The regular season has not gone the way the Timber Creek Regional High School boys basketball team has hoped. Ditto for Highland.
However, one of those teams is guaranteed a spot in the second round of the playoffs.
The NJSIAA released the boys and girls basketball brackets, revealing that five of the six local teams have qualified for the playoffs. The South Jersey Group 3 boys bracket is of particular interest as it features No. 4 Timber Creek hosting No. 13 Highland.
Despite the major difference in ranking, these teams have similar seasons. Timber Creek – which is just now getting healthy is just 7-10 on the season, but benefited under the new power-point system. The Chargers gained valuable points by taking on a host of Group 4 schools in the Olympic Conference.
Meanwhile, Highland (7-13) features a lot of youth and has been led by sophomore Naquan Council, who has scored in double digits the last seven games. The playoff game is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26.
The winner of the local showdown will face No. 5 Delsea/No. 12 Oakcrest in the quarterfinals.
Triton drew a No. 7 seed in the Group 4 tournament and will open at home against Egg Harbor Township (10-8). With a victory, the Mustangs (13-5) would advance to the second round to take on the winner of No. 2 Lenape and No. 15 Washington Township.
On the girls side, Timber Creek is the highest local seed, earning a No. 6 position in Group 3. The Chargers (8-10) will host No. 11 GCIT. Timber Creek is led by sophomore guard Brittany Martin who has scored 20 or more points in five games this season.
Highland will have to find success on the road against an opponent it has struggled against. The No. 13 Tartans will travel to face No. 4 Kingsway. The Dragons have defeated the Tartans twice in Tri-County Conference play, including a 47-24 victory last week.
If Highland can pull the upset it would take on No. 5 Delsea/No. 12 Pinelands in the quarterfinals.
Triton just missed out on the postseason, finishing 17th in Group 4 power points.