NJSIAA Group 1 Sectional Tournament Preview

photo by: Marco Morales

As the New Jersey Group 1 playoffs arrive, anticipation builds for what promises to be a captivating showdown across all sections. Each bracket boasts its own storylines, standout teams, and players eager to etch their names into the books. This preview dives into the key matchups, contenders, and players that could define the path to the championship. With the regular season's dust settled, the stage is set for a series of battles that will test the mettle of Group 1's finest.

Central Jersey : Central Jersey Group 1 is home to some solid teams all around the bracket. The #1 seeded Henry Hudson has had an impressive season thus far and is looking to capitalize on the opportunity of being the top seed in this tournament. Junior guard Jack Fitzpatrick has been one of the best offensive players in the state this season, averaging 22.2 PPG. Fitzpatrick's contribution proves to be a key cog in the success of Henry Hudson's success this season.

Shore comes in at the #2 seed for the tournament. Shore started off the season hot with an 11-1 record through their first 12 games, but finished the season on a more disappointing note, going 6-7 to finish the regular season. Shore is looking to get some of that consistency back that they had earlier in the season, as they try and make a deep run in this bracket.

Although they're the #3 seed, College Achieve Asbury seems to be the favorite to win the bracket. CA has been tried and tested all season, having one of the toughest schedules all year. College Achieve holds wins over top teams in the state, including: Middle Township, St. Peter's Prep, and Ramapo. Led by senior guard Deuce Jones, College Achieve is primed to have a legit shot at taking home the championship.


South Jersey: South Jersey Group 1 makes for an interesting bracket, as there are multiple teams that have a real shot at winning it all. #1 seeded Kipp Cooper Norcross Academy is looking to get back on track, coming into the tournament on a 4 game losing streak. Prior to that, KCNA went on a 14-1 stretch. Leading the pack are a junior tandem of Jeremiah Shelton, averaging 14 PPG, and Tahmir Dixon, averaging 12 PPG and 11 REB/G.

#2 Pitman is coming off of a tough loss in the semi-finals of the Tri-County Tournament, losing a nailbiter to Timber Creek 63-61. Pitman has been solid all season, compiling a 19-7 record, going 9-1 in their division. Led one of the groups top scorers, junior Elijah Crispin who averages 19 PPG, Pitman is looking to show that they are legit contenders in the SJG1 bracket. 

After a rough start to the season, #3 Salem has been putting it all together as of late. Salem has won 9 of their last 11 games, most recently dropping a 2-point loss to Delsea in the Tri-County Tournament semis. A senior duo of Jabez Dejesus (16.5 PPG) and Anthony Farmer (19.6 PPG) gives this Salem team to a good shot to win the SJG1 Tournament. 


North Jersey, Section 1: Paterson Charter leads this bracket as the #1 seed. Paterson Charter is 20-3 on the season, only losing those 3 games by a combined total 13 points, showing this team can very well have been undefeated. The top scorers on this squad are Ka'Juan Gee (16 PPG) and junior guard Giovanny Figueroa (12.7 PPG). Paterson Charter looks to continue their impressive season by going all the way.

#2 Creskill has struggled throughout the season, losing a handful of close games, resulting in a 14-12 record. They were on the losing end of games decided by 5 points or less 6 times this season, which would have seen their record improve mightily if they had come out on the other side. Senior guards Marko Radovich and Jack Hayward, both whom average 13 PPG, look to right the ship and round up some wins when it matters most.

#3 New Milford is looking for a better result to the start this tournament, as they have lost in the first round of their last 3 tournaments this season. In better news, they are coming into the tournament on a 3 game win-streak. Positive momentum has proved to be key going into must-win situations. Junior guard Luis Placido (17.3 PPG) has given New Milford a unique spark that has help lead them to an 18-7 record on the season. 


North Jersey, Section 2: 

Hoboken comes into this tournament as the #1 seed. The Redwings come into the tournament winning 9 of their last 10, most recently falling to Bayonne 50-48 in the Hudson County Tournament. Lamir Boxley and Nick Petruzelli, both sitting around 13 PPG, lead the way for the #1 seed. After starting the season 1-3, Hoboken has since compiled a 18-2 record and looks to take that momentum into the NJS2G3 Tournament.

#2 seeded Glen Ridge has had a tough season with plenty of ups and downs. The Ridgers look to throw all that out the window as they have a fresh slate with a top seed in this tournament. Their leading scorer Jacob Javier (11 PPG) has been a big help for Glen Ridge this season, coming up big in multiple wins. Look for Glen Ridge to play with a chip on their shoulder and show why they are deserving of the #2 seed. 

#3 Newark Tech has put together another solid season on the heels of a 2022-23 Group 1 Championship appearance. The Terriers have compiled a 14-9 record so far. It can be argued that they have had the hardest schedule in this bracket, with 5 of their 9 losses coming from Top 20 programs in the state like Ramapo, St. Benedicts and Montclair Immaculate. Junior Malcom Bragg has been a star for the Terriers, averaging 18.2 PPG and dropping 20+ points 8 times this season. Although they are seeded at #3, look for Newark Tech to make some serious noise in this bracket.