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Basketball: New Top 20

By Phil Anastasia

Here's the first live Top 20 of the South Jersey high school basketball season:

(Preseason ranking in parentheses):

1. Paul VI (1) 2-0

Senior swingman DeVahnte Mosley collected 16 points, 9 boards and 4 dimes in a 77-57 win over Archbishop Wood Saturday night at Schalick. Even without star Jay Howard (out indefinitely with an ankle sprain), the Eagles beat a decent Philadelphia Catholic League team by 20. PVI runs the floor better than any team in SJ and probably by a wide margin.

2. Atlantic City (2) 1-0

The Vikings played their typical tough defense in a 44-41 win over No. 12 Wildwood Catholic on Saturday night in Ocean City. AC with a big game Saturday night vs. 5-0 Chester, the No. 3 team in The Inquirer Southeastern Pa. rankings, at the Jameer and Pete Nelson Classic at Widener.

3. Pitman (3) 1-0

Senior guard Darnell Foreman went for 20 in a big opening-night win over Salem. Pitman plays Gloucester Catholic Monday at 1:30 in a game that will be a reunion of sorts as Pitman junior Tim Delaney and GC juniors Fran Kinsey and Matt Green played together for St. Margaret's Grammar School in Woodbury Heights.

4. Holy Spirit (4) 2-0

Sophomore Leon Daniels scored 12 in both games for the Spartans. Senior swingman Junior Saintel could be on the brink of a big season for HS.

5. Haddonfield (5) 2-0

Three starters -- Ted Stavestki, Jake Robinson and Tyler Klaus -- were members of the football team that won the SJ 2 title on Dec. 7. So was injured big man Abby Bah(hand). Coach Paul Wiedeman says this is the most athletic team in his 15 seasons. The Bulldogs should be much better in January and February, when the football guys round into basketball shape -- and they are pretty good right now.

6. Bishop Eustace (6) 1-0

Senior Flo DaSilva went for 17 on opening night. That 17-2 first quarter against Lenape showed this team's potential. But Lenape battled back and made it a game, falling 37-36 on Friday night. Another team that's going to get better as the season goes along (that's going to be a pattern, thanks to the late start of the season).

7. Camden Catholic (7) 1-0

The Irish tightened up the defense late in the game and escaped with a 44-42 win over CH West on Friday night. Still another team that should get better, especially when 6-9 junior Demola Onifade is cleared to play. The Nigerian citizen has been nursing a shoulder injury. He is expected to return in the next couple of weeks.

8. Paulsboro (9) 1-0

Juniors Theo Holloway and Saleem Little were dominant forces in a 72-49 win over Gloucester Catholic on Saturday at Schalick. They both went for 19 points and combined for 22 rebounds. Even without Xavier Lundy and Julien Davenport, Paulsboro looks a lot like Paulsboro.

9. Camden (10) 2-0

The Panthers' starting five all went 36 minutes in that remarkable 72-69 overtime win over Medford Tech on Saturday at Schalick. Coach John Valore's team rallied from a 22-point deficit early in the second half when they stopped shooting threes and took the basketball to the rim -- and also turned up the full-court pressure defense. With basically five interchangable parts -- the Panthers pretty much have five 6-2 guys -- that might be the best way for this team to play.

10. Eastern (11) 1-0

Senior forward Matt Klinewski went for 27 in a big opening-night win over Winslow. The Lafayette recruit might average that this season, if not more.

11. Rancocas Valley (8) 1-1

The Red Devils looked to have some heavy legs in a 56-43 loss to No. 5 Haddonfield on Saturday at Schalick. They missed a bunch of layups and were 7-for-20 from line. Haddonfield's defense had something to do with that, but the toll from that fast-paced game with Westampton Tech on Friday night have been a factor, too. Like so many teams, RV is a work in progress, especially since they lost two guys who were projected to play key roles.

12. Wildwood Catholic (12) 0-1

Senior Jordan Robertson led all scorers with 17 in a 44-41 loss to No. 2 Atlantic City on Saturday in Ocean City. The Crusaders will be a much tougher matchup when senior forward Eddie McWade, a 1,000-point scorer, gets back to full health from an ankle injury.

13. Schalick (13) 2-0

Senior center Rashaan Holloway went for 16 in a 74-59 win over Kingsway at the Jimmy V Foundation Classic on the Cougars' court on Saturday. This sounds like a broken record, but with two new starters in Mike Holloway (Rashaan's brother) and Tyler Lundsford, Schalick is another team that should get better during the course of the season.

14. Lenape (14) 0-1

The Indians showed a lot of resilience in rallying from a 17-2 deficit after one quarter and nearly beating No. 6 Bishop Eustace on Friday night. The 37-36 loss could be a confidence builder for a team that's working to compensate for the loss of top player Cameron Green, a senior forward out indefinitely with a knee injury.

15. Cherokee (15) 1-0

The Chiefs got great work from Paul Bellamy and a big lift from sophomore Tyler Tobin in grinding out a tough win over rival Shawnee on Friday night. This team plays Lenape-like defense.

16. Cherry Hill East (16) 1-0

Phil Cunha, a transfer from Holy Cross, made five threes and scored 17 in a comfortable win over Timber Creek on opening night. Interesting game coming up for the Cougars on Friday at 1:30 as Dave Allen will coach against his mentor, Camden coach John Valore -- who will be the visiting coach on John Valore Court.

17. St. Augustine (17) 2-0

Sophomore Mike Vasturia, a Medford kid, scored 15 in each of the first two games.

18. Washington Twp. (NR) 1-1

Very impressive opening weekend for the Minutemen and Julian Jastrzebski. They pushed Camden to the brink, at Camden, on Friday night, and came back 13 hours later and shut down Delsea with some great defense in the first half of a 10 a.m. game at Schalick on Saturday. Jastrzebski went for 28 against Camden, 23 against Delsea.

19. St. Joseph (NR) 2-0

The Wildcats rallied from a 22-point deficit -- shades of Camden on Saturday -- and stunned Shawnee 61-58 in overtime Sunday in Ocean City. SJ was down by 15 entering the fourth quarer but outscored Shawnee by 24-9. Senior guard Charlie Riccardi went for 24 and made five threes, including the game-winner in OT. Senior forward LaQuay Brown played 34 minutes and grabbed 11 rebounds.

20 West Deptford (20) 2-0

Senior guard Justin Hansen is off to a good start for the Eagles.

Under consideration: Listed alphabetically: Cherry Hill West (0-1), Clearview (2-0), Moorestown (1-0), Pemberton (1-1), Woodstown (2-0).

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