The 2024 NJSIAA Group II Tournament begins with Manasquan as the defending champion for the first time ever after the Warriors won their first state title in program history to cap last season. Camden's disqualification from the 2023 tournament opened up the field for a new champion to emerge and it effectively came down to Manasquan and Middle Township, who played a classic game in the group semifinal, which the Warriors pulled out late.

Camden is back in the fold this season, although with a roster considerably more beatable than last year's group that was led by two five-star players in D.J. Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw. With that being said, Camden is the favorite to win it all and Middle, Manasquan, Haddonfield, Rumson-Fair Haven, Holmdel and Cinnaminson are the teams hoping to make a run at the spot in the state final reserved for the Central-South winner.

Manasquan junior Griffin Linstra guarded by Holmdel senior James Vallillo. (Photo: Tom Smith |
Manasquan junior Griffin Linstra guarded by Holmdel senior James Vallillo. (Photo: Tom Smith |

Central Jersey Group II

Shore Teams in the Field: No. 1 Manasquan, No. 2 Holmdel, No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven, No. 7 Point Pleasant Boro, No. 15 Monmouth
Top Seed: Manasquan
Defending Champion: Manasquan
Bracket Favorite: Manasquan

Bracket Dark Horse: No. 8 Bordentown. There might be teams better positioned to reach the semifinals than Bordentown is, but the Scotties have tested themselves against quality competition throughout the year and might have the best chance to win the brackets outside of the top three seeds. This bracket runs through Manasquan, so it is a matter of playing the Warriors in their gym in the quarterfinals vs. the final.

Bracket Breakdown: With Manasquan remaining the favorite to win its fifth straight sectional title, the drama will be on the other side of the bracket, where it figures to come down to Holmdel and Rumson for the spot in the championship game. No. 6 Bound Brook has made noise in this tournament in recent years and could play the role of spoiler, while Point Boro also has a chance to make a run if the Panthers can figure out Holmdel after losing to the Hornets in the regular season. As for the potential final, Holmdel has had two chances against Manasquan and has been unable to keep up for 32 minutes. Rumson, however, has not had its shot at Manasquan, nor have the Bulldogs played Holmdel. With plenty of size and backcourt depth, the Bulldogs could be the best bet to break up Manasquan’s run.

Prediction: Manasquan over Rumson. Despite its loss to St. Rose in the Shore Conference Tournament final, Manasquan is playing as well as it has played all year. The Warriors handled Marlboro and Holmdel during the SCT and also avenged a loss to Toms River North by upending the Mariners in overtime during the tournament quarterfinals. Rumson could pose a challenge, however, thanks to the Bulldogs’ frontcourt size and physicality in the backcourt. With Manasquan earning the homecourt advantage, the Warriors remain the favorite, but they should get tested at least once – whether by Bordentown, a 20-win Delaware Valley team or by a fellow Shore opponent in the final – along the way.

Rumson-Fair Haven senior Andrew Goodes score over Red Bank junior Trey Moore. (Photo: Tom Smith |
Rumson-Fair Haven senior Andrew Goodes score over Red Bank junior Trey Moore. (Photo: Tom Smith |

Round-by-Round Picks

Opening Round

(1) Manasquan over (16) South River
(8) Bordentown over (9) A.L. Johnson
(12) Willingboro over (5) Spotswood
(4) Delaware Valley over (4) Delran
(3) Rumson-Fair Haven over (14) Metuchen
(6) Bound Brook over (11) Roselle Park
(7) Point Boro over (10) Middlesex
(2) Holmdel over (15) Monmouth


(1) Manasquan over (8) Bordentown
(4) Delaware Valley over (12) Willingboro
(3) Rumson-Fair Haven over (6) Bound Brook
(2) Holmdel over (7) Point Boro


(1) Manasquan over (4) Delaware Valley
(3) Rumson-Fair Haven over (2) Holmdel


(1) Manasquan over (3) Rumson-Fair Haven


South Jersey Group II

Shore Teams in the Field: No. 13 Manchester
Top Seed: Middle Township
Defending Champion: Middle Twp.
Bracket Favorite: No. 2 Camden

Bracket Dark Horse: Manchester. While there may be a double-digit seed or two that can advance out of the first round in this bracket, this section is all about the top seeds. Middle Township and Camden are two of the best public-school teams in the state and are on a collision-course for the championship game, while No. 3 Cinnaminson and No. 4 Haddonfield are quality programs that have had excellent seasons. If there is a team that can break up that foursome in the semifinals, Manchester has a shot. The Hawks have multiple scoring threats, some athleticism and will be facing a Haddonfield team that beat up on a fairly soft schedule outside a few high-profile matchups. If the Hawks can pull off the first-round upset, they could wind up in the semifinals – which is probably more likely than a team like No. 11 Gloucester, No. 12 Camden Academy Charter or No. 14 Pleasantville doing the same.

Bracket Breakdown: In recent years, South Jersey Group II has been Camden’s stomping grounds. The Panthers dominated all comers in 2019, 2020 and 2022, but the run ended last year when one of Camden’s most talented teams ever was disqualified from the tournament for a benches-clearing brawl with rival Camden Eastside just days before the NJSIAA Tournament. That opened the door for Middle Township, who won the section and nearly upset Manasquan in the Group II final with a team of players that is mostly back this season. These are a handful of other quality teams in the section, but if either of these two get bounced before the final, it would be pretty shocking.

Prediction: Middle Twp. over Camden. In past years, it would have been downright foolish to pick against Camden. This year, the Panthers have looked beatable at times, even if they have yet to lose a team from New Jersey this season. If these teams played 10 times, Camden probably wins eight, but Middle is good enough to play with the Panthers and last year’s big-game experience – and its quality performance in those big games, more importantly – suggests the other Panthers are ready for the challenge.

Manasquan sophomore Darius Adams guarded by Middle Twp. sophomore Jamir McNeil. (Photo: Tom Smith |
Manasquan's Darius Adams guarded by Middle Twp.'s Jamir McNeil in last year's Group II semifinal. (Photo: Tom Smith |

Round-by-Round Picks

Opening Round

(1) Middle Twp. over (16) West Deptford
(8) Haddon Heights over (9) Oakcrest
(5) Lower Cape May over (12) Camden Academy Charter
(4) Haddonfield over (13) Manchester
(3) Cinnaminson over (14) Pleasantville
(6) Overbrook over (11) Gloucester
(7) Medford Tech over (10) Sterling
(2) Camden over (15) Lindenwold


(1) Middle Twp. over (8) Haddon Heights
(4) Haddonfield over (5) Lower Cape May
(3) Cinnaminson over (6) Overbrook
(2) Camden over (7) Medford Tech


(1) Middle Twp. over (4) Haddonfield
(2) Camden over (3) Cinnaminson


(1) Middle Twp. over (2) Camden

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