It didn't take long for three freshmen - Pitman's Luke Dickson, St. Augustine's Isaiah Morton and Overbrook's Danny Wilson - to make an impact on the varsity level.
All three helped their basketball teams score opening-game wins Friday.
Dickson scored 21 points, buried four three-pointers and had five assists and four steals in Pitman's 63-46 win at Pennsville, while Wilson came off the bench to deposit 18 points in Overbrook's 71-44 conquest of Woodstown.
Morton, a highly touted 5-foot-8 point guard who is the first cousin of the Minnesota Timberwolves' Sebastian Telfair, netted a team-high 15 points to spark St. Augustine past Wildwood Catholic, 62-51. The Hermits won despite 27 turnovers.
Paul Rodio, the veteran St. Augustine coach, said Morton is "destined to be one of the best players in the area."
Pitman coach Steve Gangloff also has high expectations for Dickson, his 5-6 point guard.
"He has tremendous skills," Gangloff said. "We look for him to help lead the team with his playmaking, scoring ability and his defense."
In other words, Dickson isn't a typical freshman.
Neither is Overbrook's 5-10 Wilson, who played two quarters on the JV level Friday and did not enter the varsity game until the second quarter.
"He hit a couple of threes, and he ran the floor nicely," said Overbrook coach Chuck Marciano, whose team is led by 6-1 senior Dontae Johnson. "He has real good court sense and gets back on defense and is a good passer and rebounder. I think he has a very good future ahead of him."
Ditto Dickson and Morton.
The No. 1 stunner of the opening weekend was Lower Cape May's 63-60 win over then-No. 9 Atlantic City.
Senior guard Donte Jones scored 23 points and Tom McKeefery, a 6-6 sophomore transfer from Garnet Valley (Pa.) contributed 13 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks for Pat Holden's Tigers, who beat perennial powerful Atlantic City for the first time since 2001.
Lower Cape May is trying to rebound from a 4-21 season.
Washington Township also registered a major opening-night surprise, outlasting then-No. 8 Shawnee, 57-52.
Junior guard Rick Hudson, the team's only returning starter, scored 16 points, sophomore guard Adam Marcucci added 15, and senior guard Sean Pleasant chipped in with 11 for the visiting Minutemen, who figured to be in a rebuilding year.
That was before Friday's stunner.
The 5-10 Marcucci is one of four Washington Township sophomores who will play key roles this year, along with 6-9 Matt Lopez, 6-4 Chris Grabbe and 5-9 Nick Favatella. The sophs combined for 28 points Friday.
Bishop Eustace is loaded with talented sophomores, and one of them, 6-1 Pat Vasturia, made his first varsity start a memorable one: a 22-point performance in 62-55 win over Seneca.
In addition to the promising sophomores, Eustace has some players with experience, including 6-4 Adam Matula, 6-1 Ryan Piatek, 5-10 Mike Ursomarso and 6-3 Chris Grous.
Games of the week.
Pleasantville at Holy Spirit, 7.
Holy Cross at Burlington City, 6:30; Hammonton at Atlantic City, 7; Sterling at Collingswood, 6:30; Paul VI at Winslow Township, 7; Timber Creek at Cherokee, 7; Williamstown at Deptford, 7.
Holy Spirit at Middle Township, 7; Collingswood at Haddonfield, 7; Camden Catholic at Camden, 3:45; Eastern at Lenape, 7; Salem at Wildwood, 6.
Rancocas Valley at Williamstown, 5:15.
Atlantic City at Holy Spirit, 2; Woodrow Wilson at Lenape, 1; Hammonton at Sterling, 1.
Holy Spirit's Matt DeSouza, a 6-8 senior forward, has committed to Division II Caldwell College in North Jersey. . . . The qualifying cutoff date for the NJSIAA tourney is Feb. 2. Teams with at least a .500 record at that date will earn playoff berths.
Records through Saturday; last week's ranking in parentheses.
Camden Catholic (1)1-0
Rancocas Valley (2)1-0
Holy Spirit (3)1-0
Paul VI (5)1-0
St. Augustine (6)1-0
Timber Creek (7)0-0
Winslow Twp. (NR)1-0
Under consideration (listed alphabetically):
Deptford (1-0), Eastern (1-0), Haddonfield (1-0), Lenape (0-1), Lower Cape May (1-0), Middle Township (1-0), Paulsboro (2-0), Pennsauken (0-0), Pleasantville (1-0), Williamstown (1-0).
- Sam Carchidi