February a great month again for hoop fans

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AChoops Matt Strabuk/All eyes will be on the Atlantic City Vikings and reserve forward Bryan Nolan, here going up for a shot against Holy Spirit, when the Vikings host St. Augustine and Pleasantville in the Battle by the Bay Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at ACHS. February starts on Saturday – and, despite the weather forecast, area basketball fans are smiling.

Great basketball events start this weekend – on Jan. 31, actually. The Battle by the Bay is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at ACHS. It is one of the state’s premier boys basketball events, which still includes one girls game.

On Friday night, Sanford DE will face Rancocas Valley at 6 p.m. with Atlantic City taking on St. Augustine Prep in the nightcap.

A tripleheader begins on Saturday at 11am with the Ocean City girls tangling with Point Pleasant Boro. After that come two boys games – Medford Tech vs a very good Pitman team and Linden taking on Southern Regional.

The evening doubleheader on Saturday starting at 5 matches Our Savior against Cape Henry VA and then Holy Spirit against Wildwood Catholic.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Cape Henry meets Newark Tech, one of the team’s that defeated Atlantic City, at noon and the event wraps up with Atlantic City taking on Pleasantville, with the highly popular cheerleader throw-down at halftime.

A week later (Feb. 8) the girls will play in the War vs The Shore at Mainland and the boys will play in the Shoot Down Cancer Classic (Feb. 8-9) at St. Augustine Prep. Both have different formats.

At Mainland, they have decided to play all the games in one day, using both Mainland gyms. And each game will feature a CAL team against a Shore Conference team, hence, the new name.

In the main gym at noon, Hammonton will play Shore Regional, followed by Wildwood Catholic vs. Toms River East, Cedar Creek vs. Central and Mainland vs. Southern Regional.

In the auxiliary gym at 12:30, Absegami meets Pinelands, followed by St. Joseph vs. Colts Neck and Middle Township against Toms River South. If weather interferes on Feb. 8, games will be postponed 24 hours.

The Shoot Down Cancer Classic used to be the Olympic-Cape Challenge at St. Augustine Prep. But organizers eliminated their ties with the two leagues, opening the event to teams from other leagues, though there are still a lot of CAL and Olympic Conference teams.

The first game at The Prep on Feb. 8 pits Egg Harbor Township against Timber Creek at 10 a.m., followed by Ocean City vs. Washington Township, Millville against Cherry Hill East, Atlantic City vs. Camden, Camden Catholic playing Delsea, St. Augustine vs. Holy Spirit and Middle Township against Cherry Hill West.

On Sunday Feb. 9, Cedar Creek plays Seneca at 11 a.m., followed by Bridgeton against Winslow Township, Pleasantville vs. Williamstown, St. Joseph playing Eastern and Wildwood Catholic tangling with Cherokee.

Later in February, the Cape-Atlantic League Tournament will begin with eight first round games (four boys, four girls) in eight different gyms on Feb. 24. Two days later, at The Prep, the four girls winners will play in the semifinals. On Feb. 27 the boys semifinals will be at Hammonton. And the championship doubleheader will be played at noon on Saturday, Mar. 1 at Richard Stockton College.

All this basketball in one month, just a few minutes from where you live. And, if wrestling is your bag, there is the NJSIAA Team Tournament followed by the District 32 Tournament and NJSIAA state tournament in Atlantic City.

The state basketball tournament actually begins on Mar. 3 and there will be many local teams playing. But, until then, there is some great basketball. Fans from around South Jersey and the rest of the state will have to travel to these events. But they are right in your backyard.

One more thing about special events – THE SUPER BOWL IS BEING PLAYED IN NEW JERSEY!

Post that on your facebook, tweet it out to your followers and send it to the goofballs at Fox, NBC, CBS, the NFL Network and other media outlets who keep saying it is in New York. They had a chance to build a stadium for the Giants and Jets in New York and they didn’t do it. New Jersey built the stadium and the Broncos, Seahawks and halftime performer Bruno Mars are coming to The Garden State for Sunday’s game.

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