South Jersey Non-Public Girls’ Basketball Preview

by Marc Narducci | Feb 24, 2023
South Jersey Non-Public Girls’ Basketball Preview
The South Jersey Non-Public A playoff in girls’ basketball is among the most anticipated in the state. That is because most expect a rematch of last year when St. John Vianney defeated Paul VI. Now those two teams are again expected to meet in the championship.

South Jersey Non-Public A is annually among the toughest sections in the state and this year is no exception. Here is a look at the two Non-Public playoff groups.

South Jersey Non-Public A

Defending champ: St. John Vianney

Expected contenders: To be blunt, it would be a surprise if No. 1 St. John Vianney and No. 2 Paul VI didn’t meet in the final. Last year St. John Vianney beat the Eagles, 69-50 in a championship game that was closer than the final score indicated.

St. John Vianney went on to win the final Tournament of Champions during a 32-1 season.

This year’s St. John Vianney team is 28-0 after beating Red Bank Catholic, 58-52 to win the Shore Conference Tournament championship. Senior guard Zoe Brooks is the leader, averaging 22.9 points. She is a North Carolina State commit and has been selected as a McDonald’s All-American.

SJ Non-Public A is so difficult that it has two McDonald’s All-Americans. The other is Paul VI guard Hannah Hidalgo. Paul VI is 19-2, with two losses to two New York powers. A Notre Dame commit, Hidalgo is averaging 29.6 points.

While these two are expected to play in the final, nobody could discount No. 4 seeded Red Bank Catholic (24-2). Besides losing to St. John Vianney in a close final, Red Bank Catholic’s other loss was to Long Island Lutheran, which also beat Paul VI.

Against St. John Vianney, the score was tied entering the fourth quarter, when the Lancers then outscored Red Bank Catholic, 17-11. Any team that can be that competitive with the top team in the state, has to be considered a contender.

 

South Jersey Non-Public B

Defending champion: Rutgers Prep.

Expected contenders: Nobody should discount No. 3 seeded Rutgers Prep, which last year not only won the section and state title but advanced to the Tournament of Champions final before losing to St. John Vianney.

This year Rutgers Prep is 21-4, with one of the losses a 72-67 loss to Paul VI. In that game Rutgers Prep led by two points entering the final period, when Paul VI earned a 23-17 advantage. So despite its seed, we’re calling Rutgers Prep the favorite.

Wildwood Catholic (22-5) is the top seed and St. Rose (20-6) is No. 2 and both can’t be discounted. Three of the Wildwood Catholic losses have come against Mainland, one of the top teams in South Jersey.

An anticipated semifinal between Rutgers Prep and St. Rose will have a championship feel if it materializes.

 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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