By Jerome Michaels
SJSports Staff Writer
This is always an exciting time…March Madness has begun for the area high schools, as they will compete for their version of the national title. The first round of the South Jersey Group IV boy’s playoff began with the Renegades from Shawnee hosting the eleventh seeded Vikings from Eastern. The sixth seeded Renegades, behind the shooting of Bill Kurtz, regained a second half deficit to pull out the 41-37 victory. Eastern’s late rally to upset the Renegades fell short as Kurtz’s clutch shooting earned a berth in the next round of the playoffs.
Bill Kurtz has been a one-man show with the ability of scoring a ton of points. During the start of this game, it was well known that another Shawnee basketball player would reach the 1,000 points plateau. Kurtz reached that goal and more as he was recognized for his achievements. But he knew that there was much more at stake, because the Vikings were looking for a much higher prize. Both of these teams wanted to be crowned the area’s group champs.
It was a slow start as only one point separated the two teams going into the half with Shawnee leading 16-15. Andrew Kirkland, scoring 11 points during this game, came up with some key baskets during the second half giving Eastern a lead heading into the final quarter. But too much Kurtz and his game high 29 points sealed the deal for Shawnee. Kurtz would score at will during the fourth quarter to pull ahead of Eastern for the win. Andrew Kirkland would finish with 11 points and Ruben Britt added 10 points for the Vikings.