This basketball season marked the end of remarkable runs for special senior classes at Haddonfield, Moorestown and Camden Catholic.
Those powerhouse teams, all of which captured South Jersey championships while winning a combined 85 games, were led by some of the most accomplished senior classes in program history.
Haddonfield’s seniors were part of a program that won 102 games during their four years. The highlights included back-to-back Group 2 state championships in the last two seasons, plus three straight seasons of classic tournament clashes with Camden.
“It all started with this group when we lost in overtime in the last game played in Clarence Turner Gymnasium,” Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said of his team’s 42-40 loss to Camden in March 2017.
In March of 2018 and March of 2019, Haddonfield beat Camden in overtime games in the South Jersey Group 2 tournament, with both victories propelling the Bulldawgs to the state title.
“Growing up in South Jersey basketball, Camden was the program as a Group 4 school,” said Wiedeman, a 1989 Haddonfield graduate. “Haddonfield was a tiny Group 1 school. Now we’re both Group 2, and for us to compete at the highest level and be a nemesis with Camden, no one would have thought that back in the day.”
Haddonfield seniors Mike DePersia, Dan Fleming, Aidan Blake, Dylan Heine, Drew Gavranich and Lewis Evans were six of the top seven players from a team that went 31-2 this season, tying the school record for victories set by Wiedeman’s 1989 team and tied by Brian Zoubek’s 2006 team.
“These guys are so special in so many ways,” Wiedeman said of his senior class. “The character, the camaraderie, the togetherness these guys exhibit with each other.”
Moorestown’s senior class that featured Nick Cartwright-Atkins, Jagger Zrada, Vinnie Caprarola, Akhil Giri, Brian McMonagle and Tommy Londres led the Quakers to a combined record of 52-12 over the last two seasons.
The Quakers reached the Central Jersey Group 3 finals in 2018 – losing in overtime to the eventual state champion Nottingham -- and won the Group 3 state title this season.
The state championship was the program’s first in 60 years.
“They’ve been together since fourth grade and they’ve been winning all the way up,” Moorestown coach Shawn Anstey said of his seniors.
Camden Catholic’s seniors led the team on a two-year run that included a combined record of 49-11 and back-to-back Non-Public South A titles.
The Irish were led this season by seniors Baba Ajike and Uche Okafor, four-year starters who were members of an eight-win team as freshmen, as well as senior Pat Corbett, a two-year starter at point guard.
They led the Irish to outright ownership of the Olympic National title – thanks in large part to a sweep of rival Camden – as well the program’s first consecutive South Jersey titles since 1993-94.
“Their legacy is definitely cemented,” Camden Catholic coach Matt Crawford said.