The CAL Playoffs Begin
The Cape-Atlantic League playoffs are underway for high school teams here in South Jersey.
With the State Playoffs on the horizon, players and coaches are entering the postseason mindset. The Press of Atlantic City's Mike McGarry breaks down some of the early action, including Atlantic City's win over EHT, and Middle Township's statement over Sacred Heart. We also asked him if the Holy Spirit Spartans are playing their best basketball right now, and got his thoughts on two local teams involved in "one of the best rivalries in the entire state".
One South Jersey basketball coach has his team on to the semifinal round. That's Steve DiPatri, the Sacred Heart girls head coach, who watched his fifth-ranked Lady Lions beat No. 4 Middle Township in a tight contest on the road. Up next for Sacred Heart: a showdown with Julia Duggan and Ocean City. We asked Coach DiPatri about what he took away from last season's victory over the Red Raiders, and how the best teams left in the tournament are bucking a CAL trend.
And as mentioned, Julia Duggan and her top-seeded Ocean City teammates are getting ready for a rematch with Sacred Heart this week. The senior hasn't forgotten last year's loss to Coach DiPatri's Lady Lions, and says her team might be even more dangerous this season. We also asked her about her final moments as a senior, and if she's playing in the shadow of a friend and fellow Cape-Atlantic League All-Star.
If the discussion is high school basketball, one local team certainly cannot be left out of the conversation. The Atlantic City Vikings boys basketball team continues to roll through their opponents, with their only blemish coming at the hands of St. Anthony, a non-conference juggernaut who hasn't lost a game in years.
Coach Gene Allen and one of the Vikings' best, Jahleem Montague, joined us inside the Admiral Nissan Studios to explain their preparations for the CAL and State Playoff tournaments. Find out when Coach Allen knew his team would be special this year, and how Montague and his Viking teammates stay focused despite late-season fatigue.
And a different team inside the sports complex at North Albany Avenue is hoping to raise another banner as well. The AC Vikings girls swimming team achieved the ultimate in 2012, and now is hitting the water for even more postseason records this winter. Five of the team's seniors, including Elvia Alvarez, Ayana Cox, Melissa Toy, Dominique Voso, and Colleen Callahan, joined us in studio to reflect on their four-year journey together. Find out why despite all the individual accomplishments, they say there's still nothing more important than the team.
Listen to this week's show:
Mike McGarry, Press of Atlantic City sports writer
Steve DiPatri, Sacred Heart girls head basketball coach
Coach Gene Allen & Jahleen Montague, Atlantic City Vikings basketball
Julia Duggan, Ocean City Red Raiders girls basketball
Atlantic City Vikings girls swimming team
We’d also like to congratulate the South Jersey Athlete of the Week:
Basketball, Wildwood Catholic
The junior drilled a fade-away three-pointer as time expired to beat Cheroke in the Olympic-Cape Challenge, held last weekend at St. Augustine Prep.
It’s all right here, on The South Jersey Sports Report. Listen every Saturday, 9-11 a.m. on 97.3 ESPN-FM or 973espn.com
Follow Tyler Donohue on Twitter @TDsTake