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A helping of hoops picks to cheer the holidays

We have proposed a holiday gift to the good people of South Jersey, the first of the new winter weekend picks.

We have proposed a holiday gift to the good people of South Jersey, the first of the new winter weekend picks.

The idea seemed so good that we even suggested to Mrs. Narducci that this would be her Christmas gift in lieu of actually paying cash for a present.

Words such as "skinflint" and "cheapskate" rolled freely off her tongue. And those were the nice comments she made.

Since this is the opening of the season, the records are from the 2007-08 season, although you probably could have figured that one out.

We'll return with the picks Jan. 9 and hope it won't be too painful to wait that long for the next batch of selections.

Enjoy another basketball season and have a great holiday.

Boys' basketball


Palmyra (13-8 last season) at Florence (8-14), 6:15 p.m.

Palmyra is the defending Burlington County Freedom champ and with all-South Jersey football defensive back Quron Pratt manning the point, the Panthers will again contend.

Florence, with three returning starters, appears vastly improved, and this will be a good barometer to measure the Flashes' progress.


Palmyra 60, Florence 56.

Eastern (16-12) at Cherokee (13-12), 7 p.m.

Cherokee and Lenape are the defending Olympic American champions and co-favorites, but Eastern is extremely dangerous. Washington Township is also expected to contend in a division in which a 7-3 record may be good enough to win it.


Cherokee 51, Eastern 50.

Winslow Township (21-7) at Timber Creek (21-10), 7 p.m.

How tough is the Olympic Conference Patriot Division? Timber Creek won South Jersey Group 3 and finished


in the Patriot last season. Winslow Township and Shawnee shared the title, but this season Timber Creek opens as the favorite.

Winslow Township has no returning starters, but don't be fooled by that, because coach Chris Martin will be using about 10 players and has the speed to wear anybody down.


Timber Creek 51, Winslow Township 48.

Gloucester Catholic (19-9) at Glassboro (12-13), 7 p.m.

New Gloucester Catholic coach Todd Powers has no returning starters, so it may take a little time for the Rams to jell. Glassboro appears improved and ready to contend in the Tri-County Diamond Division.


Glassboro 60, Gloucester Catholic 55.


Atlantic City (20-9) vs. Shawnee (19-9), 7 p.m.

at Ocean City.

Atlantic City seems to struggle early and come on like world-beaters later. This is an experienced Vikings team against a Shawnee squad that may need some seasoning but should be no fun to play in another month.


Atlantic City 64, Shawnee 60.

Girls' basketball


Camden (11-12) at Bishop Eustace (14-12), 3:45 p.m.

Both are veteran teams, and the winner emerges as the leading challenger to Camden Catholic in the Olympic National. Eustace will attempt to make this a successful debut for coach Kat Burke-Esposito.


Eustace 47, Camden 41.

Cherokee (23-5) at Eastern (22-6), 6 p.m.

This is the debut for Cherokee coach Shannon Bretz, whose team will be led by two juniors, Monica Roeder and Tiffany Turner. As if Cherokee needs any more incentive, the Chiefs will attempt to avenge last year's 48-45 loss to Eastern in the Group 4 tournament.


Eastern 48, Cherokee 45.

Williamstown (23-3) at Clearview (16-11), 7 p.m.

Williamstown is the three-time defending Tri-County Royal Division champion, but many feel that Clearview could be the team to beat. That's because the Pioneers return three key players and have some impressive reinforcements.


Clearview 53, Williamstown 47.


Kingsway (8-18) at Haddon Township (17-11), 12:30 p.m.

Karyn Picard has returned for her second stint at Kingsway, and many feel the Dragons could have a say in the Tri-County Royal Division race. Haddon Township is considered one of the favorites in the newly created Colonial Patriot Division, and this will be an excellent non-league test for the Hawks.


Haddon Township 31, Kingsway 29.

Willingboro (15-10) at Ocean City (27-5), 5:30 p.m.

This is part of the PBA Tipoff. Ocean City is the defending South Jersey Group 3 champion and not in a giving mood to relinquish its title. Nobody is quite sure where Willingboro stands, but this will be an excellent early measuring stick.


Ocean City 60, Willingboro 50.

Prediction record during the last week of football season:


Season football record: