A Look at the SJ Non-Public Girls & Boys Basketball Tournaments

by Marc Narducci | Feb 21, 2024
A Look at the SJ Non-Public Girls & Boys Basketball Tournaments
The NJSIAA girls’ and boys’ basketball Non-Public tournaments begin on Friday and as usual, the competition is steep. Here is a look at both the boys’ and girls’ tournaments:


Boys’ Basketball

SJ Non-Public-A

Defending champion: Union Catholic.

Outlook: Christian Brothers is the top seed and will be dangerous, but the team to watch is No. 2 seeded Union Catholic, which defeated St. Joseph Metuchen, 86-72 in last year’s sectional final. Union Catholic is a well-balanced offense with juniors AJ Altobelli and Luke Schorr each averaging about 12.5 points per game.

Another team to watch is No. 4 seeded St. Joseph Metuchen.

The teams from the seven-county South Jersey area will be longshots. They are No. 5 seeded Paul VI, No. 9 Camden Catholic and No. 10 St. Augustine.


SJ Non-Public B

Defending champion: St. Rose

Outlook: St. Rose, which beat Bishop Eustace, 59-43 in last year’s sectional final, is the No. 1 seed and will be difficult to dethrone. Last week the Purple Roses scored a convincing 76-38 win over Christian Brothers Academy in a Shore Conference semifinal. CBA is the top seeded team in Non-Public A. St. Rose then beat Manasquan, 48-27, in Sunday’s Shore Conference championship. 

The key player to watch is 6’8” St. Rose senior Matthew Hodge, a Villanova commit, who is averaging nearly 17 ppg. 

Gloucester Catholic at No. 2, is the highest seeded team from the seven-county South Jersey area. The other local teams are No. 3 Bishop Eustace, No. 5 Holy Cross Prep, No. 7 St. Joseph Hammonton, No. 8 Wildwood Catholic, No. 12 Doane Academy and No. 13 Moorestown Friends. Still, it would be a major upset if St. Rose doesn’t defend its sectional title.  


Girls’ Basketball

Last week we previewed the SJ public school tournament, now here is a look at the two Non-Public Groups. 

SJ Non-Public A

Defending champion: St. John Vianney

Outlook: Non-Public A is usually among the toughest Groups in the state and this year is no exception. For example, Paul VI, the top team in South Jersey and winners of the recent SJ Invitational Basketball Tournament, is only the No. 7 seed. The Eagles (20-4) enter the tournament on a 12-game winning streak. They can make noise in this year’s tournament, but coach Orlando Hidalgo’s team will definitely be an underdog. It’s a Paul VI team that is based on balance, with nine players having scored 100 or more points, led by junior Azanah Campbell (9.1 ppg.).

Top-seeded Red Bank Catholic was upset, 59-56 by Manasquan in a Shore Conference semifinal. Still, RBC will be tough to beat. And speaking of tough, nobody should discount the chances of state power St. John Vianney, the defending champ, which beat Paul VI, 63-61 in a classic sectional final last year. The Lancers are seeded just fourth, but just beat current No. 2 seed Trinity Hall, 57-53 in a Shore Conference Tournament semifinal and then defeated Manasquan, 32-27 on Sunday for their fifth consecutive Shore Conference title. This isn’t a vintage St. John Vianney team, but the Lancers know how to win in late February and March and will be very difficult to unseat. 

Besides Paul VI, the other teams from the seven-county South Jersey area are No. 6 Our Lady of Mercy and No. 13 Camden Catholic. 


SJ Non-Public B

Defending champion: Rutgers Prep

Outlook: Rutgers Prep (24-2) which beat Wildwood Catholic, 70-40 in last year’s sectional final as the No. 3 seed, is seeded first this year and will be a solid favorite. Last week, Rutgers Prep beat Gill St. Bernards, 58-55, in the Somerset County Tournament championship.

Wildwood Catholic is the No. 2 seed and could again find its way to the final. The Crusaders lost 61-52 to Mainland in last week’s Cape Atlantic League championship game. That competition will help Wildwood Catholic. Senior guard Kaci Mikulski (15.4 ppg.) leads a balanced Wildwood Catholic attack, which includes seven players who have scored 100 or more points. 

Besides Wildwood Catholic, the other high seed from the seven-county South Jersey area is No. 4 seed Gloucester Catholic (21-6), which is coming off a 53-46 win over Clearview in the Tri-County Tournament Flight A championship.

Courtesy of SJ Invitational Basketball Tournament

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Author: Marc Narducci


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