Staff Report

The NJSIAA basketball state playoffs begin today, so here’s a quick look at when and where the Cape-Atlantic League teams that qualified will begin their quest for a state championship, and how each bracket might shake out

BOYS

South Jersey Group 4:

No. 3 EHT vs. No. 14 ACIT, today, 7

No. 7 Millville vs. No. 10 Williamstown, today, 5:30

No. 12 Vineland at No. 5 Shawnee, today, 6

No. 15 Bridgeton at No. 2 Lenape, today, 4

Bracketology: There are some really good teams at the top of this bracket, most notably EHT, Lenape and No. 1 seed Cherry Hill East. East and EHT met in the semis two years ago, with East winning in OT. An EHT vs. Lenape semifinal would feature some of the best players in South Jersey, including EHT guard Carlos Lopez, the Cape-Atlantic League’s scoring leader. Watch out for East, though, they love to shoot the 3-pointer and can run away with a game if they get hot from beyond the arc.

South Jersey Group 3:

No. 6 Mainland vs. No. 11 Westampton Tech, Tuesday, 6

No. 7 Cedar Creek vs. No. 10 Cherry Hill West, Tuesday, 5:30

No. 8 Ocean City vs. No. 9 Hammonton, Tuesday, 7

No. 14 Absegami at No. 3 Burlington Township, Tuesday, 6:30

Bracketology: No real clear-cut favorite here as none of the top three seeds are really dominant teams. Watch out for No. 4 Woodrow Wilson, the Tigers have played a tough schedule, won 5-of-6 and have wins over Lenape and Paul VI this month. The big question in this bracket — can Mainland continue the magic it captured on its way to its first CAL Tournament title?

South Jersey Group 2

No. 6 Middle Township vs. No. 11 Pennsauken Tech, today, 7

No. 14 Lower Cape May at No. 3 Haddonfield, today, 7

No. 16 Oakcrest at No. 1 Camden, today, 7

Bracketology: This section is Camden’s to lose, simple as that. The Tigers are one of the best teams in the country and nobody in this section is even close.

South Jersey Group 1

No. 12 Buena at No. 5 Glassboro, Tuesday, 5:30

No. 16 Cape May Tech at No. 1 Paulsboro

Bracketology: It’s always best to go chalk in Group 1, and the top 4 of Paulsboro, Salem, Wildwood and Gloucester should produce the champion. Hard to see any of the higher seeds making it to the semifinals here.

Non-Public A South:

No. 5 St. Augustine Prep vs. No. 12 Notre Dame, Wednesday, 6

Bracketology: The Hermits are on the same side as No. 1 Red Bank Catholic, but don’t count Prep out. This is a very good team that is rounding into form with a lot of young guys who are plenty hungry after coming up short against Mainland in the CAL Tournament final. Either Camden Catholic or Paul VI vs. RBC could be an interesting quarterfinal. If Prep wins its opening-round game, it could face a long bus ride to No. 4 St. Joseph-Metuchen, if the seeds play out.

Non-Public B South:

No. 2 St. Joseph Academy, first-round bye

No. 4 Holy Spirit vs. No. 13 Princeton Day, Wednesday, 6

No. 9 Wildwood Catholic at No. 8 Gloucester Catholic, Wednesday, 4:30

Bracketology: The road to a title goes through No. 1 Trenton Catholic, but both St. Joseph and Holy Spirit have something to prove after getting knocked out in the CAL semis. Either team is capable of going on a run to the championship game of this bracket.

GIRLS

South Jersey Group 4:

No. 8 Egg Harbor Township vs. No. 9 Toms River East, today, 5

No. 10 Atlantic City at No. 7 Kingsway, today, TBD

No. 12 Vineland at No. 5 Toms River North

Bracketology: Cherokee is the No. 1 seed, and for good reason. The Chiefs have some great wins this year, including Lenape, Shawnee, Donovan Catholic and Eastern. They did lose to Shawnee recently, however, and that could be a rematch in the championship game. Don’t count out No. 3 Clearview, however, as the Pioneers have won six of their last eight.

South Jersey Group 3:

No. 1 Mainland vs. No. 16 Triton, Tuesday, TBD

No. 3 Ocean City vs. No. 14 Highland, Tuesday, TBD

No. 4 Absegami vs. No. 13 Westampton Tech, Tuesday, TBD

No. 7 Hammonton vs. No. 10 Burlington Township, Tuesday, 4

Bracketology: Mainland is the clear favorite here. The Stangs just won the CAL championship and their only two losses are to Paul VI and Manasquan, two of the top teams in the state. It will be interesting to see how Absegami and Hammonton fare, as both have some good young players but not a lot of playoff experience in their starting lineups.

South Jersey Group 2:

No. 3 Middle Township vs. No. 14 Overbrook, today, TBD

No. 16 Oakcrest at No. 1 Haddon Heights, today, TBD

Bracketology: Watch out for Middle. With Jada Elston, the Panthers are dangerous, and neither Haddon Heights nor No. 2 Sterling are overly dominant teams. Manchester Township also looms as a No. 5 seed, but the Hawks don’t have nearly the talent they did two years ago.

South Jersey Group 1:

No. 16 Buena at No. 1 Wildwood, Tuesday, TBD

Bracketology: Wildwood is a very good team and has the advantage of forcing lower seeds to take long bus rides for games. Watch out for No. 4 Woodstown, as the Wolverines have won eight of their last nine.

Non-Public A South:

No. 10 OLMA at No. 7 Mount St. Mary, Wednesday, TBD

Bracketology: No. 1 St. John Vianney vs. No. 2 Paul VI would be an epic championship game!

Non-Public B South:

No. 2 Wildwood Catholic, first-round bye

No. 8 Holy Spirit vs. No. 9 Mater Dei, Wednesday, 4

Bracketology: If Spirit can get out of the first round they’ll have a huge challenge in the quarterfinals against No. 1 Rutgers Prep. Wildwood Catholic can shoot the 3, and the Crusaders made a run to the CAL championship game this past weekend. No. 3 Gloucester Catholic has 19 wins, including six of its last eight.