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Haddon Heights is the Place to Be for South Jersey Hoop Fans

Haddon Heights is the Place to Be for South Jersey Hoop Fans

Anybody looking for a summer hoop fix, would want to stop by Haddon Heights High in the month of July.

Once again Haddon Heights will host the biggest South Jersey summer league, with 30 varsity teams and 14 more JV squads.

Mike Ricci, the head coach at Haddon Heights, runs this league that competes Monday through Thursday.
 
While virtually all high school teams have open gym in the summer, where the players get to work with the coaches on fundamentals, it’s always good to get in a game-type situation. While not all the schools have all their players, since a number travel to various camps, the summer league provides the team a chance to play together in game-situations.
 
While anybody likes to win, the high school coaches are more interested in seeing their players develop their games. The summer league is a time to take some chances, experiment to see what works. It also is a time for coaches to see how much players have improved. By the end of the summer, a coach has an idea if a player can be a contributor to the team.
 
In the Haddon Heights League, there is a division that plays its games on Monday and Wednesday, while the other varsity division plays games Tuesday and Thursday.
 
The Monday-Wednesday League consists, for the most part of the higher caliber programs.
 
Here are the teams in the division.
 
Haddon Heights, Bishop Eustace, Paulsboro, Seneca, Moorestown, Lenape, West Deptford, Williamstown, Woodstown (A), Shawnee, Timber Creek (1), Kingsway, Camden Catholic and Eastern.
 
Notice that there are only three teams that aren’t Group 3 or 4 – Haddon Heights, West Deptford and Paulsboro. This is great for these two Colonial Conference teams to play the larger-enrollment schools and see where they stand among them.
 
All three teams figure to be division contenders. While Haddonfield has dominated the Colonial Conference Liberty and have won the last two state Group 2 titles, the Bulldogs were hit hard by graduation. It’s possible that West Deptford and Heights could seriously challenge for the Liberty Division.
 
West Deptford has one of South Jersey’s top returning guard tandem in MJ Iraldi and Brandon Ratcliffe. Last season Ratcliffe averaged 17.2 points and Iraldi averaged 14.1 points and 5.9 assists for the 24-4 Eagles.
 
Heights has four starters back from a 24-4 team, led by rising senior Tesean Pressley, who averaged 16 points per game.
 
Paulsboro is an annual contender in the Colonial Patriot.
 
Here are the teams in the Tuesday and Thursday League
 
Cinnaminson, Delsea, Deptford, Timber Creek (B), Lindenwold, Cherokee, Glassboro, Gloucester Catholic, Washington Township, Haddon Township, Gloucester and Pennsville.
 
One might wonder why Cherokee is in this division, but the Chiefs, with their full contingent would be in the first division. Cherokee is the defending South Jersey Group 4 champion and will be a contender yet again.
 
The JV league will also play on Monday and Wednesday. Here are the JV teams
 
Haddon Heights, Bishop Eustace, Eastern, Washington Township, Gloucester Catholic, Lenape, Triton, Williamstown, Lindenwold, Shawnee, Haddon Township, Team Philly, West Deptford Woodstown (B)

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The league began the last week of June and the regular season ends July 23. The playoffs, with four teams from each division takes place on July 29 and 30th.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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