Player of the Year: Keyshun Sanders, Paulsboro.
Sanders averaged a league-best 23.0 points per game and cemented his legacy at Paulsboro with 1,702 career points. He totaled a career-high 34 points in an 87-51 win over Penns Grove on March 4 — his sixth 30-plus point outing of the campaign. Sanders also averaged 23.0 points per game in three contests against South Jersey Group 1 champion Gloucester and helped Paulsboro go 2-1 against the Lions this season. His game-high 15 points lifted the Red Raiders past Haddonfield, 36-30, on January 27. It marked the first time Paulsboro defeated the Haddons since 2017.
In addition to producing offense, Sanders was a tenacious defender that utilized his length on the perimeter. He tallied 10 or more steals in a single game on six separate occasions and collected a career-high 14 steals in an 80-46 win over Penns Grove on January 15. The senior finished one rebound shy of a quadruple-double (23 points, 14 steals, 11 assists and nine rebounds) in the 34-point victory. His contributions helped Paulsboro capture a Colonial Conference Patriot Division title and finish with a 22-4 record.
“I can’t put into words what Keyshun has meant to the program and even my life,” Red Raiders coach Daryus Quarles said. “I’ve been coaching him since his freshman year and literally watched him grow from being a 14-year old kid to a young man. We shared a lot of moments throughout the years and when I got sick he checked on me every day. Our relationship is like a big brother-little brother relationship. I will truly miss coaching him.”
Coach of the Year: Daryus Quarles, Paulsboro.
After a blood clot in his brain prompted him to undergo emergency surgery, Quarles wasn’t sure he’d be able to occupy the sideline with his clipboard in hand this season.
But a miraculous recovery paired with an outpouring of love and support from family, friends and colleagues permitted him to make a timely return. Although Quarles refuses to make it about himself, others would agree his courage and inspiration served as motivation to those within the Paulsboro community and beyond.
A blend of courage and inspiration that also led to the program’s most successful season in over half a decade.
“I didn’t think I would coach (this season),” Quarles said. “But my doctors and brain surgeon cleared me to come back. I truly believe this team rallied behind my presence and played really good basketball all year.”
His fearlessness helped bring his players together and exploit their toughness. Whether it was South Jersey Group 4 title contender Cherry Hill East or two-time Delaware state champion Salesianum, Paulsboro — a NJSIAA Group 1 school home to only approximately 265 students — didn’t back down from any opponent.
The former Saint Joseph’s guard directed Paulsboro to its first 20-win season since 2016. The Red Raiders reached the South Jersey Group 1 semifinals and finished the campaign with a 22-4 record. Their 10-0 mark in division play secured a Colonial Conference Patriot Division title and contributed to their 15-1 record against conference opponents. A 14-game winning streak highlighted Paulsboro’s season and helped secure the No. 1 seed in the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs.
“I’m very thankful for this team and all they’ve accomplished this season,” Quarles said. “We fell short of our ultimate goal, but still achieved a lot. 20-plus wins, conference champs, No. 1 seed. This season was special.”
Team of the Year: Sterling.
The Silver Knights established themselves as the top team in the Colonial Conference with a 15-0 record in conference matchups throughout the regular season. Sterling finished the campaign with a 22-6 record and reached the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals for the first time since 2013. The Silver Knights picked up a statement win defeating Haddonfield, 43-40, on January 6. Six days later, Justin Barringer’s squad rallied late to etch out a 50-40 win over Paulsboro.
In their second meeting with the Haddons, Barringer rallied his team back from a 15-2 deficit to earn a 43-25 victory. Sterling outscored the Bulldogs 20-2 in the third quarter and held their opponent to seven second-half points. Despite falling to Haddonfield in the SJ Group 2 semifinals, Sterling went 2-1 against the Bulldogs and outscored them 111-91 in the three meetings.
The Silver Knights also won 13 out of their last 15 games and earned notable wins over Group 4 programs Central Regional and Rancocas Valley. Five different players totaled at least 210 points scored for Sterling this season. This year’s group of seniors helped the program go 33-8 over the past two seasons.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how my guys overcame the uncertainty and hardships of the season,” Barringer said. “Our success was defined by how we handled each obstacle in front of us. We were fortunate enough to win consecutive conference championships and secure a two-seed (in the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs). Iron sharpens iron.”
Colonial Conference First Team
Sr. Keyshun Sanders, Paulsboro
Sr. Tommy Mooney, Haddonfield
Sr. Mekhi Bassett, Collingswood
Sr. Tyler Levins, Haddon Township
Sr. Andrew Tummings, Sterling
Colonial Conference Second Team
Jr. Caleb Mundell, Sterling
Sr. Matt Leming, Haddonfield
Sr. Steven Light, Gloucester
Sr. Liam Gorman, Gloucester
Sr. Jimmy Zingaro, Sterling
Colonial Conference Third Team
Jr. Aydan Hagan, Gloucester
Jr. Jabron Solomon, Woodbury
Jr. Brendan Shannon, Haddon Heights
Sr. Timothy Sheehan, Haddon Township
Sr. Elijah Ricks, Paulsboro
Colonial Conference Honorable Mentions
Fr. Jasuan Solomon, Woodbury
So. Tomas Money, Collingswood
So. Luke Hoke, Audubon
Jr. Titus Bacon, Woodbury
Jr. Jaydis McFadden, Sterling
Jr. Lamar Greene, Lindenwold
Jr. Josh Dockery, Haddon Township
Jr. Christian Stabinski, Haddon Heights
Sr. Mike Ermel, Sterling
Sr. Matt Guveiyan, Haddonfield
Sr. Nick Beecroft, West Deptford
Sr. Sean Driscoll, Audubon
Sr. Steven Burkhardt, Gloucester
Sr. Camerin Kidd, Paulsboro
Sr. Rhoel Hancock, Haddon Heights