SPOTLIGHT

This is not a recording: Collingswood is expected to dethrone Haddonfield in the Colonial Conference boys' basketball race.

Then again, that was the theme last season. It was a season in which Collingswood

did

end Haddonfield's 67-game conference winning streak.

But it also was a season in which Haddonfield won its fourth consecutive Colonial title by putting together a 17-3 conference record, one game better than the three second-place finishers: Collingswood, Paulsboro and Sterling.

This season's conference race should be just as exciting. Collingswood returns two marquee players - high-scoring 6-foot-2 senior guard Darnell McCargo and 6-6 senior guard Keith Whittington - and is the slight favorite.

McCargo, a four-year starter, averaged 18.6 points per game last season, while Whittington contributed eight points per game and led the Panthers in blocked shots.

"They're two of the best players in the conference," Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said.

Junior guard Justin Brogsdale, sophomore Tyrone Mann-Barnes, junior Mitch Carsillo, senior Harrison Carsillo, senior Eric James and senior Trey Causley are other Panthers with varsity experience. Collingswood will be aided by two senior transfers - Vaughn Peterson from Buena and Chris Radon from Delsea.

"Replacing three starters won't be easy, but the players are ready for the challenge," said Collingswood coach Joe McLoughlin, whose team is aiming for its first Colonial title since 1977.

While Collingswood is the slight favorite, Sterling, Haddonfield, Paulsboro and Woodbury also look like strong contenders. The rest of the conference is improved from last season.

"A lot of teams are going to be good. Maybe not great, but good," Haddon Heights coach Butch McLean said. "There's a lot of balance this year."

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com.