Three area girls’ basketball teams lead their sections in the race for the NJSIAA playoffs

With just two full weeks to go before the cutoff for the NJSIAA State Tournament in girls’ basketball, more than 40 schools are in playoff contention, with three teams siting atop their respective sections.

Neither Rutgers Prep (Non-Public South B) nor Colonia (Central Jersey Group 3) are surprises, but then there’s Woodbridge Academy (10-2), which leads the Central Jersey Group 1 section at the moment. Monroe also has a chance in Central Jersey Group 4.

The formula is the typical power point formula, but instead of the first 16 games on a team’s schedule counting toward the total, only the best 13 will count this year, which will likely alleviate problems because of COVID cancellations. That means a team’s worst scores would be dropped so that only the best 13 count.

Following is a section-by-section look at who’s in, who’s out, and their likely possibilities. We looked at the boys last week, and will take a closer look at both next weekend, heading into the final week before the cutoff.

Central Jersey Group 1: Twelve games in, GMC Gold-Division leader Woodbridge Academy is in the catbird’s seat at No. 1, leading second-place South Hunterdon 251-229, with one fewer game played. That’s good news for the Hornets as they try and secure a top-seed. Fellow GMC Gold member Somerset Tech (9-4) is fourth with 210 points, and Highland Park (5-9) helps round out the top eight with 127. Perth Amboy Tech (6-5, 122) is right behind them, with Manville and Dunellen in 12th and 13th, respectively.

Central Jersey Group 2: Middlesex is the highest-ranked area team at 11-2 and in fourth place, with 300 points. A top-seed is likely not in the cards, as state power Manasquan (15-3) has 431 points, but they could slide into the second or third positions, as New Providence (13-1) has 335 points and Holmdel (11-5) has 329. It’s possible a win Saturday at North Brunswick – the biggest school remaining on their schedule, a Group 4 at 9-5 – could get them closer. Finishing one or two spots higher would help them evade ‘Squan until a potential sectional final. Bound Brook (12-3) is right behind them in in 5th with 298 points, so they may also have the Crusaders to contend with. South River rounds out the top eight at 9-5 with 202 points, but Spotswood (9-5, 189) is nipping at their heels. Piscataway Tech (7-7, 145) is in 13th, followed by Metuchen (5-8, 131) in 14th.

Central Jersey Group 3: GMC White Division leader Colonia is fairly comfortably at the top of the pile, 15-2 with 343 power points. The next closest is Ewing (11-1, 294), but they haven’t played 13 games yet, so they can make up some ground. How much is the question. South Plainfield (6-7) has 198 points and is in 10th. JFK (7-5) sits in 12th, ahead of Somerville (6-7, 166).

Central Jersey Group 4: Monroe (9-2) – second in the GMC Red to St. Thomas Aquinas, even though they split this year – is just 33 points behind Jackson Memorial (12-2), trailing 326-293. But only playing 11 games to Jackson’s 14, the Falcons have two games in hand, with the highest 13 scores being counted; they can make up significant ground, and a top-seed is well within reach if they keep winning. East Brunswick (10-4, 282) sits in fourth, with four local teams occupying spots 6-9: North Brunswick (9-5, 257), Old Bridge (9-4, 243), South Brunswick (10-4, 227), and Montgomery (7-5, 219). Sayreville also checks in at 13th (4-10, 139).

Non-Public North A: The only are team here is Pingry, and the Big Blue sit in 7th at 5-8 with 176 points, in a section led by Immaculate Heart (14-3, 262).

Non-Public North B: Saddle River Day leads the pack here; the state’s No. 2 team last week, according to Following Morris Catholic and Lodi Immaculate is Gill St. Bernard’s in 4th at 9-3 with 251 points. They won’t catch Saddle River, but a third-seed to avoid SRD until a sectional final is a slight possibility, as they have only played 12 games and have a game in hand over Lodi Immaculate (10-4, 285). Wardlaw-Hartridge (1-10, 63) sits in 12th.

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 2: The only area team in this section is Bernards, which sits in 11th at 3-7 with 118 points. They’ll be in. The top team at the moment is Madison (11-4, 298).

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 3: Randolph is the overall No. 1 here at 10-5, with 319 points, and while all those North Jersey teams are good, the top four teams – which also include Chatham, Mendham and West Morris – all have five or six losses each. You have to go down to 6th for Snyder out of Jersey City to find a team with as few as two losses. That said, North Plainfield (4-8) is a bubble team at best, in 17th with 96 points, 13 out of contention at the moment.

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 4: Perennial power Franklin (9-3) isn’t likely to get a top seed here, even though they have a game in hand on leader Westfield (13-3), as they trail in power points 362 to 284. The question for the Warriors is can they maintain a two-seed; they are just five points ahead of third-place Bayonne (9-4), and then there’s Woodbridge (9-5, 252) in fourth. Oh, and don’t forget about Ridge (8-8, 250) right behind the Lady Barrons. Everything’s bunched up, and a game or two could sway things one way or another. Watchung Hills (8-3, 225) is sixth, followed by Hillsborough (8-6, 208). Toward the bottom of the bracket would be Edison (4-9, 140) in 13th, followed by Bridgewater-Raritan 92-13, 132) and JP Stevens (2-13, 132).

Non-Public South A: The leader hear is national power St. John Vianney, making this a tough section to get out of. If St. Thomas Aquinas were to do so, they’d be ding it from the six-spot if the cutoff were today. At 11-1, they have 273 points, with a game in hand on the teams above them, namely Camden Catholic (11-3) and Donovan Catholic (12-3), who are tied for 4th with 296 points. Mount St. Mary (9-5) is right behind them at 9-5, with 247 points. Immaculata is 9th with an 807 record and 245 points, while Mother Seton brings up the rear at 2-4, with 68 points.

Non-Public South B: No surprise here: Rutgers Prep – No. 1 in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten all year (and all last year, too, by the way) – is in first with a 12-1 mark and 380 power points, comfortably ahead of Wildwood Catholic 912-4, 345). Calvary Christian (9-2, 206) is in 7th, with Timothy Christian (4-7, 109) in 10th.

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