The Gloucester City High School boys basketball team is looking to pick up from where it left off in the early months of 2021.
The Lions finished the shortened campaign with a 10-5 record and squeezed into the final South Jersey Sports Zone Top 30 at No. 30. Three out of their five losses came by three points or less.
Liam James enters his ninth season as head coach on Market Street. James’ career record sits at 106-102 through his first eight seasons which includes five playoff wins. The program has made two appearances in the South Jersey Group 1 semifinals — 2016 and 2020 — during his tenure.
This year’s squad has similar aspirations.
“This group is looking to contend for a Colonial Patriot Division and Group 1 title,” James said. “With no postseason last season, this group is eager for another opportunity to prove themselves.”
James feels his team’s biggest strength is its experience.
Senior Steven Light is the Lions’ top returner after averaging 17.5 points per game last season. Light is only 212 points away from joining the 1,000-point club. He is joined by fellow returning starters Liam Gorman, Aydan Hagan and Steven Burkhardt.
Gorman contributed over 10.2 points per game last season and Hagan averaged over 7.4 points per game.
The trio of Light, Gorman and Burkhardt were starters on the 2019-20 team that won a pair of playoff games before bowing out to Lindenwold in the South Jersey Group 1 semifinals.
Gloucester’s biggest concern is their lack of height. The Lions do not feature a single player over 6-foot-2.
“We are undersized and will need to be smart and tough defensively,” James said. “Our varsity roster doesn’t have a player over 6-2.”
However, Gloucester knows what it lacks in height is outweighed by what it possesses in heart and grit.
“Steven Burkhardt and Steven Light will bring their toughness to the paint and make up for what we lack in height,” James said. “Every one of our returning starters from last year can shoot from outside. Michael Light, Steven’s sophomore brother, will now add to this group of shooters.”
Michael Light is a returning letterman that will move into the starting lineup. Senior shooting guard Adrian Delgado is another returning letterman. Junior Jack Radlinger, sophomore Caidan Elmore and freshmen Kadon Harris and Ryan James are promising newcomers that round out the Lions’ roster.
Preparation was also key for the program this past offseason. Gloucester played in a handful of leagues and showcases to help prime itself for the upcoming campaign.
“This summer, our group competed in the Haddon Heights Summer League Upper Division, Philly Live, and Eastern Camp,” James said. “We all agreed as a program that we wanted to play the toughest teams we could find in the offseason.”
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.