Egg Harbor Twp., NJ, Boys Basketball Team Enters Season with High Expectations
The Egg Harbor Twp boys' basketball program enters the 2021-22 season riding a nine game winning streak, and has the Cape-Atlantic League's top returning scorer, Carlos Lopez.
"Carlos is ice cold and keeps everyone calm and under control," said EHT head basketball coach Cameron Bell. "His confidence never waivers and it permeates throughout the entire team. He was one of our hardest workers in the off-season and really sets the tone for the team."
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Lopez averaged 21.9 points per game last season, made the most three-pointers in the league (40), was the leagues top free-throw shooter (89%) and dished out 3.7 assists per game, fourth best in the CAL.
"I expect his senior year to be his best," Bell said. "Everyone only thinks of him as a shooter, but he's much more than that. He has great vision, finishes well with both hands, and has become good defender. His number one goal has always been to win and he wants that more than anything this season."
With that, the Silver Eagles have plenty of expectations this season and Coach Bell embraces that.
"Our goals this season are to make and advance in the CAL tournament," Bell said. "It's been a while since EHT has been in the CAL playoffs. We also want to advance further in the state playoffs. The 2019-2020 season still leaves a bad taste in our mouths."
During the 2020 Group IV NJSIAA playoffs, EHT was a No. 16 seed and pulled off upset wins over No. 1 Toms River North and No. 9 Williamstown before getting knocked off 57-55 against Cherry Hill East.
While Lopez is the leagues top scorer, the Eagles return a talented core group that was part of last years 14-1 team, including junior D.J. Germann and senior Isaiah Glenn.
"DJ is electric with the basketball in his hands and is a one-man fast break," explained Bell. "He runs our offense like very few could and he's an absolute dog on defense. Extremely disruptive. Isaiah Glenn does a little bit of everything for us. He rebounds well, passes well, shoots extremely well (41% from 3-point range last season) and he still hasn't reached his potential. Isaiah is our best on the court communicator and his athleticism allows him to make things look effortless on both ends. Both DJ and Isaiah will have key roles for our team and hopefully pick up where they left off last season."
That trio has a lot of help around them this season, and will need to replace Ahmad Brock, who graduated and was the leagues third leading rebounder last season.
"Another kid that had a fantastic off-season and will play an integral role for us is junior Jay-Nelly Reyes," said Bell. "He played some as a sophomore last season, but minutes were limited. He's a good ball handler and will challenge DJ as our teams best on the ball defender. Senior big man Anthony Colon (6'5) returns after missing the Covid shortened 2021 season and he'll add an offensive punch from the inside while also being able to face up and play on the wing. He injured himself right before the 2019-2020 playoff run."
In past years, EHT which is one of the bigger schools in the area, was losing some of their top end talent to other schools in the area. However, Bell sees that changing and now the top talent in EHT is staying and playing in EHT.
"I don't think it's as much me as it is winning," Bell stated. "Kids want to win, be with their friends, and become better basketball players. We're winning a little bit, many of their friends are here, and our staff is doing the best we can to help our players become better basketball players and young men. We still lose kids to other schools, and always will. Sometimes it has nothing to do with sports, or even academics, but that's okay. In my mind, if a kid decides to go elsewhere, they're still an EHT kid and I'll cheer for their success, except when they're playing EHT. We're lucky to have the core that we do, and I will continue to pour everything I have into the kids of EHT."
Bell is a 1994 EHT alumni, who is originally from Venice Park in Atlantic City, but says he lives and dies with EHT. Bell got into coaching by accident when former EHT great Ivary Israel asked him to help him coach a team in the EHT Rec department.
"I've been hooked ever since," Bell said.
Bell took over the program in 2016 and enters this season 60-60, but sees big things for his program moving forward.
"I hope the program is in the perennial conversation of the top teams in the CAL and Group IV," Bell said.
Right now they are, if you ask area high school basketball fans about who the teams to watch are this season, just about everyone is saying EHT.
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