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RV girls seeking banner season

The question, seemingly obvious, caught Brianna Logan off guard.

Lauren Moses and coach Tony Corrado have led the Rancocas Valley basketball team to No. 1 in preseason rankings. (Ryan S. Greenberg/Staff Photographer)
Lauren Moses and coach Tony Corrado have led the Rancocas Valley basketball team to No. 1 in preseason rankings. (Ryan S. Greenberg/Staff Photographer)Read more

The question, seemingly obvious, caught Brianna Logan off guard.

Logan's Rancocas Valley girls' basketball team has not lost to a South Jersey opponent since 2009.

But when asked if continuing that streak was important to her team, the senior just shook her head. She turned her attention to the championship banner hanging on a wall of her home court.

"Look at that banner," she said. "We have one year up there. We need more.

"Yes, we want to be the best team in South Jersey. But we want a state championship - that's really all that matters to us."

Logan speaks from experience.

She scored a team-high 21 points for the Red Devils in the state Group 4 title game as a sophomore point guard, vaulting RV to its first and only state championship.

The good news for the Red Devils is that they enter this season as the biggest and most athletic team in South Jersey. RV is the favorite in Group 4 and appears to be South Jersey's first real Tournament of Champions contender in years.

The bad news is that until the Red Devils win that state title, the team will continue to be haunted by the banner in its own gym and the memory of an opportunity lost in last season's Central Jersey Group 4 title game.

"There are still nights when I don't sleep because of that loss," Red Devils coach Anthony Corrado said.

RV held a lead as large as 16 against eventual state champ Jackson before falling, 57-56, at home in last year's sectional final. When talking about the game, which they often do, the Red Devils tend not to focus on Jackson's scorching second-half hot streak from beyond the arc.

"If we're talking together as a team, we're talking about what we could have done better in that game," junior forward Lauren Moses said. "We feel like we relaxed a little bit in the third quarter. And we're determined not to let it happen again."

At 6-foot-2, Moses is a key piece of a giant RV rotation.

Logan, a 5-foot-4, scrappy, shifty floor general, is about the only player in RV's lineup not 6-foot or pushing that height. The Red Devils feature four 6-footers: sophomore forward Kristen Smith, senior center Jordan Woods-DiPace, junior forward Sabrina Jackson, and Moses.

The Red Devils also get a major boost from 5-10 junior shooting guard Dominique Ward.

Ward, one of the most athletic players in the state, transferred this year from Trenton Catholic, where she helped her team win the Tournament of Champions in 2011.

Ward should have little trouble adjusting to her new surroundings. She has played AAU basketball with most of the RV players and has been friends with several before that.

Friendship and closeness within the team are among RV's biggest assets, Ward said.

"We really try hard to stick together and be a team and be a family," she said. "That was a big part of our success at Trenton Catholic. And I do see that in this team."

Ward also will feel right at home with the grueling regular-season schedule that Corrado has once again put together, including games against some of the state's perennial powers, all in an effort to ready his team for a postseason run.

"The goal is to keep it going year after year," Corrado said. "We play hard. We play physical. And even as big as we are, we like to get out and run.

"We sell winning. We sell playing a good brand of basketball. That's what we strive to do."