Phil Anastasia: Shawnee and the Group 4 tournament

Cherokee still is the team to beat in the S.J. Group 4 boys' basketball tournament.

The Chiefs are 11-1. They have the most talent, and probably the most depth, of any team in the field.

But watch out for Shawnee.

The Renegades "made a statement," with Thursday's 67-64 overtime victory over Cherokee, according to coach Joe Kessler.

Shawnee is not a physically imposing team, by Group 4 standards. They are young, too. There are questions about whether they could hold up through the grind of a tournament tun.

But they can shoot, they are a smart team and they have a savvy point guard in senior Dillon Fields. Plus, they should get a big boost in the next week to 10 days with the return of 6-5 senior Matt Chiusano from injury.

He will add some height and some physical presence, and that's what the Renegades need.

Cherokee isn't going anywhere. And team such as Washington Township, Lenape, Cherry Hill East, Winslow Township, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township and Millville will be in the mix.

But don't forget Shawnee.

The Renegades showed Thursday they will be a tough out in the tournament.

-- Phil Anastasia

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