Staff Report

The Cape-Atlantic League Tournament for boys and girls basketball has a different format this year, as instead of the top eight teams, this year any team in the league could opt in. That meant play-in games in the opening round and now we’re at the “Sweet 16” which takes place tonight throughout the league at the home gym of the higher seed. Here’s a quick look at what has taken place so far, and who’s facing who tonight to get to the original best eight teams like in years past.

BOYS

PLAY-IN RESULTS: (16) Wildwood Catholic d. (17) Oakcrest, 89-72; (12) Pleasantville d. (21) Cape May Tech, 75-34; (13) Middle Township d. (20) Vineland, 52-42; (14) Holy Spirit d. (19) Buena Regional 67-31; (15) Cedar Creek d. (18) Bridgeton, 62-57.

SWEET 16 MATCHUPS

(16) Wildwood Catholic at (1) St. Augustine Prep: The Crusaders have to shoot the ball extremely well, but even if they do they’ll have trouble with Prep’s size inside.

(9) Hammonton at (8) Atlantic Tech: Probably the most intriguing matchup of the Sweet 16, this game should come down to the wire. The Blue Devils lean heavily on super sophomore Kenny Smith while ACIT counters with five seniors in the starting lineup.

(12) Pleasantville at (5) Millville: Quite the bus ride for the Greyhounds, but they can score so the Bolts better not overlook them.

(13) Middle Township at (4) Lower Cape May: The Caper Tigers have been dealing with some injuries and this is a good ol’ fashioned Cape May County rivalry game. Should be a fun one!

(14) Holy Spirit at (3) Egg Harbor Township: The Eagles have played a very demanding schedule and with guys like D.J. Germann and Jay-Nelly Reyes, they should be up to the task.

(11) Absegami at (6) Atlantic City: After a six-game winning streak, Atlantic City has gone just 2-3, so the Braves are hoping they are ripe for the taking. Not easy to beat the Vikings on their home floor, though.

(10) Ocean City at (7) St. Joseph Academy: Watch out for the Red Raiders, they might be under .500 but have started to get some guys back healthy again. If point guard Dylan Schlatter is in the lineup (he’s been sick most of this week) Ocean City certainly could pull the upset. They’ve gone toe-to-toe with St. Joe earlier this season.

(15) Cedar Creek at (2) Mainland: Taking down the Mustangs on their home floor is going to be a tall task for the Pirates. A lot of matchup problems for Cedar Creek defensively.

[Semifinal round scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Millville; Championship is Saturday, Feb. 18 at Egg Harbor Township]

GIRLS

PLAY-IN RESULTS: (16) Millville d. (17) Cape May Tech, 49-31; (14) Vineland d. (19) St. Joseph Academy, 84-27; (18) Atlantic Tech d. (15) Buena Regional, 35-28.

SWEET 16 MATCHUPS

(16) Millville at (1) Mainland: The Mustangs are simply too good and have too many scoring weapons not to make it out of this round.

(9) OLMA at (8) Bridgeton: OLMA scored a lopsided 61-24 win over the Bulldogs earlier in the season, but Bridgeton has been playing better of late. The Dogs nearly upset Ocean City at the end of January.

(12) Lower Cape May at (5) Wildwood Catholic: The Crusaders play so well in that tiny little gym they have, and if they come out hot from the outside it’s going to be a long night for the Caper Tigers.

(13) Cedar Creek at (4) Ocean City: It’s going to be a struggle for the Pirates to score, Ocean City is one of the best defensive teams in the league. Only two teams (Mainland and Wildwood) have scored more than 40 points against the Red Raiders.

(14) Vineland at (3) Middle Township: The Panthers, even though they have been dealing with some injuries, should be able to defend their home court and advance to the next round.

(11) Absegami at (6) Hammonton: So much depends on if Hammonton senior Emma Peretti can play. She’s been hobbled with an injury, and without her the Blue Devils struggle to score. Absegami sophomore point guard Reese Downey is one of the more dynamic players in the league and will be tough to stop.

(18) Atlantic Tech at (2) Atlantic City: The RedHawks simply don’t have anyone who can match up with Vikings senior 6-foot-5 forward Quanirah Montague.

(10) Egg Harbor Township at (7) Holy Spirit: This should be a really interesting game, as EHT just scored a win over the Spartans last week. Spirit plays relentless defense and always has the ability to blow a game open if the threes are falling, so EHT will have to really be on point defensively.

[Semifinals are Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Atlantic City; Championship is Saturday, Feb. 18 at Egg Harbor Township]