• Dan Russoman

Wildcats improve to 5-0


Ja’son Prevard takes a shot during last week’s win against League Bound Academy. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

RICHLAND—Ja’son Prevard had 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists as St. Joseph Academy’s boys basketball team overcame some sloppy play to defeat League Bound Academy 82-57 last week at St. Augustine Prep.


“Ja’son [Prevard] has stepped it up this year. He’s playing very well for us right now,” St. Joseph coach Paul Rodio said.


Prevard led a balanced offense for the Wildcats as every player who took the floor for St. Joe scored in the win.


“That’s what we’re looking for, everyone to contribute. We don’t have that one sort of ‘go-to’ guy like we’ve had in the past. This year, we need everyone to produce,” Rodio said.


Along with Prevard, junior Arnaldo Rodriguez continued his outstanding early-season play, also scoring 21 points for the Wildcats.


Majid Abdur-Rahim scored seven points in the first quarter as the Wildcats built a 20-12 lead. In the second period, Prevard had seven points and Rodriguez added five as St. Joseph stretched its advantage to 43-25.


The duo took control in the third quarter after League Bound Academy went on a 7-2 run, combining for 16 points in the quarter, including three dunks from Prevard and a pair of Rodriguez 3-pointers.


Senior Jahmeer Cartagena came off the bench to score seven points in the win and provide a spark when the Wildcats needed one.


“I can’t say enough about [Jahmeer] Cartagena,” Rodio said.


“He really picked us up and gave us a lift. To see him and [Qiani] Bowens run things like they did today, we’re going to need that,” Rodio said.


Later in the week, St. Joe went to Haddon Heights, where it defeated Pennsauken 83-47 in the Butch McLean Memorial Showcase.


Rodriguez connected on four 3-pointers, scoring a team-high 22 points. Abdur-Rahim added 16 and Prevard had 14 in the win.


Senior Darryl McGraw was solid at both ends of the floor, scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.


The two wins improved St. Joseph to 5-0 entering play this week.


“We’re getting it done, but we have a lot of room for improvement and we have to get better because out schedule the next two weeks is tough. This stretch we have coming up might be the hardest of the season, Deptford, Mainland and Haddonfield, then Hammonton the next night, followed by Egg Harbor Twp., then at Notre Dame and at Lower Cape May. So, if we don’t clean things up, I can see a major slide for us,” Rodio said.


Earlier this week, St. Joe hosted Deptford, but that game ended too late for this edition. On January 5, the Wildcats host Mainland at Hammonton Middle School at 7 p.m.