South Jersey Group 4 Boys’ Basketball Outlook

South Jersey Group 4 Boys’ Basketball Outlook

Last year Shawnee won not only the South Jersey Group 4 boys’ basketball title but the state championship as well. The Renegades were clearly the class of Group 4 and the favorite in South Jersey, but this year, the race is considered more wide open.

The tournament will begin Feb. 25

According to the seedings, this could be a race led by Olympic Conference American Division teams. Eastern is the No. 1 seed (according to NJ.com) while Cherokee is projected to be the second seed.

While both teams are strong candidates, this year, there appear to be many others who will battle for the South Jersey Group 4 title.

Even though Eastern is the No. 1 seed, Cherokee won the American Division going 8-0. The Chiefs beat Eastern 62-54 and 56-52. 

What that shows, is that either team can win if they do happen to meet in the finals.

Cherokee has a balanced team, with Gavin Gibson its leading scorer (13.2 ppg.) but the Chiefs relay on a strong defense, a must for teams looking for an extended stay in the postseason.

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Who are some of the other contenders?

It sounds strange not to include Shawnee in this group. The Renegades will open against Cherokee as the No. 15 seed. Earlier this season Cherokee beat Shawnee, 55-26.

In fairness, since that loss to Cherokee on Jan. 8, Shawnee has played much better, but this might be the rare season that the Renegades could not be a factor.

Like Shawnee, Atlantic City is a perennial contender but is having an off-season. Last year Atlantic City lost to Shawnee, 61-48, in the Group 4 final.

Atlantic City began the week 7-12 and based on scores this year, the Vikings don’t figure to be a factor. Despite the Viking earned a No. 9 seed.

No. 3 Toms River North and No. 4 Millville could be contenders. Toms River North already owns a 44-43 over Cherokee.

Toms River North junior Jakari Spence is a dangerous scorer, averaging just under 19 points per game.

Last year Toms River North lost to Atlantic City in the sectional semifinal.

Millville can’t be called a sleeper with such a high seed, and the Thunderbolts won’t be an easy out.

Led by 6-1 senior Rynell Lawrence, Millville should be dangerous. Lawrence is averaging 16.0 points per game and is a true difference maker.

Are there other teams that can contend? This year the answer is probably yes since there isn’t one heavy favorite in this year’s Group 4 field, but don’t be surprised if Eastern and Cherokee meet in the final.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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