public A Boys’ Basketball Preview: Several Contenders Led by Top Seeded Paul VI

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Mar 6, 2020
South Jersey Non-Public A Boys’ Basketball Preview: Several Contenders Led by Top Seeded Paul VI
The South Jersey Non-Public A boys’ basketball tournament has no shortage of contenders. Three from the seven-county South Jersey area and also the Olympic Conference National Division, should all be competitive in what looks like a balanced, but always difficult field. Here is a preview:
 
South Jersey Non-Public A
Quarterfinals: March 6.
Semifinals: March 9
Final: March 11
State Final: March 14
 
Defending champion: Camden Catholic beat Paul VI, 40-34.
 
What stands out: How many contenders there are! One can make an argument that up to six teams have a shot at winning. Just like last year, don’t expect to have too many high scoring games, especially by the championship game.
 
Outlook: After getting to the sectional final last year, Paul VI is the favorite, but as mentioned above, the Eagles will have to face many contenders. Paul VI is one of three Olympic Conference National Division teams in the field, joining Camden Catholic and Bishop Eustace. All three had to play difficult schedules, including two games each against the state’s top team Camden. Not surprising those three teams went 0-6 against Camden, but playing the Panthers is a great way to prepare for the tournament
 
Paul VI also beat Bishop Eustace twice and split with Camden Catholic. The Eagles also had a 47-45 win over a Wildwood Catholic team that lost to Camden in overtime and scored a 70-39 win over St. Augustine in the Cape Atlantic League final.
 
Wisler Sannon, a 6-3 junior, averages a team-high 13 points for Paul VI, which has a very balanced offense. Sophomore point guard Jaden Arline averages nearly 11 points per game and runs the offense well.
 
The Eagles aren’t an overly high scoring team, but play good defense, a necessity in Non-Public A.
 
Camden Catholic is the No. 2 seed, so it is possible the defending champions could meet Paul VI in the final.
 
Irish 6-7 junior Zach Hicks is among the top players in South Jersey. He is averaging nearly 20 points per game. Hicks, who had 24 points in Camden Catholic’s second loss to Camden, must score near his average for the Irish to be competitive.
 
The Irish split with both Bishop Eustace and Paul VI.
 
Eustace is the No. 5 seed and will meet No. 4 seeded St. Augustine in the quarterfinal on Friday. Like Eustace and all virtually all the other teams in the tournament, St. Augustine has played a tough schedule that will have the young Hermits ready for the tournament.

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Don’t count out No. 3 St. Joseph Metuchen, another team with scoring balance that shuts teams down defensively.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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