【N.J】 Mercer County Basketball Hall of Fame to induct nine new members on April 16 – – – New Jersey News

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The Mercer County Basketball Hall of Fame will be inducting its fourth class on April 16 at Mercer Oaks Country Club.

The area has been a mecca for high school basketball for many years, and through it all from the early days all the way to the more recent state championship runs of Nottingham, Ewing, Trenton Catholic Academy and many others, some great talent was showcased in Mercer County.

There have been equally as many fabulous coaches, officials and other contributors that have helped continue to grow the game in this area.

The nine inductees this year are very worthy and here is the Class of 2023.

La’Keisha Sutton – At Trenton Catholic Academy she was the Gatorade Player of the Year, and then she had a great career at South Carolina. Sutton was at the forefront on great South Carolina teams as Dawn Staley’s first recruit. She is the current George School coach.

Ray Clark – Former Hightstown High boys and state championship girls coach. A coach that always got the most out of his players and his accomplishments are definitely Hall of Fame worthy. His girls team won the state Group IV title in 1987-88 and he also took the Rams’ boys to the Group IV semifinal.

Connie White – Former Trenton High great and Junior College Player of the Year leading Mercer to the JUCO National Championship. White was a top scorer at Trenton High as an All-County player and he averaged 20.7 points a game and was named All-America in 1974.

Bridgette Mitchell – Former Peddie All-America player and Gatorade Player of the Year with the Falcons. Then at Duke she led it to an ACC Championship and an Elite Eight appearance. Current head coach at Northeastern University and was recently named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year.

Don Hess – One of the greatest players in Steinert history and at the University of Cincinnati. He later coached at Notre Dame and Hightstown. He scored 1,073 points in three years at Steinert and received All-America status. He was the Player of the Year his first year at Cincinnati.

John “Mincy” Manczak – Manczak was one of the most well-known and accomplished officials every to grace a basketball court. He was legendary at the Mercer County CYO. Sadly, he will be inducted posthumously.

Sandy Orapel – When the girls game was just beginning to come into prominence Orapel was one of, if not the first female, to join the officiating ranks. She was a catalyst for other women to become a part of the game.

John Simone – Former Notre Dame boys and girls coach, his teams were always among the best in the state and his record stands among the best to ever grace a sideline. Under his guidance the Notre Dame girls team qualified for the state tournament 19 straight years.

It is truly another amazing class of players, coaches and officials that will be inducted.

Besides these great Mercer County Hall of Fame inductees, the Committee honors a county boys and girls high school player from the 2022-23 season with a scholarship amount toward college.

The boys scholarship is named in honor of legendary – sportswriter Jim Davis, and the girls in honor of George O’Gorman, another legendary – reporter and one of the first to give girls basketball the coverage it deserved.

If you wish to donate to either scholarship fund, simply send a check to Mercer County Basketball Hall of Fame at 13 Clearwater Drive, Allentown, NJ 08501.

The event will begin at 3 p.m. with a cocktail hour. Dinner will be at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $55.00. For ticket purchases, program ads and any other information, contact Linda Weise at tickets@mercercountybasketballhof.com

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