Maybe it was the put-back in overtime against Camden as a junior.
Or the 22 points in the state final eight days later against Newark Central.
Maybe it was the 16 points, the key three-pointer, the poise under pressure in another overtime classic against Camden as a senior.
Or the 10 points in the fourth quarter in the state final six days later against Newark West Side.
In truth, it was all that – plus a couple dozen more clutch performances in the course of his four-year career – that stamped Mike DePersia of Haddonfield as South Jersey’s basketball player of the decade from 2010-19.
“No moment is too big for him,” Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said after DePersia led the Bulldogs to their second straight state title in March of 2019 at Rutgers.
DePersia’s ball-handling, floor sense, passing, scoring and unflappable presence helped Haddonfield win 102 games in his four seasons. As a junior and senior, he led the Bulldogs to a 60-6 record and a pair of Group 2 state titles, both times sealing the deal with big-time performances at Rutgers in championship games against powerhouse teams from Newark.
DePersia played with indefatigable energy and steely competitiveness. He made big shot after big shot but also was a master of the extra pass and a sneaky-good defender and rebounder.
He was a perpetual thorn in Camden’s side in the state tournament. It started his sophomore year in 2017, when he made a 60-footer at the third-quarter buzzer and nearly led the Bulldogs to an upset of the Panthers in the last game in Clarence Turner Gymnasium.
That was prelude. As a junior, he snuck to the rim and made a put-back at the 0:03 mark of overtime for a 54-53 victory over Camden in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals before a roaring capacity crowd at Cherry Hill West.
A year later, it was across town at Cherry Hill East and another overtime battle with Camden in front of another capacity-plus crowd. This time, DePersia and senior forward Dan Fleming rallied the Bulldogs from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a pulse-pounding, 69-67 triumph.
A lithe left-hander, DePersia led Haddonfield to victory after victory over Colonial Conference rivals from Haddon Heights, Collingswood, Woodbury and Paulsboro as well as triumphs over non-league foes Camden Catholic, Bishop Eustace, St. Augustine and Lenape during the course of his career.