If history is any indication, tonight’s South Jersey Group III quarterfinal between the Ocean City and Hammonton high school boys basketball teams should be close.

The teams tip off at 6 p.m. Hammonton. They have already played twice this season. Hammonton won 49-48 on Jan. 7. Ocean City won 51-49 on Feb. 4.

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Hammonton (12-13) is the No. 6 seed advanced to the quarterfinals with a 70-54 win over Burlington Township on Tuesday. Justin Harris led the Blue Devils with 19 points.

Meanwhile, No. 14 seed Ocean City (9-14) pulled one of the biggest upsets of the first night of the state tournament with a 58-57 win over third-seeded Toms River South.

In another big game tonight, top-seeded Mainland Regional hosts ninth-seeded Highland Regional in a South Jersey Group III quarterfinal.

Mainland is 16-10 but the team and standout center Darius Jerkins have been overshadowed because they play in the same division as Atlantic City and Holy Spirit.

This is Mainland’s time shine. The Mustangs and the 6-foot-5 Jerkins did that Tuesday night in their 64-49 first round win over No. 16 seed Woodrow Wilson. Jerkins scored 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds. There wasn’t another player in the state who had a more impressive first round game.

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I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.

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