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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

St. Joe rolls past WW Cath.

Rodriguez tops 1,000 points

THG/Dan Russoman. T o purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. Shamar Cox (3) launches a shot late in St. Joseph Academy’s game at St. Augustine Prep last week. The Wildcats lost, snapping a five-game win streak.

BUENA—St. Joseph Academy senior Arnaldo Rodriguez recorded the 1,000th point of his career last week, helping the Wildcats roll past Cape Atlantic League (CAL) rival Wildwood Catholic 84-54 at Buena Middle School.

Rodriguez’s milestone basket came in the first half of the Wildcats win, as he helped St. Joe take control of the matchup early.

“It feels good [to reach 1,000 points],” Rodriguez said after the game.

“Getting 1,000 was one of my goals when I came to St. Joe and I’m just lucky to have so many good teammates to help me reach it,” he said.

The milestone was also special because it came against a Wildwood Catholic team that has often played well against St. Joseph.

“We’ve had some great games against them and they’ve been tough to beat, so it means a little more coming against them,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has been an important piece of the Wildcats roster for four seasons.

“I can’t say enough about what Arnaldo has meant to our program. He’s a kid who has bought in 100 percent to what we’re trying to do here. He played a little varsity as a freshman and every season his role has just grown and he’s responded with leadership and outstanding play for us,” St. Joseph coach Paul Rodio said.

Against Wildwood Catholic, Rodriguez scored 22 points, adding five rebounds and five assists as St. Joseph cruised to its sixth win in seven games.

“We’re playing very good basketball right now. I think the younger guys are getting more comfortable and we’re getting better every day. This was a big win for us,” Rodriguez said.

Devon Theophile, another St. Joe senior, had an excellent game, scoring a game-high 30 points and adding 18 rebounds.

“Devon’s playing great right now. He’s really matured as a player and he’s dominating every night,” Rodio said.

Freshman guard Will Spross added 10 points for the Wildcats, while Shamar Cox and Aidan Hopson each had six.

Two nights after the win against Wildwood Catholic, St. Joe went on the road to Egg Harbor Twp. (EHT) and scored an important CAL win, defeating the host Eagles 77-56.

EHT is regarded not only as a contender for the CAL title this season, but also one of the top teams in the region.

St. Joe overcame a slow start to take control in the second quarter and then pulled away in the final two periods.

“We wanted to send a message that we should be seen as one of the better teams in the CAL and I think we did that tonight,” Rodio said.

Theophile had another strong game for St. Joseph, scoring 25 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. Rodriguez added 26 points and Cox scored 13 in the win.

St. Joe’s week ended with a disappointing 70-32 loss at St. Augustine Prep.

That defeat snapped a five-game win streak for the Wildcats, who were overmatched by the Hermits from start to finish.

St. Augustine led 19-12 after a quarter and the Hermits shut out St. Joe in the second period, all but sealing the win.

“We just did not play well. It’s disappointing because we’d been playing very well for a few weeks. Hopefully, we’ll put it behind us and move on quickly because we have a huge week ahead,” Rodio said.

Rodriguez led the Wildcats with 10 points in the loss while Spross added nine.

Earlier this week, St. Joseph hosted Ocean City, but that game ended too late for this edition.

On January 19, the Wildcats visit Holy Spirit at 6 p.m. and on January 13, St. Joseph visits rival Hammonton at 5:30 p.m.

“We have a really tough week ahead of us. Hopefully, we can bounce back and play the way we’re capable of playing. I think our team can be really, really good,’ Rodio said.

St. Joseph began this week with a 7-5 record and was in second place in the CAL National Davison standings behind St. Augustine.


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