Staff Writer
ABSECON — It was hard to tell when the cheering was louder on Sunday night during the Seagull Classic finale at Holy Spirit High School — when it became known the Eagles had upset the Chicago Bears in the NFL playoffs, or when visiting Pleasantville started throwing down monster dunks during a 34-point fourth quarter that turned a close game against host Holy Spirit into an 87-65 blowout.
The scrappy Spartans hung close to the explosive Greyhounds throughout the first three quarters, and trailed just 51-48 after Jack Cella tipped in a missed 3-pointer late in the third. But Pleasantville owned the fourth quarter, outscoring the Spartans 34-17. All the Greyhounds needed to do was get the festivities of having two players reach 1,000 career points in the same game out of the way. Once they relaxed, Pleasantville put an exclamation point on a victory that helped it snap a two-game losing streak.

Senior guard Sahmir Jones, right, reacts after scoring and getting the foul during the fourth quarter of Pleasantville’s win over Holy Spirit at the Seagull Classic. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O’Sullivan)

Senior guard Sahmir Jones, and Jalen Freeman — who transferred in from Middle Township this season — each hit the 1,000 career points mark on free throws in the third quarter, with Jones’ coming early on and Freeman’s with 13 seconds left in the frame. Then came the offensive onslaught, which was sparked by relentless defensive pressure by Pleasantville (5-3).
“It was a big night for our whole team and our whole community, and me and Jalen specifically. We were kind of pressing in the first half to see who would get it first and how long it would take to get it, but once we both got it the game started rolling and we ended up blowing them out,” Jones said. “Going into the fourth, we both got it, so we were like, ‘let’s go, let’s not press and let’s get into the system, get everyone involved, pick up the speed and let’s finish strong.’ Our team never really got down (with recent losses) because we know what we’re capable of. We just needed to come out and perform. We knew there was going to be a big crowd here, so we just wanted to come out and perform for our city.”
“It’s exciting. Since freshman year I’ve been thinking about it,” Freeman said of scoring his 1,000th point. “I think it was big for the team since we were on a two-game losing streak. I think we were kind of trying to get the 1,000 point thing out of the way, and once that happened we flipped the switch.”

Pleasantville’s Elijah Jones slams home a dunk during a 34-point fourth-quarter outburst by the Greyhounds. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O’Sullivan)

Holy Spirit (6-3) stayed in it throughout the first half and third quarter thanks to its sharp-shooting from the outside and its hustle getting rebounds. The Spartans connected on eight 3-pointers, with Santino Georgio collecting four of them, and crashed the boards to get 18 offensive rebounds, which led to 17 second-chance points. But the Spartans were forced into 18 turnovers, and Pleasantville capitalized in a big way by scoring 29 points off those turnovers. The Greyhounds had all their talents on display in the fourth quarter, raining threes and getting huge dunks from guys like Jacob Valeus and Elijah Jones. Freeman and Sahmir Jones led the way offensively, scoring 22 and 21 points, respectively, while Valeus and Elijah Jones each added 15, helping Pleasantville get some revenge on the Spartans after Holy Spirit rallied to beat the Greyhounds in last year’s Seagull Classic.
“We walked in and we were like, ‘we can’t go out like we did last year,'” Sahmir Jones said. “That was pretty ugly and that was a tough locker room after the game , so we just wanted to come in, make ourselves happy and get a winning streak going.”
“(Coach Butch Warner) said we had to stop leaving their shooters open and strap up on defense, and that’s what we did,” Freeman added. “Coach is big on defense and pressure, and if we keep doing it all game it’s going to wear them down.”
Lenape 54, Ocean City 32 (girls): Lenape started off the Sunday session with a convincing win over Ocean City, as Shannon Mulroy (15 points), Olivia Johnstone (13) and Regan King (11) were all in double figures in scoring. The Indians’ defense also limited the Red Raiders to just 21 percent shooting, as Lenape jumped out to a 21-3 first-quarter lead and led 30-15 at halftime. Savanna Holt led Ocean City with 12 points while Danielle Donoghue and Emma Finnegan each chipped in with seven.
Ocean City 66, Howell 56 (boys): The Red Raiders boys team fared much better, putting four players in double figures and outscoring the Rebels 21-6 in the final quarter to break the game open. Gannon Brady exploded for 25 points while adding four rebounds and four assists, and point guard Joey Sacco added 13 points. Donovan Graham and Luke Varallo put in 11 and 10, respectively, and the Red Raiders committed just 13 turnovers while forcing Howell into 22.
Wildwood Catholic 56, The Patrick School 42 (boys): Junior forward Taj Thweatt was much more than a fatigued Celtics squad could handle, as he poured in 30 points and added 13 rebounds and three blocks to help the Crusaders take care of St. Pat’s, which was playing its second game in less than 24 hours after being Camden on Saturday night. Jahlil White added 18 points and seven rebounds as Wildwood Catholic improved to 8-1.
Bishop Eustace 48, Williamstown 43 (boys): This game featured four lead changes, and the score was tied five times, but the Crusaders had just enough in the final two minutes to come out with a five-point win. They had a huge advantage in the paint, outscoring Williamstown 24-6, and were led by Mattia Morina and Matt Kempter, who scored 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Contact Dave O’Sullivan:; on Twitter @GDsullysays