Those teams won state titles last season behind two of the more accomplished senior classes in the recent history of each of their respective programs.
But the Quakers and Bulldogs have spent the first third of the new season reminding everybody that their tradition of playing smart, winning basketball doesn’t graduate.
Moorestown, which in 2019 won its first state title in 60 years, has jumped into the Top 10 for the first time this season thanks to a three-game winning streak, including a victory over non-public state power Trenton Catholic.
Haddonfield, which in 2019 won its second straight state title, also landed in the Top 10 for the first time this season, courtesy of a six-game winning streak that includes dramatic victories over Colonial Conference rivals Haddon Heights and West Deptford.
Meanwhile, No. 1 Camden continued its imposing start, No. 2 Wildwood Catholic has gathered some momentum since the new year and No. 3 Paul VI has set the stage for the first of two meetings with the top-ranked Panthers.
Here’s the new South Jersey basketball Top 10, with last week’s ranking in parentheses:
1. Camden (1) 7-1: The most impressive thing about the 65-25 victory Saturday over archrival Camden Catholic was that the Panthers held the Irish to single digits in every quarter. That’s sustained defensive diligence. In another show of the team’s depth and balance, junior TaQuan Woodley grabbed nine rebounds and freshman guard Sebastian Robinson generated five points, five rebounds and four assists.
2. Wildwood Catholic (2) 7-2: West Virginia recruit Taj Thweatt had 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Crusaders won their fourth in a row, handling Christian Brothers Academy on Saturday night at a showcase event at Brookdale Community College. In three wins earlier in the week over Cape-Atlantic League foes, Wildwood Catholic had a combined margin of victory of 105 points. Temple recruit Jahlil White scored 23 in a triumph over Cape May Tech.
3. Paul VI (3) 5-1: Down a point to rival Bishop Eustace, the Eagles rallied for a 47-42 win behind junior Jalen Boyd-Savage, who finished with 13, including a trio of three-pointers. Paul VI has won four in a row in advance of a visit to Camden on Thursday afternoon.
4. St. Augustine (6) 6-2: Junior forward Matt Delaney continued his productive play with 19 points in a win over Bridgeton and 14 in a victory over Vineland. The Hermits are 3-0 vs. South Jersey teams.
5. Camden Catholic (4) 7-2: Junior Zach Hicks scored 23 in an impressive win over Washington Township. The Irish led that game 28-7 at halftime. Camden Catholic will look to bounce back from the lopsided loss to Camden in an Olympic Conference crossover clash with No. 8 Timber Creek on Tuesday.
6. Lenape (5) 5-2: The Indians held division rival Cherry Hill East to 15 points in the final three quarters of a key Olympic American victory. Sophomore Tayvon Gaither scored 11 in that game and 17 in a victory over Washington Township. The Indians visit Bishop Eustace on Tuesday and host school-district rival Cherokee on Thursday.
7. Burlington City (10) 8-0: Senior guard D.J. Woodbury, a Temple recruit for football, has led the way for the Blue Devils, one of two remaining unbeaten teams in South Jersey along with Overbrook. Woodbury scored 26 in a victory over previously unbeaten Holy Cross Academy on Monday, then collected 18 points in a win over STEM Civics and collected 23 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists in a triumph over Doane Academy.
8. Timber Creek (8): In a busy week, the Chargers beat Bishop Eustace and archrival Winslow Township — generating 91 points vs. the Eagles — and lost to dangerous Cherry Hill West. Timber Creek has a key stretch ahead, with a visit to smarting Camden Catholic on Tuesday and a home game with Cherry Hill East on Thursday.
9. Moorestown (NR) 6-1: Junior Logan Jagodzinski scored 24 and senior Hayden Greer added 16, including a trio of three-pointers, in the Quakers’ big win over Trenton Catholic. Moorestown has won three in a row since a one-point loss to Westampton Tech.
10. Haddonfield (NR) 7-1: Senior Ben Cerrato generated 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 steals in an overtime victory over West Deptford. Cerrato also went for 14 points and nine rebounds in a remarkable comeback win over Haddon Heights as the Bulldogs rallied from 12 down in the final two minutes. Haddonfield is home vs. dangerous Sterling on Tuesday.