It’s become tantalizing this winter for fans and the Egg Harbor Township boys basketball coaching staff to wonder what might have been, had senior Ahmad Brock only decided to come out for the hoops team a few years earlier. There is so much raw ability and natural basketball instinct there, and there just isn’t time in a 15-game season to refine it. But head coach Cameron Bell will take everything he can get from Brock until this 2021 season comes to an end in about 10 days.

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“We knew when the season started he was going to be a difference maker for us. He adds another level of athleticism,” Bell said of Brock, a huge star on the South Jersey soccer and track scenes who spent the first three years of his high school career competing in indoor track during the winter season.

Brock didn’t look like he needed much refining on Tuesday night as he scored a season and career-high 26 points to lead the host Eagles to a convincing 67-50 win over Cedar Creek that has Egg Harbor Township atop the Cape-Atlantic League North standings, a half game ahead of Holy Spirit. The Eagles (8-1, 8-1 CAL North) and Spartans (7-2, 7-1) split their two games this season.

EHT never really got into a groove against Cedar Creek in the first half, but still did enough to carry a 27-21 lead into halftime. Early in the third, the Pirates (5-3, 5-3 CAL North) shaved the lead down to just two points, 31-29, after a pair of buckets from Kyree Tinsley and a couple of free throws from Isaiah Valentin. But then EHT went on a 10-2 run, and closed out the third quarter on a 17-7 spurt, to take a 48-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

Cedar Creek got within 48-40 early in the fourth quarter on an inside bucket by Jamir Cruse and a converted layup off a steal from Dustin Anderson, but the Eagles answered with a 10-4 run to push their advantage to 58-44 with 3:21 left and effectively put the game out of reach.

“We kind of started off slowly and that kind of got me a little frustrated, so I tried to talk to everybody. Once we got our stuff together and started playing team defense, it took off from there. It was a team effort, and once we got our heads in the game we got control,” Brock said. “We dug in on defense and were playing team defense, and once we started playing team defense we started getting a bunch of steals and a bunch of runouts, and we were getting a bunch of easy points quickly. That’s what really helped us.”

Carlos Lopez chipped in 13 points for Egg Harbor Township, including three 3-pointers, and Isaiah Glenn and Ethan Dodd combined for 18 points. Cedar Creek put three players in double figures, as Sean Snyder led with 13, Valentin added 12 and Tinsley finished with 11.

Egg Harbor Township has five more games remaining on its schedule, including a tough season finale against St. Joseph Academy (8-1, 8-1 CAL West) on March 6 at noon.

“We didn’t play very well tonight,” Coach Bell said. “I don’t have a lot of kind things to say about our performance, but one thing I will say is, a win is a win and you take them whenever you can get them. We’re a talented basketball team and as a talented basketball team you can win games, but we didn’t play well at all.”

Overall, though, coach Bell said he believes his team is where he expected it to be at this point in the season — in first place in its division.

“We’re about where I thought we’d be,” he said. “It’s been so tough with the snow days — as a coach I like to split the season into quarters, and with missing some days last week because of snow days it kind of derailed us. It’s been hard for us to get a flow going, but we have a four-game week this week. I think we’re about where I thought we’d be with a little bit left to go.”

What’s next: Egg Harbor Township hosts Absegami on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Cedar Creek hosts Absegami on Wednesday, time TBD.

Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays

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