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Boys Basketball Preview: South Jersey Group 2

Boys Basketball Preview: South Jersey Group 2

There are many NJSIAA South Jersey boy’s basketball Groups that appear totally up for grabs. South Jersey Group 2 isn’t one of them.

Group 2 has a number of impressive teams, but unless there is a major upset, either Haddonfield or Camden is expected to surface as champion.

Haddonfield beat Camden, 54-53 in overtime during last year’s classic South Jersey Group 2 semifinal. It was obviously Haddonfield’s biggest challenge in the entire playoffs enroute to the Bulldogs claiming the Group 2 state title.

At press time the seeds weren’t official, but Haddonfield is again going to be the top seed and the Bulldogs will be very difficult to beat.

Haddonfield began the week 18-1, with the only loss a 59-52 defeat to Paul VI. The Bulldogs played that game without All-South Jersey point guard Mike DePersia, who missed eight games earlier this year with a wrist injury.

DePersia is a leader both on offense and defense. He has signed with Division I Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

He is averaging 12.5 points and 3.7 assists, but statistics don’t define him. DePersia is a winner and true team leader.

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Dan Fleming, a 6-7 senior, is Haddonfield’s leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points to begin the week. He is also among the more improved players in South Jersey.

So the Bulldogs will be the favorite, but nobody should count Camden out, even though the Panthers have been up and down during coach Vic Carstarphen’s first season.

The Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak with last week’s 60-42 win over Moorestown and followed that with Monday’s 51-40 victory over Lenape. The Lenape win improved Camden to 11-5.

Those are two talented teams that Camden beat, but the Panthers have to show that it can be consistent and if so, will be a viable challenger to Haddonfield.

Jerome Brewer, a 6-7 sophomore, is averaging a team-high 14.5 points for a Camden team that hasn’t been as explosive as in past years, but this is still a dangerous team.

Can any other team challenge the big two?

While anything can happen, it seems doubtful and that is not a knock on the rest of Group 2, but more a realistic assessment on the expected dominance of Haddonfield and Camden.

Included among the other top Group 2 teams is resurgent West Deptford, which entered the week on a 12-game winning streak.

The Eagles have one of the more impressive backcourts with junior Brandon Radcliffe and MJ Iraldi, who between them are averaging more than 32 points per game.

Other top contenders include Pleasantville and Haddon Heights. Both are quality teams, as is West Deptford, but knocking off the top favorites will be a formidable task.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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