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Tri-County Conference Boys’ Notebook

Royal Division. Kingsway returns three starters from last season's 27-3 team, which won the South Jersey Group 3 title and beat Lakewood by 20 in the state semifinals.

Royal Division. Kingsway returns three starters from last season's 27-3 team, which won the South Jersey Group 3 title and beat Lakewood by 20 in the state semifinals.

Leading the way will be 6-foot-1 senior guard Rondell Gilmore, a starter on the last two South Jersey championship teams. Gilmore, who is coming off a strong football season as a quarterback, averaged 15.3 points.

Other returning starters include 6-3 senior forward Troy Jenkins and 5-11 senior guard Kyler Grigsby.

Three other seniors are experienced players: 6-6 Jaysen Conway, 6-4 Jordan Fagan and 5-8 Brian Samuels.

Williamstown, which returns four starters from an 18-10 team, will challenge for the division title and could be in South Jersey Group 4 contention, too. The Braves are led by 6-2 senior guard Curtis Hopkins, who averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

The Braves' other returning starters are 5-11 senior guard Julian Martin, 6-6 senior forward Alssene Saintilus, and 5-10 senior guard D'Shawn Haines.

Jaleel Robinson, a 6-0 senior, will push for playing time, and 6-3, 220-pound sophomore Chris Leary should add some inside muscle.

Highland could be in the title chase with an athletic team that features returning starters Tyree Brown, a 6-3 junior, and Dashhem Sanders, a 5-10 sophomore.

The Tartans should get a boost from 6-3 senior Donte McNeil as well as two transfers: 6-1 senior Brandi Bell and 6-3 senior Christoff Lindsey.

Clearview returns four starters, led by 5-10 senior guard Aquil Simmons, who averaged eight points. The Pioneers also will count on 6-3 senior John Manna, 6-0 senior Brian Burke and 6-1 sophomore Brian Lukacsy.

Diamond Division. This race could turn on opening night as defending champion Gloucester Catholic hosts top contender Penns Grove.

The Rams return three starters from last season's 20-6 team, which went 10-0 in the division, including a triple-overtime win over Penns Grove. Leading the way will be 5-11 senior guard Mike Okafor, who averaged 10 points, four assists and four rebounds.

The other returning starters are 6-3 senior Kevin Cano, who averaged six points and five rebounds, and 5-11 junior Robbie Alessandrine, who averaged eight points and six assists.

The Rams are expecting a spark from 6-5 sophomore Mike Shawaryn.

Penns Grove will contend with a strong squad led by 5-11 senior guard Amir Sorrell, who missed the last 12 games with a foot injury, and 6-0 senior guard Malcolm Chase.

Other returning starters are 6-4 sophomore Garrett Wilson and 5-10 senior Keyshaun White. The Red Devils also should get a lift from the return of 5-10 senior guard Ky Brown, who started as a sophomore but sat out last season.

Deptford returns just one letterman in 6-1 senior forward Brandan Merchant. The Spartans have some depth at the guard position, with 5-10 junior Brandon West, a transfer from St. Joseph's Prep (Pa.), and 5-10 freshman DaRon Curry likely to make an immediate impact.

GCIT returns four starters, led by 6-1 junior Kevin Krowicki, who averaged 13 points, as well as 6-2 senior Kenny Johnson, 5-8 junior Kevin Smith and 6-2 junior Keenan Bergan.

Classic Division. Pitman is a heavy favorite in this division and should challenge for the South Jersey Group 1 title.

The Panthers have a dynamic duo in 5-8 senior Luke Dickson and 6-4 center Dylan Colgate, a pair who already have combined for more than 3,000 career points.

Pitman, which was 25-3 last season and 46-10 over the last two seasons, has a few other seniors with experience including 6-5 forward Joe Kelly, 6-3 forward Alex Matchett, 5-10 guard John Sayer, and 6-0 forward Jeff Wood.

Gloucester returns four starters from a 14-13 team and should get a boost from the return of 5-10 senior guard Tom Lindsay, who led the Lions in scoring as a sophomore but sat out last season with an injury.

Gloucester has one of South Jersey's most talented sophomores in 6-1 guard Stefano Okoro, who averaged 12.7 points as a freshman. The Lions' other returning starters include 6-4 junior Tajee Almon along with 6-0 senior Joe Cipriani and 6-1 senior Mike Gorman.

Salem has four starters back from a 12-11 team, including 6-1 senior Woody Furbush and 6-1 senior Aaron Groce.

The Rams also will count on senior guards RaShawn Harold and Eugene Brice.

Clayton returns a three-year starter at point guard in 6-2 senior Dan Reed, who averaged six points and six assists last season.

The Clippers also are counting on 6-3 junior Christian Klumpp, 6-3 sophomore Percell Downes and 6-2 senior Kevin Rakus.

   - Phil Anastasia