Player of the Year: So. Jaylan Hornsby, Overbrook
The reigning South Jersey Sports Zone Rookie of the Year averaged a team-best 20.2 points per game and helped the Rams to a 21-5 record this season. Hornsby exploded for a career-high 30 points in a 73-65 win over Deptford on January 8. 10 days later, he surpassed his previous mark with a 33-point performance in an 80-68 setback to No. 4 Cherry Hill East.
The sophomore scored 20 or more points in a single game on 13 separate occasions and poured in a game-high 28 in a 61-59 statement win over No. 10 Burlington Township on February 14.
Hornsby’s contributions also helped Overbrook enjoy a 15-game win streak and capture its first Tri-County Conference Tournament title in school history. He averaged 20.3 points per game during the 15-game stretch and contributed 14 points in the Rams’ 59-51 win over Clearview in the TCC Tournament final on February 22.
The 6-foot-4 guard currently holds two NCAA Division I football offers from Temple and UConn.
Through his first 40 scholastic games, Hornsby has accumulated 721 career points.
“His abilities on the court are equal to his spirit in the locker room. He is a great player and teammate,” Overbrook coach John Rosser said. “The jump he made this year between freshman year and sophomore year was huge. I truly believe he will come back even better for his junior year campaign. He is a very hardworking kid on and off the court. The sky’s the limit for him.”
Coach of the Year: Anthony Farmer, Salem
The former Rutgers guard orchestrated a basketball renaissance in Salem City and guided the program to its first sectional championship appearance since 2008. After opening the campaign with three straight losses, Farmer led the Rams on a 15-game winning streak with quality victories over Haddon Township, Cherry Hill West and Wildwood.
“We had no expectations,” Farmer said. “It wasn’t anything to get down about. We played some really good opponents early (in the season). I knew once we got everything together that we could be pretty good down the stretch. We just continued to get better.”
FINAL: Salem 64, Pitman 48. @SJSportsZone 🏀— Kevin Emmons (@OfficialKEmmons) January 26, 2022
The Rams win their 11th game in a row. Keith Brown and Zyahir Pickett led the way with 15 points each. Anthony Farmer, Jr. added 13.
Aiden Ewe led Pitman with 17.@MontWright856 @SalemFootballSJ @PitmanAthletics @PitmanHoops
The Rams three-game skid to open the season included losses to Overbrook, Paulsboro and Collingswood. The narrow 51-47 setback to Collingswood was the ingredient used to fuel their 15-game winning streak.
“That’s when the guys really came together,” Farmer said. “Start seeing guys doing the little things — grinding, refusing to lose. That was remarkable.”
Salem finished the season with a 21-8 record and captured the Tri-County Conference Classic Division title. Farmer’s squad finished with a 10-1 record in TCC Classic matchups and finished 14-4 against conference opponents (including TCC tournament and NJSIAA playoffs).
The Rams’ quest for their first sectional title since 2008 was terminated by a 51-41 loss to Gloucester in the South Jersey Group 1 final on March 8.
Farmer’s son, sophomore Anthony Farmer, Jr., paced the Rams with a team-high 13.4 points per game. The sophomore sharpshooter also led the team with 42 3-pointers made. Junior Amare Smith contributed 11.3 points per game and led the team in rebounds. Juniors Myles Rodgers (7.2 ppg), Zyahir Pickett (9.3 ppg), Randy Sayers (6.4 ppg) and Jahki Coates (5.1 ppg) all charted significant minutes and will return next season.
The plethora of underclassmen in the Rams’ program paired with this season’s success has generated optimism in Salem City.
“People are excited about basketball around here,” Farmer said. “The whole community has something to look forward to next year. Just to bring the community together is great in a small place like Salem City. When we were 0-3 nobody was in the gym. It was very light in here and then as we started to make our run you see the place filling up. And then obviously in the South Jersey (Group 1) final in Gloucester City and its elbow room (only). Sports always unify.”
Team of the Year: Overbrook
The Rams won 15 straight games before falling to Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinalist Manchester Township (23-6 record), 62-54, in the South Jersey Group 2 quarterfinals. If not for a miraculous halfcourt buzzer beater by Haddonfield’s Darragh Roddy that made SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, Overbrook might have won 17 games in a row. The Rams fell to the Haddons, 41-40, on January 22 before ripping off 15 consecutive victories.
Overbrook finished with a 21-5 record and celebrated its second 20-win season since 2020. The Rams captured the Tri-County Conference Diamond Division title with a flawless 8-0 record in divisional matchups and finished with a 13-0 record against conference opponents.
“I can not begin to explain how proud I am of this group of guys,” Rosser said. “The work they all put in the gym over the summer and fall really showed. Being such a young group and being able to have this type of season, says more about the kind of young men than any amount of talent.”
The Tri-County Conference Tournament champions defeated a trio of South Jersey Group 4 schools — Kingsway (66-53), Williamstown (50-49) and Clearview (59-51) — to capture the title. Overbrook also earned a pair of wins over Middle Township and Burlington Township in consecutive days on buzzer beaters of their own.
Overbrook stuns No. 12 Burlington Township, 61-59, on a layup in transition by Devon Johnson as time expires in regulation. @SJSportsZone 🏀@O_Ramsbball @ohsRamSports @OverbrookRAMS @PineHillSD @bthsathletics @BasketballBt @Coach_RDerry pic.twitter.com/Rv3H7CmGNT— Kevin Emmons (@OfficialKEmmons) February 15, 2022
“It was definitely a year filled with excitement,” Rosser said. “Between back-to-back days of buzzer beaters, winning the TCC tourney, and winning the division. They were all great memories for our guys. I think the thing we will remember the most is the locker room celebrations, team meals, and bus rides because it was such a special group of guys. Those moments off the court where we gelled and fortified our chemistry were the most precious moments of the season and the ones we all will remember.”
The Rams also earned quality wins over South Jersey Group 1 finalist Salem, Deptford, Wildwood and Pemberton. They suffered three setbacks against Olympic Conference opponents Paul VI, Cherokee and No. 4 Cherry Hill East.
Overbrook is 55-13 since 2020 and is slated to return every player on its current roster next winter.
“This season was the beginning of the crescendo of the hard work and buy-in mentality that was started four years ago,” Rosser said. “I am extremely proud and can not wait for next year since we are bringing everyone back.”
Tri-County Conference First Team
So. Jaylan Hornsby, Overbrook
So. Carter Bobbitt, Clearview
Jr. Devon Johnson, Overbrook
Jr. Josh Eli, Deptford
Sr. Virgil Scruggs, Deptford
Tri-County Conference Second Team
Fr. Elijah Crispin, Pitman
So. Junior Hans, Wildwood
Sr. Jaeden O’Neal, Highland
Sr. Bobby Beecher, Triton
Sr. Anthony Charles, Clearview
Tri-County Conference Third Team
So. Anthony Farmer, Jr., Salem
So. Christian Durham, Clayton
Jr. R.J. Mustaro, Gloucester Catholic
Jr. Amare Smith, Salem
Sr. Colin Gill, Kingsway
Tri-County Conference Honorable Mentions
Fr. Luke Wood, Pennsville
So. Jahaan Green, Kingsway
So. Charles Graves, Glassboro
Jr. David Haywood, Overbrook
Jr. Bryan Warren, Timber Creek
Jr. Cristian Mazzamutto, Williamstown
Jr. Ethan Turner, Cumberland
Sr. Ernie Troiano, Wildwood
Sr. Chris Cooper, Deptford
Sr. Keith Brown, Salem
Sr. Sadique Powell, Delsea
Sr. Josiah Jones, Clayton
Sr. Cole Parks, Delsea
Sr. Jamel Yasin, Clearview
Sr. Anthony Thomas, Penns Grove
South Jersey Sports Zone (SJSZ) was co-founded by Kevin Emmons in 2017. The brand covers high school sports and promotes South Jersey pride. If you’d like to keep up with SJSZ, find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.