SJ Group 4 Boys Basketball Preview: Lenape and Cherry Hill East head up the contenders

by Marc Narducci | Feb 8, 2022
SJ Group 4 Boys Basketball Preview: Lenape and Cherry Hill East head up the contenders

The NJSIAA state basketball tournament will begin on Feb. 28 and there are so many anticipated excellent races in the Groups. Between now and the beginning of the tournament, we will preview some of them.
Maybe the best race will be in South Jersey Group 4.
Teams will be seeded after the Feb. 12 cutoff, where their 13 top games will be included in their power points.
This looks like a possible four-team race, with Lenape and Cherry Hill East standing out among them.
The top four teams to begin the week, according to the power ratings on NJ.com were (1) Cherry Hill East, (2) Lenape, (3) Shawnee and (4) Egg Harbor Township.
No doubt Lenape and Cherry East are the favorites, as they have split two close regular-season games, but the Shawnee and EHT can’t be counted out.
Shawnee has 6-8 Andrew Ball, the Monmouth commit who is averaging 20 points per game and is as big a three-point threat as he is scoring inside.
As the week began, Shawnee was 0-2 in games against Lenape and East. The Renegades lost 64-45 to Lenape and 43-42 to East.
EHT began the week 16-2, having lost on Saturday 56-54 to Moorestown when the Quakers hit a long three at the buzzer to win.

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Shawnee, Lenape and Cherry Hill East all play in the deepest and best division in South Jersey, the Olympic American, so that type of competition, in addition to strong nonleague schedules, helps all three.
EHT plays a competitive schedule, just not to the level of East, Lenape and Shawnee. Still, the Eagles should not be discounted.
Still, most expect a Lenape vs. Cherry Hill East final.
Lenape won the first meeting 51-46 on Dec. 23, but East earned revenge with last week’s 43-39 victory over the Indians.
Lenape has arguably the top player in SJ Group 4, 6-1 senior point guard Derek Simpson, who began the week averaging 17.6 points and 7.1 assists.
Simpson also plays both ends of the court and is a true floor leader.
East did a good job last game, limiting him to eight points and six assists in last week’s defensive struggle.
Senior guard E.J. Matthews-Spratley averages a team-leading 14.7 points for East, which has one of the area’s top coaches in Dave Allen. One thing to watch is East’s depth or lack of it. Against Lenape, all five starters played all 32 minutes, so foul trouble will be a key.
Still, the Cougars will be a difficult team to oust in SJ Group 4, something that could be said about the top four teams.


Author: Marc Narducci

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