CAL boys basketball first-round previews
(Seeds before school. All games today.)
(8) Egg Harbor Township (11-10)
at (1) Atlantic City (19-1)
Atlantic City is No. 1 in The Press Elite 11. The Vikings have already beaten EHT twice this season — 54-38 and 82-60. Atlantic City features balanced scoring with guards Isiah Graves (9.7 ppg) and Dayshawn Reynolds (9.8 ppg) and big men Dennis White (11.2 ppg) and Ga-briel Chandler (13.1 ppg). Egg Harbor Township’s best win came on Dec. 16 when the Eagles beat Hammonton 63-58. EHT relies on senior guard Trey Jones and forward Khari Harley. Atlantic City is the defending champion.
(5) Holy Spirit (14-8)
at (4) Wildwood Catholic (19-3)
Wildwood Catholic has won five straight. Wildwood Catholic junior forward Ed McWade averages 18.6 points. Crusaders junior forward Jordan Robertson complements McWade with the ability to sink a 3-point shot or drive the basket for a two-handed dunk.
Spirit is talented but yet has to have a signature win this season. Guard Paul Moore averages 17.1 points and has made 59 3-pointers for Spirit.
(6) Hammonton (18-5)
at (3) St. Augustine Prep (19-3)
6 p.m. (97.3 FM)
St. Augustine is No. 9 in the Elite 11. The Hermits have already beaten Hammonton twice this season — 51-35 at St. Augustine on Jan. 4 and 52-39 at Hammonton on Jan. 31. The Hermits rely on the senior backcourt of Michael Greenman (14.1) and David Sullivan (13.5). Hammonton had a strong case to be the No. 5 seed. The Blue Devils beat fifth-seeded Holy Spirit 58-55 on Jan. 17. Hammonton forward Christian Mortellite averages 21.7 points per game.
(7) Sacred Heart (15-8)
at (2) Middle Township (17-4)
Middle is No. 8 in the Elite 11. The Panthers lost in last year’s CAL final to Atlantic City. Middle forward Tom Feraco leads the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and assists (4.0) and is second in rebounding (4.2). Sacred Heart features freshman guard Tyler Lunsford (11.3 ppg) and sophomore center Michael Holloway (16.5 ppg). Junior forward Chris Burch averages 9.2 points.
CAL girls basketball first-round previews
(8) Lower Cape May Regional (14-8)
at (1) Ocean City (17-3)
Ocean City is No. 6 in The Press Elite 11. The Red Raiders are 14-0 against Cape-Atlantic League teams this year. Senior center Julia Duggan averages 16.8 points and 11.2 rebounds but missed Ocean City’s last game with a sprained ankle. Ocean City defeated Lower Cape May in two regular season National Division meetings. The Caper Tigers offense is sparked by sophomore point guard Lauren Holden (16.9 ppg). Holden has shot just over 89 percent from the free-throw line.
(5) Sacred Heart (17-5)
at (4) Middle Township (15-7)
Sacred Heart is the defending league champion and returns veterans Kennedy Johnson and Mandy Buirch from that squad. Johnson, a 6-foot-2 junior center, averages 19.7 points and 13.5 rebounds. Buirch, a senior guard, adds 11.9 points, 2.1 steals and 2.2 assists. Middle Township features juniors Lauryn Fields (15.5 ppg) and Lauren Legler (11.1 ppg).
(6) Millville (15-6)
at (3) Holy Spirit (16-5)
Each team won a regular-season American Division contest on their home court. Millville, No. 11 in the Elite 11, has three players scoring in double figures — Amanda Smith (14.7 ppg), Lexi Bruno (14.1) and Ashli Weems (12.4). Holy Spirit is led by veteran players Summer Crilley (12.7 ppg), Annie Wenz (12.1), Gina Lewis (11.0) and Valerie Garofalo (7.0). Millville was the only Cape-Atlantic League team to defeat Holy Spirit this season.
(7) St. Joseph (15-6)
at (2) Cedar Creek (17-3)
Cedar Creek, ranked fourth in the Elite 11, has not lost to a CAL team since a Dec. 16 game at Ocean City. Another matchup featuring division opponents, the Pirates won both regular-season contests. Cedar Creek is led by defending Press Player of the Year Kristine Miller. The Pirates also rely on sound perimeter shooting from Mikila Stefanski, Mercina Stefanski and Jahniece Jaffe. For St. Joseph, Dana DiRenzo averages 14 points and 11.2 rebounds.