Phil's Picks: Sectional Boys' Basketball Champs
South Jersey Group 4: Eastern. The Vikings have depth and versatility, a top outside shooter in senior Mike Wilson, and a top swingman in junior Devin Bell. Olympic Conference rivals Shawnee and Lenape will be in the mix, too. The Renegades have talented junior guards such as Ryan Bodnar and Josh Borrelli, and Lenape will play its typical tenacious defense. Atlantic City could be a major force in March behind 6-foot-7 junior forward Jaleem Montague and Atlantic Christian transfer Gabriel Chandler.
South Jersey Group 3: Camden. Why not the reborn Panthers in this wide-open group? New coach Cetshwayo Byrd has a tall, talented squad led by 6-6 senior forwards Thomas Harper, Ajwan Leaming, and Isaiah Winn, and emerging sophomore guards Maliq Bryant and Tavaris Headen. Delsea has a rising star in junior forward Cedric Elleby, a double-double machine. Watch out for Timber Creek, with junior guard Eric Church, a St. Anthony of Jersey City transfer; and 6-8 junior forward Dominique Reid, a Trenton Catholic transfer.
South Jersey Group 2: Willingboro. This looks like the season when the Chimeras win their first sectional title. Tyrell Maloney and Trenton Catholic transfer Ronny Paden, who has signed with St. Peter's, form a big-time backcourt. Haddon Heights will be in the mix with a top backcourt of its own in senior Davon Jones and junior Brandon Joyner. Middle Township has a strong junior class led by Tom Feraco, son of the coach. Medford Tech has reloaded with some serious talent after losing five starters.
South Jersey Group 1: Paulsboro. The Red Raiders have a top junior in Xavier Lundy, a 6-5 swingman, along with 6-8 junior Julian Davenport and veteran guard Calvin Johnson. Gloucester has a top one-two punch in junior guard Stefano Okoro and senior forward Tajee Almon. Wildwood will challenge, as will Burlington City. Haddon Township could be in the mix with a veteran group led by forward Logan Murray.
Non-Public South A: Bishop Eustace. The Crusaders rate a slight edge over their rivals from Paul VI. Eustace is led by senior point guard Carson Puriefoy, while Paul VI is led by senior point guard Ron Curry. These guys will battle all season. Defending champion St. Augustine will be in the mix as Penn State football recruit Austin Johnson is one of several veterans from last season's state champs. Camden Catholic has a top junior, Kyle Green, and a knack for winning tight games. Holy Spirit has a top guard in junior Paul Moore and an emerging star in sophomore Junior Saintel. Christian Brothers, Red Bank Catholic, and St. Joseph's of Metuchen are established programs that make this the state's deepest section.
Non-Public South B: St. Patrick's. The Celtics move down to this section. They lost coach Kevin Boyle but still should be a top program. Wildwood Catholic, with point guard T-John Casiello leading the way, will be in the mix.
Central Jersey: Rancocas Valley will defend its Group 4 title behind guard Tariq Jett and forward Dom Twitty, and Burlington Township will defend its Group 3 crown behind guards Jalon Wilson and Remi Odulana.
- Phil Anastasia