Presented By South Jersey Sports Zone
MANCHESTER Twp. – If there was a Manchester Township High School athletics Mount Rushmore, Destiny Adams would have a spot reserved.
At least Hawks’ coach Dave Beauchemin thinks so.
“I would say so,” Beauchemin said smiling. “You couldn’t really have one without putting her on it.”
The senior helped the Manchester Township High School girls basketball program capture a Group II state championship in 2019 and a South II regional championship in 2020. The Hawks looked like the favorites to repeat as Group II state champions last year before COVID-19 put an abrupt end to the season.
COVID-19 deprived Adams and her teammates of many opportunities, but the Hawks didn’t choose to sulk about it.
Instead, Adams responded by continuing to be a great leader and an even greater teammate.
“I’ve been so proud of her this year,” Beauchemin said. “We don’t have a lot of practices and games. As you would expect of a senior and a player of her caliber, she’s been the best version of herself throughout these practices. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Nobody will duplicate what she did.”
Adams has already surpassed the former Manchester Township greats and is the program’s all-time leading scorer. The senior had a legitimate shot at eclipsing 2,000 career points before the announcement came that the 2021 season would be shortened to 15 regular season games, with no postseason, due to the ongoing pandemic.
“In the beginning of the season, a big goal of mine was to get 2,000,”Adams said. “It was really tough because we only get 15 games and that would be 32 points a game.”
More importantly, Adams is grateful for having the opportunity to continue her family’s legacy and put a small town like Manchester Township on the map.
“It’s been a really great experience,” Adams said. “It’s so special. This is my hometown, my dad’s the principal. He came here, so just to follow in his footsteps, cause his name is up there (on the 1,000-point club banner), too — it’s just an honor. I really like doing it for my community. I feel like us being so good really brought the community together and for me to just beat records here, it feels great.”
Adams is the 20th ranked player in the 2021 HoopGurlz Top 100 rankings via ESPN. The senior committed to North Carolina in the offseason.
Player of the Game: North Carolina commit Destiny Adams notched a game-high 30 points in Manchester Township’s 68-57 win over Life Center on Wednesday night. The senior has cemented her legacy at MTHS. @SJSportsZone @MTHS_Sports @MTHSboosterclub @destinyyadamss @uncwbb pic.twitter.com/uTgICBkcDG— Kevin Emmons (@OfficialKEmmons) February 18, 2021
“Probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Adams said. “When I went there it really felt like home and I connected with the coaching staff right off the bat. I’m really excited to go (and) I just want to make a difference there.”
North Carolina was the lucky recipient of Adams’ talents. The senior picked UNC over a plethora of other noteworthy institutions.
In fact, Adams chose the Tar Heels over a few of their Atlantic Coast Conference rivals.
“NC State, FSU (Florida State) and UNC were really my top three (choices),” Adams said. “I really cut off all the West Coast (schools) because I didn’t want to go that far.”
Adams ascended into the national spotlight with her superb play on the AAU circuit, competing with Team Exodus in the Nike EYBL. The opportunity to play on arguably the best AAU circuit in the nation is an experience Adams will forever be grateful for.
“I played for my dad up until my tenth grade year,” Adams said. “Then I switched to EYBL Exodus New York City. That really opened the doors. The exposure in the EYBL circuit is insane. There’s over 20-plus coaches at every single game so I think that really brought a lot of attention.”
On the interscholastic circuit, Adams has been nothing less than impressive.
The North Carolina commit tallied a game-high 30 points in a 68-57 win over Life Center on February 17. The senior followed up the outstanding performance with a 35-point, 28-rebound outing in a 68-54 win over Donovan Catholic on February 20.
Manchester Township’s Destiny Adams scores on the inbound play. Adams has 25 points. The Hawks lead Life Center 59-52 with 5:56 left in Q4. @SJSportsZone 🏀@MTHS_Sports @MTHSboosterclub pic.twitter.com/AlLS2PfEO4— Kevin Emmons (@OfficialKEmmons) February 18, 2021
“I have to play my best for my team,” Adams said. “I have to come out every game and do what I do best and just be myself.”
Manchester Township’s wealth of upcoming talent was also on full-display in the victory over Life Center.
Freshman Devyn Quigley notched 15 points in the win and junior Amyah Bray added 12.
The Hawks trailed 23-14 after the opening period before erupting for six consecutive 3-pointers made to start the second quarter. Manchester Township finished the quarter 6-for-8 from beyond-the-arc and knocked down 12 total 3-pointers in the win.
“In the beginning of the game, we all started out slow,” Quigley said. “Usually what we do if that happens, we just find our groove as a team. It all starts on defense — that’s what we talk about a lot. The energy that we have on defense, we have to make sure that we take it over to offense. I believe that’s what we did in the second quarter to help us get into our groove.”
Quigley and Bray are leading a youth movement that has Manchester Township optimistic for years to come.
“I think it’s a testament to the way the community just kind of absorbs basketball,” Beauchemin said. “These girls are coming in prepared and ready. Their game is at a better place. When they come in, they have an opportunity to make an impact. We’ve been having great practices, we’re leading everyday. I think that’s going to help us in the long run.”
A lot of that optimism roots from Bray’s presence.
“(Amyah Bray is) just a growing player,” Beauchemin said. “We were a little deeper when she first came in. We were different at that time and there really weren’t the minutes for a ready freshman with the experience that we had and the seniors that we had. That was the team that went on a run to the ToC.
She defends well for us, she’s a great shooter for us, she can handle the basketball. I think some of the versatility she can bring to the table, we’ll probably see even more of that next year. She challenges herself in the game and found a way to continue to improve through COVID and everything going on. I’m expecting her to finish strong and have a great senior year next year.”
Alleviating the loss of a star player to graduation is always a huge task. Destiny Adams is a prime example.
As for her teammates, they are thankful for the opportunity to play alongside the greatest player in school history and look forward to continuing the winning tradition after her departure.
“She’s a really good leader,” Quigley said. “She’s always encouraging her teammates. She’s just a really good teammate and it’s really fun playing with her.”
Quigley also hopes to carry on her own family’s tradition at Manchester Township.
“My dad played here, my aunts went to high school here,” Quigley said. “It’s really special. It’s just nice that I get to experience what they experienced and hopefully (I can) just do the best that I can.”
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.
(Photo Credit: Kevin Emmons)