High School Basketball Teams Ready to Begin Practice

by Marc Narducci | Jan 5, 2021
High School Basketball Teams Ready to Begin Practice
Those who were waiting to see if winter sports would be played received the news they were looking for when Gov. Phil Murphy announced on December 30 that indoor sports in New Jersey could resume on January 2.
That meant that there will be a winter high school sports season, although it will be limited.  
As mentioned earlier, wrestling, a stable winter sport, won’t be played until the third season, beginning on March 1 with practice, March 16 for the first matches and concluding the season on April 24.  
Boys’ and girls’ basketball will be played in the winter and practice will begin on January 11 with the games starting on January 26. 
There will only be a 15-game season and no playoffs, although post-season play may be hosted locally by participating leagues and conferences at their discretion.  
That will be something that could be interesting. Remember, there was no postseason this past year in football, although any team in the state had the ability to play two extra games. The West Jersey Football League decided to put its top teams, according to Group size or level of play together in four-team pods. 
What occurred was there was an unofficial competition for the South Jersey champion. Four undefeated teams, Holy Spirit, Winslow Township, Cherokee and Lenape competed. Holy Spirit won the competition beating Winslow Township and Lenape and there was no dispute as to the No. 1 team in South Jersey. 
Now, major advantage the WJFL had was that every South Jersey team was part of the 96-team conference.  
It will be interesting if some of the big conferences in South Jersey like the Olympic, the Burlington County Scholastic League, the Tri-County and the Cape Atlantic will have league against league champions, or something like that. Similarly, the smaller-school conferences such the Colonial Conference and the smaller enrollment divisions in the Burlington County or Tri-County, would be interested in aligning. 
The format for the football pods wasn’t decided until late in the season and that would probably be the same for basketball. School officials will want to see if the teams can get through the regular season during this pandemic.  
Football also had the advantage of competing outdoors, but there were still plenty of postponements and cancellations.  
Either way, the basketball season will be much shorter. The competition will end March 6, making it a six-week season.  
The NJSIAA is also prohibiting out of state competitions. Teams can’t host out of state opponents and can’t travel out of state.  
Basketball is one sport where there is a lot of out of state competition, especially during holiday tournaments, but it won’t be a part of this condensed season. 

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So much will be different, but the teams passed the initial hurdle and will be gathering soon for their first practice on January 11.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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