Strong Season Ahead In Girls’ Basketball

Strong Season Ahead In Girls’ Basketball Strong Season Ahead In South Jersey Girls’ Basketball

There are a number of top-flight teams from last season that are expected to remain on the top in South Jersey girls’ basketball.

Leading the way is Gloucester Catholic. The Rams have an experienced team coming off a 26-4 season in which they advanced to the South Jersey Non-Public A finals before losing 58-47 to a powerful St. John Vianney team.

The Rams have a veteran team led by 6-foot junior Mary Gedaka, daughter of coach Lisa Gedaka. Despite being a junior, Mary Gedaka has already made a verbal commitment to attend Villanova, where her mother was also a star.

In an opening 57-35 win over a talented Kingsway team, she led the Rams with 28 points. In fact one of the best inside-outside combinations consists of Gedeka and junior point guard Maggie McIntyre, who scored 16 in the opening win over Kingsway.

Two other teams that will be among the best in South Jersey, Shawnee and Camden Catholic squared off on opening night.

Shawnee is coming off a 26-5 season in which the Renegades won the South Jersey Group 4 title. Seeded third, the Renegades beat No. 5 Lenape, 57-37 in the sectional final. Shawnee would eventually advance to the state Group 4 final before falling to Paterson Eastside.

Shawnee lost perimeter scoring threat Olivia Askin to graduation, but returns the other four starters, led by senior forward Nikola Williams, who had 16 points and 15 rebounds in this year’s opening 49-35 win over a Camden Catholic squad that will be heard from in South Jersey Non-Public A.

Guard Jen Byrne, who had 18 in the win over Camden Catholic, is another threat for Shawnee, which, will face strong teams such as Cherokee, Williamstown and Rancocas Valley in South Jersey Group 4.

Cherokee, which opened with a 50-10 win over Winslow Township could be Shawnee’s biggest challenger. The Chiefs are led by 6-foot sophomore Isabella Therien, who averaged 14 points last season.

Woodrow Wilson has been in many preseason South Jersey Top 10s, and with good reason. The Tigers are coming off a 24-9 season in which they won the state Group 3 title and beat Non-Public A state champion Immaculate Heart, 54-51, in an opening Tournament of Champions game. The Tigers season ended with a TOC semifinal loss to Manasquan.

The key will be replacing Cha’nelle Perry, who is off to a quick start for Clemson. Playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the best in the nation, Perry had started 11 of the first 12 games for Clemson. She was averaging 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 23.8 minutes.

Ly’ayshia Stevens, a 5-7 senior, will be one of the leaders for Woodrow Wilson. Stevens scored 24 points in a 55-37 opening win over Seneca. Ciarah Bennett, a 5-5 senior, chipped in with 13 points. This is a team that has solid veterans who are used to winning so the Tigers will remain a major threat in South Jersey Group 3 and possibly beyond.

Another veteran team is Haddon Township, with all five starters back from a 28-3 team that won the South Jersey Group 1 title.

The Hawks will again be favored to defend their title. They opened with a 67-37 win over Haddon Heights, as senior guard Alayxiah Carr had 22 points. This should also be among the top defensive teams in South Jersey.

There will be other teams that could make a run at the top spot in what looks like a strong year for South Jersey girls’ basketball. © SouthJersey.com 2014. All rights reserved. This article or parts thereof may not be reprinted or reproduced by any other party without the express written consent of SouthJersey.com. For more information, please call 856-797-9910.

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