Atlantic City is 16-2 in 2020, with both losses to rival St. Augustine Prep.
Haddon Heights is 17-3 in the new year, with all three losses by a total of eight points.
The Vikings and the Garnets jump into the Inquirer’s South Jersey Top 10, thanks to strong weeks marked by sturdy defensive play and balanced offense.
Meanwhile, top-ranked Camden is looking more and more like Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont, widening the gap on the rest of the teams in the rankings with each passing week.
Here’s the new Top 10, with last week’s rankings in parentheses:
1. Camden (1) 23-1: Freshman D.J. Wagner scored a career-high 32 points with five three-pointers as the Panthers shook off an early 8-0 deficit and rolled past Paul VI 76-52. The result was another sign of the gap between Camden and the rest of South Jersey. Camden, which has won 19 in a row, visits No. 5 Timber Creek Monday, then plays Shawnee later this week before entering the South Jersey Group 2 tournament next week in hot pursuit of the program’s elusive 12th state title.
2. Paul VI (4) 18-6: The Eagles bounced back from that loss to Camden in a big way, beating Cherokee and then stunning then-No. 2 Moorestown by a 60-35 score on Saturday. Junior Jalen Boyd-Savage led the way in the victory over the Quakers with 25 points. Junior Wisler Sanon scored 14 in the victory over Cherokee. Paul VI, which has won eight of nine with the lone loss to Camden, has tough games with Cherry Hill East and Timber Creek this week in advance of entering the Non-Public South A playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
3. Wildwood Catholic (3) 17-7: Despite some setbacks, the Crusaders enter the stretch run with all their goals in front of them, starting with their pursuit this week of their third straight Cape-Atlantic League title. The top seed, Widlwood Catholic opens vs. No. 8 Ocean City on Monday, then likely will meet the Atlantic City-St. Joseph’s winner in the semifinals. It’s the beginning of the end of the illustrious careers of seniors Taj Thweatt and Jahlil White.
4. Moorestown (2) 23-2: The Quakers had won 20 in a row before hitting the wall in the second half Saturday against an energized and athletic opponent at Paul VI. Earlier in the week, Moorestown beat then-No. 6 Burlington City behind 18 points from junior Logan Jagodzinski and handled Rancocas Valley behind 20 points from senior Kevin Muhic. Moorestown has a game vs. Pennsauken Tech this week in advance of opening defense of its 2019 state title as the No. 1 seed in the South Jersey Group 3 tournament.
5. Timber Creek (5) 19-2: The Chargers have played just one game since Feb. 11, beating Shawnee by a 57-50 score to sew up the Olympic Conference Patriot Division crown. Timber Creek, which has won 11 of 12, will be rested and fully revved as the Chargers get their shot at the title Monday afternoon in hosting Camden before what promises to be a packed house.
6. St. Augustine (7) 19-4: The Hermits have quietly put together another strong season and begin pursuit of the program’s fourth CAL title as the No. 2 seed. St. Augustine will host No. 7 Pleasantville in Monday’s league-tournament opener and try not to look ahead to a possible rematch with Wildwood Catholic in Saturday’s title game at Stockton. St. Augustine also will be the No. 4 seed in Non-Public South A.
7. Haddonfield (8) 21-3: The Bulldogs clinched another Colonial Liberty crown with a victory over West Deptford 50-42 as sophomore guard Tommy Mooney collected 15 points with six rebounds. In another defensive battle, senior Andrew Gostovich went for 17 points with six rebounds in a 43-40 win over Sterling. Haddonfield has games this week vs. Westampton Tech and Burlington Township before entering the South Jersey Group 2 tournament as the No. 2 seed.
8. Camden Catholic (9) 16-7: The Irish responded to a three-game skid with a three-game winning streak. Senior Aric Hall scored 14 as Camden Catholic set a season-high for points in a 72-40 win over Medford Tech. Earlier in the week, junior Collin Merriman scored 18 in a victory over Woodrow Wilson. Camden Catholic has games with Cherokee and Seneca this week before entering the Non-Public South A playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
9. Atlantic City (NR) 17-5: The Vikings’ defense was in fine form last week in a 52-28 victory over rival Holy Spirit and a 68-29 win over Atlantic Tech. As the No. 4 seed in the CAL tournament, Atlantic City hosts No. 5 St. Joseph Monday in a rematch of the season opener won 61-44 by the Vikings. The winner almost certainly will get its shot at top-seeded Wildwood Catholic in the semifinals.
10. Haddon Heights (NR) 20-4: The Garnets extended their winning streak to six last week with victories over Bordentown and Audubon. Seniors TeSean Pressley and Patrick Campbell led the way as each scored in double figures in both games. Haddon Heights has non-leagues games with Williamstown and Willingboro this week in advance of entering the South Jersey Group 2 tournament as the No. 3 seed.