The Mater Dei boys basketball team earned another chance to play the No. 1 team in the state by beating Gloucester Catholic, 79-53, Wednesday in the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public B first round, but the Seraphs will have to take on the Patrick School Friday without their best player.

Senior 6-6 forward Elijah Barnes took a spill in the first half Wednesday and suffered a broken bone in his right forearm, according to Mater Dei coach Ben Gamble. The injury is a radial fracture that will keep Barnes out of action for six weeks, according to Barnes's father.

Mater Dei senior Elijah Barnes. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

Barnes, who is signed to play at Princeton beginning next season, scored 11 points in Mater Dei's 65-42 loss to the Patrick School on Jan. 7. Mater Dei did not have junior starter Kyle Cardaci in that first meeting and will not have Barnes - the team's leading scorer and rebounder - when the two teams meet in Elizabeth on Friday.

With his season over, Barnes wraps up a distinguished career in the Shore Conference that spans three programs four years and three programs. After playing as a freshman at Freehold Borough and as a sophomore at Central Regional, Barnes transferred to Mater Dei Prep, where he was a prominent part of two Shore Conference Tournament championship teams.

After securing a spot on the Shore Sports Network All-Shore Second Team as a junior, Barnes made another leap forward as a senior. He finished with averages of 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game this season as part of a balanced Seraphs starting lineup and rotation.

In the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals against Manasquan on Feb. 19, Barnes joined the 1,000-point club when he banked in a last-minute three-pointer that gave him exactly 1,000 points for his career. He finished his four years of high school basketball with 1,032 points.

 

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