By BRIAN CUNNIFF
It appears the Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team will get the chance to play for a state championship, at least as of late Thursday afternoon anyway.
With major professional sports leagues and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament suspended and/or canceled due to fears about COVID-19, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has pressed on and is doing its best to complete its state championship basketball games this weekend.
Wildwood Catholic is set to face Roselle Catholic in the state Non-Public B title game on Saturday at 6 p.m. at RWJ Barnabas Health Arena on the campus of Toms River North High School, officials at Wildwood Catholic have confirmed. The Crusaders landed in the state championship game thanks to an 80-67 win over Rutgers Prep in the sectional title game on Wednesday. Roselle Catholic beat Gill St. Bernard in the North Jersey sectional title game.
“Who knows what might happen between now and Saturday night but we’re going to practice and prepare as if we’re playing the game,” Wildwood Catholic coach Dave DeWeese said. “Our kids are very excited to get an opportunity to play the game.”
No fans will be permitted to attend the game. Only players, coaches, school administrators and select members of the media. Coastal Broadcasting will make every attempt to gain clearance from the NJSIAA to broadcast the contest live on 98.7 The Coast radio.
Some state semifinal games in other enrollment groups were canceled Thursday when a handful of schools decided not to participate. Atlantic City was affected in Group IV when its opponent, South Brunswick, made the decision not to play early Thursday. Other games, including Wednesday’s state Group III girls semifinal between Ocean City and Westampton Tech, were scheduled to be played but without fans present.
The Non-Public boys championships were originally scheduled to be played Saturday at Rutgers University but the institution temporarily shut down all campus activities earlier this week. The games were then briefly set to be played at Phillipsburg High School, until Phillipsburg announced late Wednesday that it would no longer serve as host.
St. Augustine Prep will also play at RWJ Barnabas Arena Saturday. The Hermits will take on Bergen Catholic in the state Non-Public A title game at 8 p.m.