Cape-Atlantic League Playoffs: Previews and Predictions [PAGE 2]
No. 8 Egg Harbor Township Silver Eagles (11-10, 6-6 in American Conference) at
No. 1 Atlantic City Vikings (19-1, 12-0 in American Conference)
Atlantic City has earned every accolade thrown its way since embarking on a memorable journey to CAL, South Jersey and state titles in 2012. Coach Gene Allen's Vikings have now won 28 consecutive games against league opponents.
Egg Harbor Township was able to slide into the playoffs final slot after Cedar Creek lost three games consecutive games. Eagles leading scorer Khari Harley, a rangy 6-6 forward, presents Atlantic City's talented frontcourt duo of Jahleem Montague and Gabriel Chandler with a challenge.
Atlantic City opened the season with a 54-38 win at EHT. The Vikings also defeated EHT at home, 82-60.
Atlantic City 58, Egg Harbor Township 40
No. 7 Sacred Heart Lions (15-8, 12-2 in United Conference) at
No. 2 Middle Township Panthers (17-4, 11-1 in National Conference)
Middle Township relied on two narrow wins away from home (over Wildwood Catholic and St. Augustine) to earn its way to the 2012 CAL title game. The Panthers begin the journey in CoHo this time around. Tom Feraco's team boasts a savvy veteran backcourt (seniors Tom Catanoso and Darrell Shelton) and a pair of forwards who were born with Panther pedigree (Tom Feraco Jr. and LaMarr Greer Jr.).
Aside from senior Micah Moore, the Panthers don't have much a post presence. Sacred Heart sophomore Michael Hollway needs to have a big game for the Lions to threaten an upset. The 6-6 forward is a dominant interior presence and becomes a dangerous scorer when he finds his rhythm.
These teams haven't met since February 2011, when Middle whooped the Lions 83-51.
Middle Township 57, Sacred Heart 47
No. 6 Hammonton Blue Devils (18-5, 8-4 in National Conference) at
No. 3 St. Augustine Hermits (19-3, 11-1 in National Conference)
This showdown features teams who may feel a bit disrespected about their respective CAL postseason rankings. Hammonton earned a head-to-head victory over Holy Spirit but settled for the No. 6 seed, while some argue St. Augustine should have been named the No. 2 seed instead of Middle Township.
The Hermits are still riding the momentum of Coach Paul Rodio’s South Jersey record 776th career victory. Point guard Mike Greenman paces St. Augustine, while forwards David Sullivan, Joe Gatto and Blake Rossell provided size on both ends of the court.
Hammonton's start-to-finish success was a great story all season, but will it carry into the playoffs? Blue Devils forward Christian Mortellite leads the league in scoring and few teams have figured out a way to contain him for 32 minutes. The senior needs his teammates to step up against a disciplined St. Augustine squad.
Since Mortellite's freshman season, St. Augustine is 8-0 versus Hammonton. Every loss has been by a double-digit margin.
St. Augustine 55, Hammonton 53
No. 5 Holy Spirit Spartans (14-8, 10-2 in American Conference) at
No. 4 Wildwood Catholic Crusaders (19-3, 12-2 in United Conference)
Both team has unfinished business to take care of after last season's CAL tournament. Holy Spirit was bounced by Atlantic City in the semifinals, while Wildwood Catholic lost its opening round matchup against Middle Township. Both teams carry rather young rosters (the Crusaders don't start a senior) but each has a reliable leading man.
Spartans senior Paul Moore is arguably the league's premier scoring guard. He caught fire midway through the season to lead Holy Spirit on an eight-game win streak. Wildwood Catholic junior Eddie McWade looks like the CAL's most complete player at times. The three-year starter has the high motor coaches crave and he’s developed a reliable midrange game that opens things up for teammates
Holy Spirit forward Junior Saintel and Wildwood guard Jordan Robertson are X-factors in supporting roles.
The Crusaders cruised past Holy Spirit 53-43 in February 2012.
Wildwood Catholic 48, Holy Spirit 42
*CAL Boys Semifinals:
Atlantic City over Wildwood Catholic; Middle Township over St. Augustine
*CAL Boys Championship:
Atlantic City over Middle Township (again)