The Clearview Regional High School boys basketball team has celebrated back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since they did so in 2012 and 2013.
The Pioneers are hoping a third straight winning season is in stock.
Senior Anthony Charles returns after averaging 12.1 points per game last season. He tallied a career-high 24 points in an 88-76 win over Route 322 rival Kingsway last February and posted double figures in 11 out of 15 games.
Charles knows a thing or two about winning. The senior also helped the Pioneers’ baseball program capture the South Jersey Group 4 title and tallied 15 hits, 15 runs scored and 14 runs batted in last spring.
Charles’ coaches and teammates are hoping that his leadership can translate to the hardwood.
“As a leader, I think Anthony is finding his footing and figuring out how to be one of the seniors in the room,” Clearview coach Robert MacKerchar said. “I’m hoping he’s able to set a standard for the young guys and lead by example.”
“Anthony is a really good athlete,” MacKerchar added. “He is a guy that might have gotten a lot of time two years ago if it weren’t for our team being so senior-heavy and successful. Anthony has a really natural shooting stroke, so I’m hoping that his shooting becomes more consistent, and he’s already able to get up and down the floor well and score in space. We’ll definitely ask him to help carry the weight when it comes to scoring.”
The Pioneers finished with an 8-7 record last season. Clearview battled throughout the duration of the season and lost four of its seven losses to teams that were ranked in the South Jersey Sports Zone Top 15 — Deptford, Overbrook and Timber Creek (twice). They also lost to Tri-County Conference rival Delsea (10-5 record) twice by a combined four points.
Charles will be joined by fellow returning starters Jamel Yasin and Carter Bobbitt. Yasin, a senior, averaged 8.2 points per game last season and led the team in assists. As a freshman, Bobbitt poured in 7.7 points per game and led the team in rebounds and blocks.
MacKerchar believes both could reach new heights this season.
“I expect Carter Bobbitt and Jamel Yasin to take a big step forward,” MacKerchar said. “Carter is a sophomore, so last year was tough as an incoming freshman with no offseason. He’s worked tremendously hard in the offseason and should be one of our tone setters and leaders.”
“Jamel is another player that worked his way into the starting rotation last year and had to really figure things out on the fly,” MacKerchar added. “Both of those guys are tough, physical players who are capable of leading us in scoring on any given night. There’s a lot of exciting underclassmen in our program, too, but I expect Carter and Jamel to really stand out.”
Senior Cartier Robinson is another key returnee that averaged 7.0 points per game and led the team in steals.
“A lot of the returning guys went through growing pains last year,” MacKerchar said. “Last season was tough for everyone, because COVID really limited what we were able to do in the offseason and even during the season. I’m hoping that the experience that guys like Jamel Yasin, Anthony Charles, Carter Bobbitt, and Cartier Robinson got will help the game slow down for them. Hopefully that means less turnovers, better decision making, and better chemistry on the court.”
Senior Justin Medrick and juniors Matt Bell, John Tyler and Joe Heise are also returning lettermen. The Pioneers will welcome four newcomers including juniors Luc Chapall, Rocco Cirone, Chris Coudriet, and freshman Kaprice Stewart.
Clearview’s biggest challenge will be building chemistry, adjusting to the speed of the game and playing a disciplined brand of basketball. MacKerchar’s career record currently sits at 58-57 through his first five seasons in Mullica Hill. Two seasons ago, MacKerchar’s team finished 18-8 and won a playoff game (defeated Southern 69-53) for the first time during his tenure.
Those same accomplishments appear attainable as long as the Pioneers buy in and work together as a brotherhood this winter.
“I think the young guys in our program now have the potential to achieve at a similar level to those previous players and teams,” MacKerchar said. “Chemistry was really important with those previous teams. I think this team is finding its chemistry; if they’re able to gel on the floor, I think we can have a really successful season. The one thing that I will say for Clearview kids, on the whole, is that they work hard and buy-in, and that always makes my job easier as the coach.”
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.