By Phil Anastasia
Don't tell Kymere Chapman and Kevin Bersch this is a rebuilding year for the Rancocas Valley boys' basketball team.
The Red Devils might look like a team that will be in South Jersey's Top 5 in 2014. But that doesn't mean much to a couple of guys who will graduate in 2013.
"Coach (Jay) Flanagan always says, 'We don't take years off,'" Chapman said after Rancocas Valley's 63-49 victory over Burlington Township in a Burlington County Liberty Division game Friday night.
Rancocas Valley's younger players showcased their skills before a near-capacity crowd in in a physical, foul-filled game in the Red Devils' gymnasium.
Sophomore guard Ned Ogoemesim scored 19 of his 22 in the second half, displaying a smooth mid-range game and knack for finishing at the rim. The 6-1 athlete also grabbed six rebounds.
Junior guard Vince Anfield scored 11 with three steals and three assists. Junior forward Nick Davidson grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots and sophomore forward Niall Carpenter contributed six points.
"Even though those guys are young, they can play," Bersch said of many of his teammates.
But Rancocas Valley's only two seniors in the team's starting lineup and eight-man rotation played major roles s the Red Devils improved to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in the division.
Bersch, a 6-4 forward, scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and dealt four assists. He was a steady, heady presence in the middle of the floor as the Red Devils' negotiated the Falcons' zone pressure defense.
"His intelligence shows on the floor," Flanagan said of Bersch.
Chapman, a 5-9 guard, generated 10 points with three steals.
"Coach says me and Kevin have to be leaders on and off the floor," Chapman said. "We try to set the example for the younger guys in games like this."
With tight man-to-man defense, Rancocas Valley built a 10-point lead midway in the third quarter. After Burlington Township rallied to cut the margin to five, Chapman hit a three-pointer and Bersch converted an offensive rebound to push the Red Devils comfortably in front.
"We don't talk about next year because that wouldn't be fair to the seniors," Flanagan said. "It's always, 'What can we do this year?'"
Junior guard Kenny Davis scored 15 for Burlington Township (6-2 overall, 1-1 in the division), which also started just two seniors.
"We don't have a lot of varsity experience," Burlington Township coach Scott Kupersmit said. "It's going to take a while for us to be ready to play our best game in the biggest games. But give Rancocas Valley credit. They were the better team."
Burlington Twp. 7 12 14 16 -- 49
Rancocas Valley 13 12 18 20 -- 63
BT: Curtis Thompson 9, Kenny Davis 15, Ka'Dar Hollman 2, Ryan Sherman 10, Dayne Turner 2, Nijewell Holliday 4, Jalen Ferguson 5, Shelby Parris 2.
RV: Kymere Chapman 10, Ned Ogoemesim 22, Shaun Ellis-Bradley 1, Vince Anfield 11, Jalen Freeman 2, Niall Carpenter 6, Nick Davidson 4, Kevin Bersch 7.
Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.