Year-In-Review: Atlantic City Vikings
A memorable year of Atlantic City High School sports has come to a close. The 2011-’12 school year featured impressive performances from various Vikings programs and players.
As senior standouts move on to the next stage of their lives, including those who will continue to participate in sports at the college level, it’s time to look back at a few storylines that left a lasting impact on Atlantic City’s athletic legacy.
Vikings capture state basketball championship
There’s no question that Atlantic City produced one of the most captivating sports stories in South Jersey this winter. Led by veteran head coach Gene Allen, the Vikings boys basketball squad shrugged off adversity and earned its second New Jersey Group IV title in seven years.
Atlantic City recovered from a ho-hum start to the season and emerged as the area’s hottest team by mid-February.
The Vikings surged past Holy Spirit and Egg Harbor Township to win the Cape-Atlantic League’s American Conference with a record of 11-1. Overall, Atlantic City finished 26-6.
The Vikings avenged an early season loss at Holy Spirit by defeating the Spartans in the CAL semifinals. Allen’s team then rallied from a late deficit to defeat Middle Township in the league championship game at Stockton College.
The pair of victories provided the Vikings with pivotal momentum heading into the South Jersey playoffs. A confident group was able to squeak out thrilling, close wins over Absegami, Lenape, Eastern and Middletown North.
The final three wins came on the road. Atlantic City claimed the state’s Group IV title on March 11 with a 53-47 victory over Elizabeth at Rutgers University.
A veteran Vikings group included seniors Kashawn Dunston, Keyshawn Reynolds, Ahmad McKinley and Martel Johnson. Underclassmen came up big during the title run, too, highlighted by guard Dyshawn Reynolds and 6-foot-8 junior center Jahleem Montague, who recovered from an early season knee injury and added a new dimension to the team.
He’ll return next year and team up with improving forward Gebriel Chandler to form arguably the best frontcourt in the league.
Atlantic City rarely blew by teams and often found itself behind on the scoreboard during the remarkable postseason run. That’s what made the Vikings’ championship chase so special, and oftentimes nerve-racking.
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