March 26, 2008
Filing away another successful CAL winter sports season
By TOM WILLIAMS
High school basketball in New Jersey ended last week with a doubleheader in the Meadowlands. Three teams from the
Cape-Atlantic League - Ocean City's girls, Absegami's girls and Atlantic City's boys - won South Jersey championships.
The only thing left now are the CAL All Star Games at Ocean City High School on April 5 and the 2007-08 winter season
will find its permanent place in history.
However, before we put this CAL season into the books, it is time for our winter sports buffet, a list of the best of
the just completed season from one point of view.
So, here we go.
All Cape-Atlantic Boys: Ryan Brooks, Holy Spirit; Alex Nelson, Oakcrest; Josh Thompson, St. Augustine Prep; Travis
Washington, Hammonton; Norman White, St. Joseph.
All Cape-Atlantic Girls: Tara Booker, Absegami; Ashley Durham, Sacred Heart; Sara Mostafa, Absegami; Victoria Wermuth,
Lower Cape May; Nancy White, Ocean City.
Players of the Year: Ryan Brooks and Tara Booker.
The Early 2009-10 Boys Team: Muji McBride, Atlantic City; Tom McKeefrey, Lower Cape May; Isaiah Morton, St. Augustine;
Rashaun Rasheed, Atlantic City; Winston Rolls, Egg Harbor Township.
The Early 2009-10 Girls Team: Tiana Cannon, Atlantic City; Alicia Cox, Vineland; Jade Howard, St. Joseph; Tenisha Mobley,
Holy Spirit; Joanna Persiano, Atlantic City.
All Transfer Team: Hillary Drinovsky, Holy Spirit (from Barnegat); Tom McKeefrey, Lower Cape May; Brandon Pascucci, St.
Augustine (from Wildwood Catholic); Mike Shaughnessy, Mainland (from St. Augustine); Matt Whitworth, Ocean City (from
Chestnut Hill PA).
CAL Boys Coach of the Year: Nobody likes ties. But on rare occasions, a tie is the only answer. Because Atlantic City's
Gene Allen brought his young Vikings together after a terrible start and won a third South Jersey championship. And
because Hammonton's Joe Martino brought his school its first CAL basketball championship in 58 years. Because of their
respective success let's make it a tie for this year's selection.
CAL Girls Coach of the Year: Paul Baruffi took the Ocean City girls as far as they have ever gone, replacing some
valuable players who graduated and blending the new players into a second straight CAL champion and the school's second
South Jersey titlist. Special mention to Wildwood's Dave Troiano, who is no longer part of the CAL but whose six South
Jersey titles and four state titles are still the league's records. This year he notched his eighth overall South Jersey
3 Is The Magic Number: It is sort of rare for a team to play another team three times in one season. But, this year, it
happened all the time. In boys basketball, Holy Spirit-St. Augustine, Atlantic City-Vineland and Atlantic City-Mainland
were match-ups that happened three times. Among girls teams, Ocean City-Lower Cape May, St. Joseph-Sacred Heart and St.
Joseph-Wildwood Catholic all played three times. And, outside the CAL, the Wildwood girls won the South Jersey title by
beating Pitman, Gloucester and Salem. In all three cases, it was the third time this year the teams had met.
Best of the Pool: There is a lot of talk about how good the CAL is in basketball. And for good reason. At least one team
from the league has won a South Jersey championship for 38 straight years. But what about swimming? St. Augustine won
another state title, Egg Harbor Township took a South Jersey championship, both South Jersey coaches of the year
(Prep's Jon Stinson and EHT's Chris Denn) were from the CAL and 13 of the 28 swimmers selected All-South Jersey were
from the Cape-Atlantic League.
Injury of the Year: When Eric Williams went down in the first quarter of Mainland's game with Shawnee, the Mustangs were
winning. They lost that game to drop to 0-2 on the season and were 1-6 when Williams finally returned. Mainland went on
to an eight-game win streak, reached the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals and finished 17-10. But with Williams in the
lineup they were 16-5.
Shot of the Year: It was January 29, a few days before the New York Giants would put together a big upset win in the
Super Bowl. Vineland seemed to be on its way to an upswet win over Atlantic City. But Leavander Jones threw in a 27-foot
shot at the buzzer to give ACHS a 64-63 win. If Jones' shot does not go in, Vineland wins the division championship on
the tiebreaker and ties Hammonton for the conference title. But the shot went in and the Vikings won both of those
Sad Farewells: Two of the Cape-Atlantic League's most dedicated girls basketball coaches will not return next season.
Absegami's Greg Goodwin will leave with a 277-54 career record, including 11 division titles, nine conference
championships, five overall CAL titles, five South Jersey championships and two state titles. He took an average program
and has built it into the CAL program to which every other team is compared. And Roy Wright, who fittingly ended his
Lower Cape May career in the South Jersey championship game, was 133-119. He worked as hard at the job as anyone and he
did it 12 months a year. Wright helped develop many of his kids into college players and, more than any coach before or
since, brought a fashion sense to the sidelines. It will not seem the same without them.
The Cape-Atlantic League was great again in the 2007-08 winter season. There are many young players returning, so things
figure to be about as good next year. And it all starts in less than 40 weeks.
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