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Moorestown 6A team takes league championship

Boys' basketball squad wins in double overtime against Haddon Heights

Special to The Sun
The Moorestown 6A team won the championship in the South Jersey Boys Basketball League in double overtime victory over Haddon Heights. Pictured are coach Chris Karam (back row, left) and assistant coach John Venne, and players Jace Jerdan (middle row, left), Jack Ercolani, Mason Pincus, AJ Morris, Shane Krumins, Jack Venne (front row, left), Thomas Karam, Brayden Romano, Brett Obermeier and Austin Degener.

The Moorestown 6th Grade A travel team clinched the championship in the South Jersey Boys Basketball League in a double overtime victory against Haddon Heights on March 3.

“These boys have been working hard all year round for the last two or three years,” said Moorestown coach Chris Karam. “To win a championship in the most competitive league in South Jersey … it’s not easy … against some of these schools who most of the kids play year round.

“… It’s a big deal.”

The Moorestown team has been coached by Karam and assisted by John Venne for the past three years. Its players are Andrew (AJ) Morris, Austin Degener, Brayden Romano, Brett Obermeier, Jace Jerdan, Jack Venne, John Ercolani, Mason Pincus, Shane Krumins and Thomas Karam.

They have played together since fourth grade, except for two new players added to the roster this year.

“These group of boys do well in everything they play, and they’re used to playing in big-game situations, in baseball, in other sports they play as well,” Karam noted. “ … We’ve always done well in a regular season, finishing first the last two years, but this year, we ended up in a tie for second.”

Despite clinching the top spot in the past two seasons, making it into the semifinals eluded the Moorestown team. And despite a third-place ranking throughout this year, the boys defied the odds and surged ahead against their toughest opponent, Camden, with a commanding victory of almost 20 points in the semifinal. That victory gave them the confidence they needed to face Haddon Heights.

“Getting up into the championship game, we had two very tough playoff games against Vineland and Camden (in which) we were down in both games, but they were two of our best games of the year,” Karam recalled.

“It just kind of showed how much progress the boys made throughout the year, and they never really gave up, even though being down after the first quarter.”

It wasn’t until halfway through the second overtime in the championship game that Moorestown pulled out a lead of nine points, leaving Haddon Heights unable to mount a comeback. The final score stood at 45-36, giving the Moorestown team its first league championship victory.

“I think the last two years, going out in the semi-finals, prepared us for the game,” Karam explained. “We were down, and they were holding the ball to hopefully run out the clock, and we were still able to pull out, tie the game and bring it to overtime, and then eventually win in double overtime.”

There was a lot of support for the team from the Moorestown community and the win was nothing short of special. Moving forward, Karam wants to see how the team will develop their individual skills in the offseason.

“We’re working on, as a program – Moorestown travel basketball – to give the kids more opportunities to get in the gym in the offseason,” he pointed out. “Going forward, we would like to see them develop their individual skills to prepare them for the higher level.

“This is all preparing them for their future.”

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