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A Season to Remember for Moorestown Boys’ Basketball

A Season to Remember for Moorestown Boys’ Basketball
Moorestown exceeds all expectations in a memorable basketball season.

Moorestown’s boys’ basketball team wasn’t mentioned among the elite in South Jersey during the preseason.
 
The Quakers for sure were expected to be competitive, but nobody competing for a state title seemed a bit too optimistic.
 
In looking back at the 2018-2019 season, nobody overachieved more than the Quakers. They finished 28-6, tied Trenton Catholic for the Burlington County Liberty Division title, and then in the postseason won the South Jersey and then the state Group 3 titles.
 
Moorestown even won a first round Tournament of Champions game, beating Haddonfield, 60-59 in a thriller.
 
The season finally ended with a 62-42 loss to the Ranney School in a TOC semifinal. Ranney, the state Non-Public B champion, would win the TOC with a 67-63 win over Non-Public A champ Bergen Catholic in the final.
 
This was a team that had great balance, led by two seniors, 6-2 Nick Cartright-Atkins and point guard Jagger Zrada.
 
Cartright-Atkins, who is headed to Wagner on a football scholarship, averaged 14.6 points. Zrada averaged 13.2 points.
 
Senior guard Akhil Giri averaged 7.6 points and senior guard Vinnie Caaprarola averaged 6.2 points. The Quakers were expertly coached by Shawn Anstey.
 
While Moorestown may not have been in the Top 10 in the preseason, the Quakers were surely considered the team to beat in South Jersey Group 3 when the postseason began.
 
Seeded No. 1, Moorestown opened with routs over Deptford and Delsea before beating Timber Creek, 52-43 in a South Jersey Group 3 semifinal.
 
In that game Zrada had a game-high 23 points. As the season went on, Zrada became one of the best long-range threats in South Jersey. He had five three-pointers in the win over Timber Creek.
 
Then Moorestown won the South Jersey Group 3 title with a 61-43 victory over Mainland for its first sectional title in 21 years.
 
Zrada had 16 points and Cartwright-Atkins added 14.
 
Then Moorestown used a 40-18 second half advantage to defeat Wall, 64-44 in the state Group 3 semifinals. Cartwright-Atkins scored 23 points and Giri added 17.
 
The Quakers then won their first state crown since 1959 when they beat Ramapo, 58-44 in the state final.
 
A common thread in all these games is the outstanding defense that the Quakers showed throughout the postseason.
 
Zrada had a game-high 20 points. Amazingly, the Quakers scored all 24 fourth quarter points from the foul line.
 
Then came a 60-59 TOC win over Group 2 state champion Haddonfield as Zrada scored 23 points, hitting 7 of 8 three-point attempts.
 
There might not have been a hotter shooter down the stretch of the season than Zrada.
 
Finally the season came to an end against a heavily favored Ranney team.
 

 

It turned into a great story, an unheralded team in the preseason became a dominant force and easily the most pleasant surprise in South Jersey.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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