South Jersey basketball: All-group teams with players and coaches of the year

Dean Noll of Shawnee goes past Aaron Estrada, left, and Andre Parker of Woodbury during the Tournament of Championsl at Toms River North.

Here are the Inquirer’s all-South Jersey boys’ basketball teams by groups, with players and coaches of the year in each group.

Group 4

First team

Ray Bethea 6-5 Sr. Atlantic City

Dylan Deveney 6-6 Sr. Shawnee

Dean Noll 6-1 Sr. Shawnee

Daevon Robinson 6-4 Sr. Shawnee

Camera icon Chip Fox/Staff photographer
Daevon Robinson of Shawnee with dunk in T of C quarterfinals vs. Woodbury.

Andrew Sims 6-6 Sr. Lenape

Second team

Jesse Barbera 5-11 Sr. Eastern

Tymere Bennett 6-6 Sr. Cherokee

Kadian Dawkins 6-1 Sr. Rancocas Valley

Rynell Lawence 6-0 Jr. Millville

Flash Morgan 6-2 Sr. Atlantic City

Honorable mention: Curtis Bright, Sr., Rancocas Valley; Nazim Derry, Sr. Atlantic City; Tony DiCaro, Jr. Cherokee; Troy Edwards, Sr., Eastern; Carl Gibson, Jr., Cherry Hill East; Jamir Patterson, Sr., Kingsway; Omar Ramos, Sr. Williamstown; Jake Topolski, Sr., Lenape.

Group 4 Player of  the Year: Dean Noll sparked Shawnee to the Group 4 state title, a victory in the Tournament of Champions and the No. 1 final ranking. A clever ball-handler who specialized in mid-range jumpers off the  move, Noll averaged 21.6 points and played his best in big moments, scoring seven in the fourth quarter of the state final and finishing his career with a flourish with 24 in a T of C loss to Don Bosco Prep. He set the school record for points in a season with 737, shattering the mark set in 1992 by the legendary Dan Earl.

Camera icon Chip Fox/Staff photographer
Dean Noll of Shawnee set the school record for points in a season with 737.

Group 4 Coach of the Year: Joe Kessler, Shawnee. Despite losing two returning starters to injuries, the Renegades went 29-5 and captured the state title. After a surprising loss to district rival Seneca on Jan. 26, Shawnee went 18-2 in its final 20 games, with losses to Blair and Don Bosco Prep. The Renegades spread the floor, shared the basketball and shot out the lights in classic Shawnee style, beating perennial powers Atlantic City, Trenton and Newark East Side in succession in a remarkable tournament run.

Camera icon Tim Tai/Staff photographer
Coach Joe Kessler led Shawnee to the Group 4 state title.

Group 3

First team

Jack Brockett 6-1 Sr. Seneca

Camera icon Tim Tai/Staff photographer
Jack Brockett led Seneca to the first sectional title game in program history.

Jalen Collins 6-6 Sr. Triton

Javon Gordon 5-9 Jr. Delsea

Maurice Murray 6-6 Sr. Timber Creek

Isaiah Sanders 6-4 Sr. Timber Creek

Camera icon Akira Suwa/For the Inquirer
Isaiah Sanders averaged 17.8 points for Timber Creek.

Second team

Kolby Braxton 5-9 Sr. Delsea

Nick Cartwright-Atkins 6-0 Jr. Moorestown

Connor Dickerson 6-3 Sr. Moorestown

Mike Ginyard 6-4 Sr. Seneca

Josh Jackson 6-0 Sr. Northern Burlington

Honorable mention: Pat Costa, Sr. Hammonton; Nate Cox, Sr., Delsea; Dante Masino, Sr., Highland; Tysheim Perkins, Sr., Winslow Twp.; Joey Sacco, Jr., Ocean City; Jagger Zrada, Jr,. Moorestown.

Group 3 Player of  the Year: Timber Creek’s Maurice Murray saw his scoring average dropped by nearly seven points per game this season but that was because he was a much more well-rounded player. He still averaged 17.3 points. But he was a facilitator for his teammates, creating opportunities for Sanders to lead the Chargers with a 17.8 average. In his last two games in the Group 3 state tournament, Murray scored 26 and 24 points, respectively.

Camera icon Chip Fox/Staff photographer
Maurice Murray led Timber Creek to a 20-win season and the Olympic Patriot title.

Group 3 Coach of the Year: Tom Freeman, Delsea. Without a starter taller than 6-foot-1, the Crusaders won the South Jersey Group 3 title as a No. 4 seed and pushed eventual state champion Nottingham to the brink in the state semifinals. Delsea was a favorite of the sport’s aficionados as the Crusaders played with great diligence on defense and shared the basketball on offense, as responsible and unselfish a team as there was in South Jersey.

Camera icon Tim Tai/Staff photographer
Coach Tom Freeman led Delsea to the South Jersey Group 3 title.

Group 2

First team

Mike DePersia Jr. Haddonfield

Corey Greer Sr. Camden

Camera icon Chip Fox/Staff photographer
Seniors Corey Greer (left) and Myles Thompson led Camden to a 21-win season.

Pat Holden Sr. Lower Cape May

Jared Latane Sr. Haddon Hts.

Camera icon Chip Fox/Stasff photographer
Jared Latane finished his career at Haddon Heights’ all-time leading scorer with 1,857 points.

Myles Thompson Sr. Camden

Second team

Divine Anderson Sr. Pleasantville

Dan Fleming Jr. Haddonfield

Jacquay Mendez Sr. Bordentown

Chris Roe Sr. Sterling

Craig Turner Sr. Cinnaminson

Honorable mention: Aiden Blake, Jr., Haddonfield; Nathan Conyer, Sr., Medford Tech; Jalen Freeman, Jr., Middle Twp.; Te’Sean Pressley, Soph., Haddon Hts.; Noah Syer, Jr., Sterling; Jaden Wallace, Sr., Collingswood;

Group 2 Player of the Year: Mike DePersia hit the biggest shot in recent Haddonfield history, a put-back at 0:03 that proved the game-winner in a 54-53 overtime victory over Camden in the sectional semifinals. He led all scorers with 20 that day. He also scored 22 in the state-final victory over Newark Central. His ball-handling, versatility, poise under pressure and unflappable confidence led the Bulldawgs to a 29-4 record and the program’s first state title since 2006.

Camera icon Tim Tai/Staff photographer
Haddonfield’s Mike DePersia scored 22 in the state final win over Newark Central.

Group 2 Coach of the Year: Paul Wiedeman, Haddonfield. The veteran coach led the Bulldawgs on a remarkable post-season run that included the victory over four-time defending sectional champion Camden as well as wins over Central Jersey power Rumson-Fair Haven and Newark Central. Nobody works harder than Wiedeman in terms of scouting and preparation. His diligence paid off in a season in which the Bulldawgs played their “home” games at Cherry Hill East and won the program’s sixth state title when many observers figured the team was a year away from big thunder.

Camera icon Tim Tai/Staff photographer
Coach Paul Wiedeman led Haddonfield to the Group 2 state title.

Group 1

First team

Luke Castagna Sr. Pitman

Aaron Estrada Jr. Woodbury

Anthony Mitchell Sr. Glassboro

Jawan Roane Sr. Penns Grove

D’Andre Thurmond Sr. Burlington City

Second team

Eric Diaz Sr. Paulsboro

Jabrill Enmonds Sr. Florence

Kyion Flanders Sr. Wildwood

Mahir Yilmaz Sr. Clayton

Jeremy Young Sr. Burlington City

Honorable mention: Brian Burns, Jr., Haddon Twp.; T.J. Carter, Jr. Woodbury; Sai’Mere Colon, Sr., Gloucester; Kavon Lewis, Soph., Penns Grove; Marcus McGruder, Sr., Woodbury; Kwandel Tokley, Soph., Glassboro; Deonte Woodbury, Soph., Burlington City.

Group 1 Player of the Year: Woodbury’s Aaron Estrada was good in the regular season. He was great in the playoffs. His free throw at 0:03 was a game winner against Haddon Twp. in the sectional semifinals. He scored 24 in a road win over Penns Grove and 20 in a road win over Glassboro. He generated 30 with 11 rebounds in the state semifinals against Pt. Pleasant Beach, and he made the winning free throws with 0:04 on the clock in the state final against Cresskill. He finished in fine fashion, scoring 23 in a loss to Group 4 state champion Shawnee in the Tournament of Champions.

Camera icon Elizabeth Robertson/Staff photographer
Woodbury’s Aaron Estrada (left) and JayShawn Harvey celebrate playoff victory.

Group 1 Coach of the Year: Mark DiRugeris, Woodbury. A first-year coach just eight years removed from his playing days on the same court, DiRugeris went through some choppy times in the regular season. The Thundering Herd was just 15-11 when the playoff started. But the coach got his team, with just two seniors in the rotation, to play its best basketball in March, with road wins over higher seeds Penns Grove and Glassboro and a triumph over a 29-2 Cresskill team that secured the first state title in Woodbury history.


First team

Baba Ajike Jr. Camden Catholic

Camera icon Sydney Schaefer/Staff photographer
Camden Catholic junior Baba Ajike in the state final vs. Don Bosco Prep.

Caleb Fields Sr. Wildwood Catholic

Marlon Hargis St. Augustine

Marcellus Ross Jr. St. Joseph

Peyton Vostenak Sr. Bishop Eustace

Camera icon Yong Kim/Staff photographer
Senior Peyton Vostenak led Bishop Eustace to an 18-win season.

Second team

Dominic Dunn Sr. Camden Catholic

Mattia Morini Jr. Bishop Eustace

Taj Thweatt Soph. Wildwood Catholic

Tyshon Judge Jr. Paul VI

Hartnel Haye Jr. Paul VI

Honorable mention: Drew Gallagher, Sr., Holy Spirit; Charles Fields, Sr., Wildwood Catholic; Uche Okafor, Jr., Camden Catholic; Connor Regan, Jr., Gloucester Catholic; Charles Solomon, Jr., St. Augustine; Travis Stoll, Sr. St. Augustine.

Non-Public Player of the Year:  Caleb Fields led Wildwood Catholic to the winningest season in program history. The Crusaders won the Cape-Atlantic League title, beating perennial powers St. Augustine and Atlantic City in the space of three days. Fields averaged 21.1 points for the season, scoring in double figures in every game. He set a career-best with 38 in a win over St. Joseph, and finished his career with 1,665 points.

Camera icon Erin Grugan/Press of Atlantic City
Caleb Fields (right) handles ball against Atlantic City’s Nazim Derry.

Non-Public Coach of the Year: Matt Crawford, Camden Catholic. Crawford led the Irish on a late-season surge that produced 10 consecutive victories and the program’s first Non-Public A title since 2008. With just one senior in the rotation, the battled-tested Irish played smart, steady basketball through February and March, beating two-time sectional champion St. Augustine on the road in overtime and taking down Central Jersey power St. Joseph of Metuchen in the South A title game before falling to eventual Tournament of Champions finalist Don Bosco Prep in the state championship game.

Camera icon Syydner Schaefer/Staff photographer
Coach Matt Crawford led Camden Catholic to the Non-Public South A title.


Coming Sunday

Who is the Player of the Year in South Jersey boys’ basketball?

The Coach of the Year?

Who made first-, second- and third-team All-South Jersey?

Find out Sunday as the Inquirer wraps up the boys’ basketball season with its annual All-South Jersey package.