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Wildwood Catholic Should Begin Next Season No. 1 in South Jersey Boys’ Basketball

Wildwood Catholic Should Begin Next Season No. 1 in South Jersey Boys’ Basketball
It’s never too early to look into next year in South Jersey boys’ basketball. Don’t be surprised if the team that ended up No. 1 this year will start that way next season.
 
That would be Wildwood Catholic, which went 27-2 and was the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey. The Crusaders won the overall Cape Atlantic League championship and advanced to the South Jersey Non-Public B championship before losing to Ranney, 54-50 in overtime.
 
That is a Ranney team that finished No. 1 in the state after winning the Tournament of Champions title.
 
The only other loss was a 57-51 defeat to Camden on Dec. 27. After that Wildwood Catholic won 22 in a row before the season ended with the loss to Ranney.
 
Wildwood Catholic was led by 6-7 junior Taj Thweatt, who averaged 20.7 points and 10.2 rebounds. He was considered South Jersey’s best player this season and won’t want to relinquish that title next year. In addition, 6-6 junior Jahlil White, who averaged 18.5 points, is also back as is Jacob Hopping, a 6-3 junior who averaged 14.2 points.
 
And if that isn’t enough firepower coming back next year for coach Dave DeWeese’s team, the Cruaders also saw current Lower Cape May sophomore guard Martin Anguelov transfer in late January to Lower Cape May.
 
As a freshman, Anguelov helped lead Lower Cape May into the South Jersey Group 2 championship, where the Tigers lost to Haddonfield.
 
In 15 games this past season for Lower Cape May Anguelov averaged 21.7 points. He was ineligible to compete for Wildwood Catholic this past season due to NJSIAA transfer rules, but will be ready to go next year.
 
So the Crusaders will be the overwhelming favorite. The one team that could mount a challenge to Wildwood Catholic next season is the only team from the seven-county South Jersey area to beat the Crusaders, Camden.
 
This was a strange year for Camden. The Panthers might have played the toughest schedule in South Jersey. They went 17-10 and lost to Haddonfield 69-67 in overtime in the South Jersey Group 2 final.
 
While that was one of the best games in recent South Jersey history, Camden won’t look back on it fondly after leading by 11 points with under two minutes left in regulation, only to allow the Bulldogs to storm back.
 
While Camden will miss 6-1 senior Ethan Tarte, the Panthers have one of the best current juniors, in 6-9 Lance Ware and one of the top sophomores in Jerome Brewer, who had 22 points in the sectional final loss to Haddonfield.
 
Taquan Woodley, a 6-7 sophomore, who had 11 points and 14 rebounds in the sectional final against Haddonfield, will give Camden one of the top frontcourts in the state next season.
 
Camden no doubt gain a lot by the tough schedule it played and at this points, seems like the best challenger to what should be a heavily favored Wildwood Catholic team to remain as the best in South Jersey next year.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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