The Atlantic City High Schools boys basketball team was once a mediocre 5-4 this season. The Cedar Creek High School girls team didn’t exist two years ago.
Now, the Vikings and Pirates both are state champions.
Atlantic City won the second state Group IV boys title in the program’s history with a 53-47 win over Elizabeth on Sunday in Piscataway. Cedar Creek, which just opened last school year, won the state Group I girls championship with a 50-38 victory over Whippany Park in Toms River.
Jahleem Montague sparked the Vikings with 15 points and rebounds. Atlantic City won with the same characteristics that had turned around its season — defense and unselfish play.
“I always had faith in my team,” senior guard Martel Johnson said. “Once we started stressing defense, we got a lot of wins. We’re not selfish. We do whatever we need to do to win.”
The Pirates became the first local girls basketball team to win a state title since Absegami won back-to-back Group IV crowns in 2005 and 2006.
Junior center Kristine Miller led the Pirates with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
“We only have 600 students in our school, and it seemed like they were all here supporting us today,” Cedar Creek coach Francine Raph said. “This is just amazing. We had the support of the entire town, and the girls really played their hearts out.”
Contact Michael McGarry: 609-272-7185;
Contact David Weinberg: 609-272-7186;