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Woodbury’s Noel Closes Out a...

Woodbury’s Noel Closes Out a... Woodbury’s Noel Closes Out a Dominating Season with a Strong All-Star Performance

It was the final event of the high school basketball season and was a nice final memory for many of the top senior players in South Jersey.

On Sunday, The West defeated the East, 132-127 in the 40th annual Albert J. Carino Basketball Club of South Jersey all-star game before a packed house at Rutgers Camden.

As the score indicates, there wasn’t a whole lot of defense being played.

A pair of Burlington County players took home MVP honors. Harrison Rieger of Moorestown was the MVP of the West while Hafeez Melvin of Maple Shade earned East MVP honors. Both scored 17 points.

For the 6-foot-3 Rieger, it was a time to shine after an underrated senior season in which he averaged 11.4 points. Melvin, Maple Shade’s 6-0 guard, averaged 24 points.

Also scoring 17 points for the winning West squad was Ja’Zere Noel, Woodbury’s 6-foot-5 forward was playing as well as any player in South Jersey toward the end of the season. He was a consensus All-South Jersey selection.

This season Noel averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds and was the driving force of Woodbury’s South Jersey Group 1 championship team.

After scoring 11 points in Woodbury’s opening 72-25 South Jersey Group 1 playoff win over Leap Academy Noel, went on fire.

He had 36 points and 15 rebounds in a 63-48 quarterfinal win over Pitman. Noel added 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a 70-45 semifinal over Wildwood.

Then in the sectional final, against Woodbury’s fiercest rival Noel had 16 points and five rebounds in a 66-49 win over defending South Jersey champion Paulsboro. Woodbury took a 19-7 first quarter lead and never allowed Paulsboro in the game.

Noel then exploded for 30 points and nine rebounds in Woodbury’s state semifinal win over Burlington. In his final high school game, Noel totaled 27 points and nine rebounds in a 69-54 state championship loss to Verona.

During the postseason he averaged 22.8 points and 7 rebounds saving his best for the end of his high school career.

The all-star game was just icing on the cake, but Noel still showed his scoring ability even in a relaxed setting.

One of the all-star assistant coaches was Woodbury head coach Justin Barringer, who got to see his star player suit up one final time and leave one lasting impression on how dangerous of a scorer he turned out to be and the catalyst in earning Woodbury a South Jersey championship.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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