The Wildwood High School girls basketball team has quietly put together a successful season.

The Warriors (17-5) hope to gain even more attention during the postseason. Fifth-seeded Wildwood will host 12th-seeded Riverside in a South Jersey Group I first-round game today at 5 p.m.

"The kids are all very unselfish with the ball," Wildwood coach Dave Troiano said. "We're extremely small, but we're very quick. We run the floor well. Practices are a joy. These kids believe in one another."

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Wildwood has no starter taller than 5-foot-7.

The Warriors feature one of Cape May County's top players in Jess Freeman, a senior who averages 20.8 points and has scored more than 1,600 career points.

"She's a vocal leader, and she leads by example," Troiano said. "The kids look up to her. But she realizes she doesn't have to do it by herself. When her teammates are open, she gets them the ball."

The Warriors feature a couple of other key veterans. Senior Mackenzie Huber is only 5-6, but she always defends the other team's post player. Junior Leishey Reyes is the point guard.

"She loves the game," Troiano said of Reyes. "After practice, I have to chase her off the court."

Wildwood also relies on talented newcomers in sophomore Jillian Freeman - Jess' younger sister - and freshman Mackenzie McCracken.

Troiano and the Warriors know how to win in March. He's led them to four state titles. Wildwood enters this year's tournament on a six-game winning streak.

"You always want your team to be playing its best ball come tournament time," he said, "and that's what we're doing right now."

Here is a preview of the six S.J. enrollment groups

The brackets

South Jersey Group IV

2013 champion:Washington Township

Local first-round games (seeds in parentheses):


4 p.m.

Kingsway Regional (10) at Millville (7)

5 p.m.

Williamstown (9) at Atlantic City (8)

Cherry Hill West (13) at Southern (4)

Absegami (11) at Cherokee (6)

7 p.m.

EHT (16) at Washington Township (1)

Southern is 20-4 and 8-2 in its last 10 games. The Rams could play at top-seeded Washington Township in the semifinals. Washington Township has won three straight S.J. championships.

South Jersey Group III

2013 champion: Ocean City

Local first-round games (seeds in parentheses):


4 p.m.

Lacey Township (14) at Winslow Township (3)

Gloucester Tech (10) at Mainland Regional (7)

5:30 p.m.

Pinelands Regional (13) at Central Regional (4)

6 p.m.

Westampton Tech (11) at Ocean City (6)

7 p.m.

Hammonton (16) at Timber Creek (1)

Timber Creek, second-seeded Winslow Township and third-seeded Woodrow Wilson are the favorites in this group.

South Jersey Group II

2013 champion: Willingboro

Local first-round games (seeds in parentheses):


5 p.m.

Bridgeton (13) at Middle Township (4)

Barnegat (15) at Sterling (2)

6 p.m.

Buena Regional (14) at Cedar Creek (3)

Woodstown (10) at Lower Cape May Regional (7)

Middle Township features seven seniors who played in last year's S.J. final loss to Willingboro. Middle could play at top-seeded Deptford in the semifinals. Cedar Creek also is a veteran team with several players who had key roles on the 2011-12 team that won the state Group I title.

South Jersey Group I

2013 champion: Gloucester

Local first-round games (seeds in parentheses):


4 p.m.

Cape May Tech (10) at Salem (7)

5 p.m.

Riverside (12) at Wildwood (4)

Wildwood faces a potential semifinal matchup with top-seeded Gloucester, which has beaten Wildwood twice this season (61-41 on Jan. 7 and 59-42 on Jan. 31).

South Jersey Non-Public A

2013 champion: Red Bank Catholic

No Cape-Atlantic League or southern Ocean County teams qualified in this group.

South Jersey Non-Public B

2013 champion: Gill St. Bernard

Local first-round games (seeds in parentheses):


5 p.m.

Trenton Catholic (13) at Wildwood Catholic (4)

Cardinal McCarrick (14) at Holy Spirit (3)

6 p.m.

Marist (10) at St. Joseph (7)

All three CAL teams - Wildwood Catholic, Holy Spirit and St. Joe - bear watching in this group. All three, however, probably will have to win tough road games to win the title. Wildwood Catholic could play at top-seeded Roselle Catholic in the semifinals. Defending champion and second-seed Gill St. Bernard is on the same side of the bracket as Holy Spirit and St. Joe.

Contact Michael McGarry:



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