Staff Writer

Really good basketball teams have stars who can fill up the stat sheet and provide the scoring necessary to lift their team to clutch tournament-time victories. But there are other players who often go unnoticed who do a lot of the dirty work that helps their team succeed in the postseason. They might grab a rebound at a critical time, force a turnover, get in the right position to take a charge late in the game, or just provide their coach with quality minutes off the bench so a key starter can get a minute or two of rest.

There are eight teams remaining in the Cape-Atlantic League Tournament, which continues this week with the boys semifinals on Tuesday night at Millville and the girls semifinals Wednesday night at Atlantic City High.

Here’s a look at one player on each of the remaining teams who has gotten little to no press this season but who could play a huge factor in getting their respective team to the championship game on Saturday at Egg Harbor Township High.


Mainland (22-2): Junior F Shaun Williamson. You don’t get to 22-2 relying solely on Cohen Cook and Tim Travagline. The Mustangs — the defending tournament champion — have gotten some key contributions from some lesser known players, particularly Williamson. Mainland has a relatively small lineup aside from forward Mawali Osunniyi, so it’s important that some of their other forwards chip in when and where they can. Williamson only averages about four points per game, but he’s an energy guy and the Stangs are a different team defensively when he’s on the floor.

Christian Rando’s ability to hit the 3-pointer could be a difference maker for Egg Harbor Township when the Eagles take on Mainland in the Cape-Atlantic League semifinals. (South Jersey Glory Days photo/Sully)

Egg Harbor Township (21-5): Senior F Christian Rando. The quarterback for the Eagles in the fall, Rando kind of gets overlooked during the basketball season, but he’s been pretty consistent all year and has had games where he’s put up double-digit points, including 14 in EHT’s opening-round CAL win over Holy Spirit. He brings huge value as a three-point shooter, having made 38 this season. He’s had two games in which he’s hit four long-range shots, and a couple of those could be the difference against Mainland.

St. Augustine Prep (22-4): Senior C Ife Okebiorun. Guys such as Elijah Brown, Semaj Bethea and Ethan Fox garner a lot of attention, and rightfully so, for their ability to put the ball in the net, but the big fella is a huge key in the paint for the Hermits, particularly in a league that doesn’t have a lot of big men. He’s 6-foot-9, and although he doesn’t score a ton, he grabs a bunch of rebounds and that helps give the Hermits extra possessions. He’s had nine games this year with double-digit rebounds, including 18 in a tournament win over Wildwood Catholic.

Middle Township (16-10): Sophomore F Re Ale Basquine. Here’s a guy who can fill up the scoresheet (he’s had four games in which he’s scored at least 17 points) but his best ability is his availability. He’s played in all 26 games for the Panthers and has contributed 270 points, 219 rebounds, 37 assists and 17 steals.


Mainland: Senior F Jane Meade. Nearly all of Mainland’s offensive production comes from its starting five, but Meade brings a bit of those intangibles to the court. She’s a senior, the only one on Mainland’s roster, and is a soccer star who has played in a ton of big games on the pitch during her high school career. She can be a calming element to Mainland’s lineup in tense postseason games.

Senior Zashirah Jackson provides a big-time spark for Atlantic City on the defensive end of the floor, leading the team with 72 steals this season. (South Jersey Glory Days photo/Sully)

Atlantic City (18-4): Senior G Zashirah Jackson. Everybody seems to get overlooked in the shadow of star senior Quanirah Montague, but no one more so than Jackson. She’s had an outstanding season (71 rebounds, 30 assists) and is one of the reasons the Vikings are so good defensively. She leads the team with 72 steals.

Middle Township (19-7): Junior G Hannah Cappelletti. The former Ocean City Red Raider is an outstanding three-point shooter, and in the postseason having the ability to hit a couple of threes can completely turn a game around. Capp has 34 threes this year and has hit as many as four in a game once and three in a game on three other occasions. With so much attention being paid to Jada Elston, Capp could be the beneficiary, waiting on the outside when Elston drives the lane to knock down open threes.

Wildwood Catholic Academy (21-4): Junior C Ava Vogdes. She’s really come alive in the CAL Tournament. She posted double-digit points just twice all year, but in the last two games — wins over Lower Cape May and Ocean City — Vogdes has gone for 13 and 12 points, respectively. The 6-footer has also racked up 25 rebounds and two blocked shots in the tournament so far. Her ability to score and get rebounds in the paint will take some pressure off guards Kaci Mikulski and Carly Murphy, and open them up for the 3-point shots they love to take.

Here’s a look at the schedule this week:

[Tuesday at Millville High, boys semifinals] 5 p.m. Mainland vs. EHT; 7 p.m. St. Augustine Prep vs. Middle Township.

[Wednesday at Atlantic City High, girls semifinals] 5 p.m. Middle Township vs. Atlantic City; 7 p.m. Mainland vs. Wildwood Catholic Academy.

Contact Dave O’Sullivan:; on Twitter @GDsullysays