By Jerome Michaels
SJSports Special Correspondent
When the Hornets from Pemberton met Holy Cross at their first game, the Hornets were right in the middle of their seven game winning streak to start the season. Pemberton won that game against the Lancers but hit a bump in the road losing their next six games. Holy Cross, before this game, had loss four out of their last five games and was looking to win this Burlington County Liberty Division matchup. Holy Cross would even the series as they won a tight game by a 52-50 score. Mike Coppola led all scorers with 22 points for the Lancers.
Both of these teams have secured a position in the upcoming group tournament. Both teams are also scheduled to play winnable first round match-ups, but it’s the next round opponents that may be a game that would end their season. If either one of these teams survive to the next round, the number one seeded team will be waiting to play them next. The eighth seeded Lancers will first have to get by Paul VI, seeded ninth, to earn a chance to defeat the number one seeded Fighting Irish from Camden Catholic. Also with the number one position in Group 3, Woodrow Wilson will be waiting for the winner of the Pemberton (17th seed) versus Lakewood (16th seed) preliminary round.
With all playoff scenarios now out of the way, Mike Coppola was a man on a mission of locking down this divisional game. Coppola would spark the Lancers to get the momentum started. Pemberton would rebound and take a 3-point lead after one quarter, only to see that lead disappear at the half. Brandon Bell and Cornel Jones’ efforts for the Hornet help even the score at the half. The final quarter seems to always decide a game as Wayne Taylor and Nick Rancani help out on the boards. But it would be Mike Coppola and his game high 22 points that really decided this game for Holy Cross. Chad Cavan also added 10 points for the Lancers. Dareis Newton’s 16 team high points led Pemberton.