Junior Saintel and Paul Moore of the Holy Spirit High School boys basketball team are two of the region's more talented players. Even better than that, they're friends.
Their friendship should boost team chemistry, according to Spirit coach Jamie Gillespie. Spirit should contend for the Cape-Atlantic League and South Jersey Non-Public A titles.
"You're pulling together for the same goal and you don't have that competing force," Gillespie said of the friendship between the two. "One night one kid may lead us in scoring. The other night the other kid might. That's going to be good for us."
Saintel, a 6-foot-5 junior, is a Division I prospect. He has made several eye-opening plays, including a spectacular tomahawk dunk, in a preseason scrimmage against Cherry Hill East.
"He's more aggressive, more explosive," Gillespie said. "The five or six plays he made against Cherry Hill East would turn a lot of heads."
Moore, a 6-1 senior guard, averaged 15.6 points per game last season.
Spirit also returns 6-4 junior forward John Midi and 5-9 point guard Uumahd Collier from last season.
Gillespie said he hopes the depth helps Spirit avoid the late-season slumps that have plagued the team the past couple of years.
"We played 10, 11 guys in our first scrimmage, and we hope to continue that," Gillespie said. "We hope in the long run that keeps our legs fresh. It also allows us to put pressure on teams and try to sustain that pressure over a longer period of time."
Contact Michael McGarry:
League: Cape-Atlantic League American
Group: South Jersey Non-Public A
Coach: Jamie Gillespie
Last season's record: 18-10
2012-13 prediction: Favorite - With the Spartans talent, they are capable of beating everyone on their schedule.
Key players: Junior Saintel, Jr., F, 6-5; Paul Moore, Sr., G, 6-1; John Midi, Jr., 6-3, F; Uuhmad Collier, Jr., 5-9, G; Matt Sommers, So., 5-11, G; Jordan Taylor, So., 6-4, F; Justice Cistrunk, So., 6-4, F; Leon Daniels, Fr., 6-4, F/G; Mark Rassmann, Sr., 6-1, G; Shamar Dixon, Sr., 5-10, G.
Dec. 14: vs. Mainland Regional, 7 p.m.
Dec. 18: vs. Absegami, 7 p.m.
Dec. 21: at Millville, 4 p.m.
Dec. 27: at St. Augustine Prep Christmas Tournament, TBA
Dec. 28: at St. Augustine Prep Christmas Tournament, TBA
Jan. 3: at Vineland, 6 p.m.
Jan. 5: vs. Rancocas Valley Regional, 5 p.m.
Jan. 11: at Egg Harbor Township, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 12: vs. Middle Township, 2 p.m.
Jan. 15: at Atlantic City, 7 p.m.
Jan. 17: at Hammonton, 7 p.m.
Jan. 19: vs. St. Augustine Prep, 2 p.m.
Jan. 22: at Mainland Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 24: at Absegami, 6 p.m.
Jan. 26: at Trenton Catholic, TBA
Jan. 29: vs. Millville, 7 p.m.
Jan. 31: vs. Vineland, 7 p.m.
Feb. 5: vs. Oakcrest, 7 p.m.
Feb. 8: vs. Egg Harbor Township, 7 p.m.
Feb. 10: at Olympic-Cape Challenge at St. Augustine Prep, TBA
Feb. 12: at Olympic-Cape Challenge at St. Augustine Prep, TBA
Feb. 17: vs.Shawnee at Cherry Hill East, TBA