Here is the all-South Jersey boys' basketball team:
Justyn Mutts averaged 12.4 points this season, lowest among 15 players who were first-, second- or third-team All-South Jersey selections.
He still is the Inquirer's South Jersey player of the year for boys' basketball.
"Points didn't matter to me," Mutts said. "All I cared about was whether we won the game."
More than any top player in recent South Jersey history, Mutts impacted the game more at the defensive end than the offensive end.
A springy 6-foot-7 athlete, Mutts made his mark as a shot blocker and rebounder for a St. Augustine team that spent the season as the No. 1 squad in the Inquirer Top 25.
"He changed the game," St. Augustine coach Paul Rodio said. "We were able to trap, to extend defensively because he was back there and his ability to block shots, to rebound, to initiate the break, really was the key to everything we've been able to do in recent years."
Mutts, a High Point recruit, is a two-time, first-team All-South Jersey selection. This season, he averaged 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks as St. Augustine went 27-3 and won its third straight Cape-Atlantic League title and second straight Non-Public South A crown.
Mutts played some of his best games against the strongest competition, with 19 points - including a thunderous dunk in the open floor - against state power St. Anthony and 20 points in the conference title game against rival Atlantic City.
"The St. Anthony game, he was off the charts," Rodio said.
Mutts could score. He finished his career with 1,389 points, sixth on the Hermits' all-time list.
But Atlantic City coach Gene Allen, whose team lost to St. Augustine five times in the last two seasons, said Mutts' play at the defensive end was the key to the team's success.
"Mutts single-handedly changed the way St. Augustine played defense the last two years," Allen said. "They played the passing lanes aggressively, they trapped all over the court, they invited you into the lane because they had the best shot blocker in New Jersey and if he didn't block you shot he made you change it or take a tougher shot."
When Camden needed a bucket in the final seconds of the Group 2 state final, the Panthers got the basketball to Thompson.
The 6-foot-4 athlete made a strong move through the lane but his runner as the buzzer sounded in Rutgers Athletic Center rimmed out and left Camden with a 51-49 loss.
But it was fitting that Thompson seized the basketball and the initiative in the decisive moment of the season. The burly forward was the Panthers' go-to guy.
Thompson averaged 16.7 points and 10.7 rebounds. For all his gritty play in the paint, Thompson also specialized in a soft touch on jumpers from 12-to-15 feet.
In the state tournament, Thompson raised the level of his play, averaging 18.5 points in the Panthers' six biggest games of the season.
Ja'Zere Noel was one of South Jersey's most versatile players.
And one of the most valuable, too.
Noel averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in leading Woodbury to just the third appearance in the state finals in program history.
Noel was at his best down the stretch. He scored 36 against Pitman, 32 against Burlington City and 27 against Verona in state tournament games.
"By far the best player we saw this season," Burlington City coach Paul Collins said of Noel.
Noel also generated 103 assists, 44 steals and 29 blocks. He led the Thundering Herd to a 26-6 record and just the school's second sectional title since 1934.
Austin Kennedy saved his best for last.
The 6-0 guard scored all 22 of his points in the second half of St. Augustine's 69-66 loss to Don Bosco Prep in the Non-Public A state title game.
"Amazing," St. Augustine senior Justyn Mutts said of Kennedy's performance.
Kennedy was the "heart and soul" of the Hermits, according to Atlantic City coach Gene Allen.
Kennedy averaged 13.6 points for a balanced team that went 27-3 and won the Non-Public South A title for the second year in a row. He was a top passer and defender and an underrated rebounder as well.
Kennedy's 22 points in the state final tied his season high and underscored his ability to rise to the challenge when his team needed him the most.
Some teams have a Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.
Deveney was both for Shawnee.
The 6-foot-6 athlete could muscle in the paint for rebounds and buckets. He also was the Renegades' top outside shooter, with 61 three-pointers.
Deveney averaged 16.6 points in leading Shawnee to a 29-3 record, the South Jersey Group 4 title and a berth in the Group 4 state finals.
Deveney was at his best in big games, scoring 31 in a triple-overtime victory over Toms River North in the sectional final and generating Shawnee's first seven points of the fourth quarter in pulling away from Central Jersey champion Hunterdon Central in the state semifinals.
Manny Ansong, Bordentown, 6-3, Sr., 24.1
John Evans, Camden, 5-10, Sr., 13.9
Maurice Murray, Timber Creek, 6-5, Jr., 24.5
Dean Noll, Shawnee, 6-1, Jr., 14.5
Jesse Saul, Bishop Eustace, 6-3, Sr., 15.2
Baba Ajike, Camden Cath., 6-5, So., 14.4
Ray Bethea, Atlantic City, 6-5, Jr., 18.0
Mike DePersia, Haddonfield, 6-0, So., 14.9
Aaron Estrada, Woodbury, 6-2, So., 16.9
Osun Osunniyi, Mainland, 6-9, Sr., 14.4