South Jersey Group 2 Girls’ Basketball Preview

South Jersey Group 2 Girls’ Basketball Preview
The NJSIAA girls’ basketball state tournament opens the first week of March and the South Jersey Group 2 field has a prohibitive favorite in Manchester Township. Here is the second of our weekly girls’ basketball previews.
 
South Jersey Group 2
First tournament game: March 3
Sectional championship: March 10       
State semifinal: March 12
State championship: March 15
 
Defending South Jersey champion: Manchester Township beat Middle Township, 61-36 in the title game.
 
What stands out: The power of Manchester Township, which is also the defending state champion.
 
Outlook: The cutoff date of Feb. 8 has passed. A team is seeded based on its first 16 games, or if it hasn’t played that many, its record on the cutoff date.
 
Manchester Township, which began the week at 18-3 will be the top seed. The Hawks have played a strong non-league schedule to prepare them for the state tournament. Ranked No. 3 in the state by NJ.com, the Hawks are the three-time defending South Jersey champion.
 
Manchester Township recently beat defending South Jersey Group 3 champion Mainland, 43-37 as 6-foot-3 junior Destiny Adams had 18 points and 10 rebounds. She began the week averaging more than 17 points and 11 rebounds.
 
Haddonfield is expected to be the No. 2 seed and the Bulldogs will have one of the better defensive teams in South Jersey Group 2. Haddonfield is led by junior point guard Keegan Douglas, who has already committed to Loyola Maryland.
 
She is averaging 18 points per game as the long returning starter. Haddonfield began the week 15-3 and the Bulldogs have not lost to a South Jersey Group 2 team this season.
 
Among the other teams to watch are Middle Township, Cinnaminson and Sterling. Last month Haddonfield beat Sterling, 31-27 and the rematch is Feb. 20. It’s likely that Haddonfield would be ale to clinch the Colonial Conference Liberty Division with a win over the Silver Knights. A win by Sterling, would very well put the Silver Knights back into the title picture.
 
Senior center Latanya Berry is averaging a team-high 12 points per game for Sterling. Like Haddonfield, the Silver Knights are a strong defensive team.
 
Middle Township began the week 15-4, with only two of the losses to teams from the seven-county South Jersey area, 40-38 to Mainland and 51-49 to Wildwood Catholic. The Panthers also beat Mainland, 52-47. This is the type of top-flight schedule that will have a team prepared for the state tournament, but upsetting Manchester Township will be a tall order for any of the top seeded teams.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photography by Tim Hawk

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