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Author: haddonfieldtoday

A new school year: 2022-23

Chuck Klaus, Superintendent of Schools

Greetings!

The first and most exciting aspect of the summer of 2022 was how different it has been from the last two! In the summers of ’20 and ’21, there was a singular focus; almost all of our energy went into planning and developing schedules and systems to deal with COVID. We continued to push forward with our work as educators, but that overwhelming cloud drove decision-making and consumed much time and effort.

This summer has been very different.

The administrative team developed a new format for summer leadership work. The core team attended the AASA conference in Washington, D.C., followed by a more expansive two-day retreat. The conference was excellent! The most significant advantage of the model for this retreat was gaining access to nationally renowned experts in different areas.

One afternoon was spent with Dr. Shelley Berman, who helped us to re-examine our approach to social-emotional learning. We also spent time with Dr. Anthony (A.J.) Nottingham, who helped us to focus on leadership styles and growth. These discussions helped us to stop and think about who we are, what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.

Upon our return, we met every Wednesday afternoon throughout the summer to address specific topics and to collaborate. Breaking up our work sessions into several shorter meetings has been more productive and has made better use of our time.

There’s been a significant amount of curriculum work done over the summer. Teachers have been writing and revising curricula that will eventually be submitted for Board approval.

The three areas that have stood out with greater focus are math, ELA, and PE/Health.

  • Math: For K to 5, the team is starting the research and planning for a pilot that will be put in place next year. The 6-12 training has been arranged with Desmos and Dr. Eric Milou from Rowan University. The training will focus on instructional methods (rather than simply on the programs) and will benefit students immensely.
  • English Language Arts (ELA) work is in an organizational phase. We will be soliciting community input during the school year.
  • Health and PE teachers have been working diligently on an updated curriculum. Parents may review the state standards, current curricular maps, and DRAFTS of updates on the Health and PE Curriculum Development website.

Another significant summer project has been preparing for the upcoming bond referendum. Board Secretary Michael Catalano and I have met with LAN Associates and have closed out the survey that was sent to all members of the school district family and to the community at large. Once the survey data is fully analyzed, we will start to plan charrettes to discuss specific needs, suggestions and concerns. Some of the questions raised in the survey are:

  • Hopkins parcel: How to use this land and how to deal with the historic building?
  • Elementary schools: Can we separate eating and physical education spaces?
  • High School: How to create a new secure vestibule?
  • General: How can we improve our learning spaces?
  • Athletics: How to increase/improve our athletic fields?

Here is a link to survey data.

Here is a link to the LRFP (Long-Range Facilities Plan) website.

Our Buildings and Grounds crew has been busy as well. In addition to cleaning and servicing of all of the mechanical equipment in the entire district, our in-house staff replaced aging carpeting with VCT flooring in several locations. Their biggest summer project involved the student/staff paint crew. Two teachers and six students painted all of the hallways in HMHS and Lizzy Haddon! They also painted several classrooms, kitchens and offices throughout the district.

Most recently, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gino Priolo and World Language teacher Chris Gwin redesigned our new teacher orientation, making it more interactive and adding more time for building-based work with administration and mentors. We enjoyed getting to know these newest members of our school district community August 29, 30 and 31!

Friends, I look forward to seeing many of you during the first week of school, September 6-9. Let’s make it a great school year!

Celebrating the journey

Chuck Klaus, Superintendent of Schools

It certainly gives me great pleasure to welcome graduates, family, friends, staff, and Board of Education members to the commencement ceremonies of the Haddonfield Memorial High School Class of 2022.

Commencement is a unique event for many reasons. One of the more intriguing aspects of tonight is that the 229 individuals behind me are experiencing an unusual moment when the past, present, and future intersect in a significantly poignant meeting. Tonight is the culmination of a 13-year journey through education. Tonight, students and families will be thinking about the first day of kindergarten, the first day of high school, all the joys and some of the sorrow that happened over the journey.

This leads to the present: the journey is what we are here to celebrate. Celebrating the present is essential. It is the celebration of the moment. The students, families, friends, and teachers deserve this time of joy.

Yet, this is a Commencement ceremony because it is about the beginning. Tonight is about the future. It is about where these students will go, and more importantly, where they will take us. So as we experience tonight’s ceremony, we should remember that this is about the past, present, and future; one of the few times in life when all three are equally significant. Each class has faced unique circumstances and challenges as they move through their educational careers. Indeed, this class can make that claim as well as any.

The class of 2022 started high school in a pre-COVID world filled with promise, joy, and excitement for the high school experience. They were then met with the most bizarre and unexpected shift as schools were shut down, followed by partial openings and masks. Finally, this class ended their career much as they started school. They are the only class to make that full circle; it is important to note that they did it well.

Throughout their careers, the Class of 2022 displayed perseverance, character, and optimism. The class is proud of their commitment to being who they are as well as the commitment to push forward in trying times. This is the past we celebrate tonight. These characteristics both strengthen these students as they move forward and give us all a reason to hope.

Knowing the students’ attitudes, dreams, and visions, we all have good reasons for hope. The Class of 2022 is dedicated to doing what is right and to making a better world. They have demonstrated over the past four years that they are more than willing and able to make it happen. They use persistence and drive to overcome despair and embed their world with hope.

The Class of 2022 represents scholarship and success in the classroom that would rival any. Here is a snapshot of their ACADEMIC achievement:

  • 104 members in the National Honor Society
  • 98 Neumuller Scholars who achieved an A+ weighted GPA over four years
  • 12 Commended National Merit Scholars
  • 1 National Merit Semi-Finalist
  • 1 National Merit Finalist
  • 1 National Merit Scholarship Recipient
  • 45 Seniors earned the distinguished New Jersey Seal of Bi-Literacy
  • Seniors participated in 527 AP Exams
  • 96.9% are going to four-year schools in the fall
  • 1.8% will attend two-year schools.
  • On June 2, at the Senior Awards Ceremony, the class was awarded $330,000 in scholarships. After four years of renewable awards, the total will be over $600,000. In addition, the Class of 2022 earned $1,500,000 in outside scholarship funds for a total of over $2.1 million.
  • HMHS school rankings
    • State ranked #31
    • Nationally ranked #708
    • #249 STEM School

There is no doubt a class as focused, dedicated, and driven as this one will venture off into the world and become leaders in academia, medicine, environmental sciences, law, and social reform.

Academics alone are not enough. Growth and change result from combining knowledge with creativity to rethink issues and find solutions. The Class of 2022 is teeming with creative minds. As a result, over the past four years, the ARTS at HMHS have thrived.

We have all seen the magnificent Drama Club productions. I can say that because the auditorium is always packed. This year, the Drama Club performed the first full-length, live fall play since 2019, “The Book of Everything,” which saw our highest fall play attendance ever. And that was just the beginning. The spring musical “Cinderella” also claimed the highest attendance for a musical ever, including multiple sold-out shows. It was honored by Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards with seven nominations, four honorable mentions, and one win. We also enjoyed “Bulldawgs on Broadway” back for the first time since 2019.

The Marching Band impressed as we exited a world of restriction and limiting factors. You may have heard the band leading our community’s favorite Halloween characters during the Halloween parade, not to mention the town’s tree-lighting ceremony, where the band led Santa to one of his favorite posts – Kings Court. They also marched in the Haddon Township Pride Parade and Cherry Hill’s Juneteenth celebration. The 2021-22 Marching Band placed fourth in our region and in the state of New Jersey. Also noteworthy, the Battery Percussion won high percussion at the N.J. state competition for the first time in HMHS history.

The Madrigals continued their standard for excellent performances throughout the school year in various settings. They were awarded the prizes at multiple faires for their stellar arrangements of selected pieces.

The National Art Honor Society continues to make an impact. Beyond hundreds of hours of community service, seniors displayed remarkable painting ability this school year which is evident in a new mural representing those who have given their lives fighting for diversity and justice titled “Memorial.”

We know this class is talented in the classroom and has proven themselves to be creative thinkers. A third attribute they have demonstrated is DRIVE. If there is any doubt about the nature of their drive to succeed and their competitive spirit, all one must do is review their successes in the areas of ATHLETICS.

Haddonfield Memorial High School had tremendous athletic accomplishments during the past four years despite many lost post-seasons due to the pandemic. In four years, our teams compiled:

  • a record of 1,005 wins and 307 losses: a 77% winning percentage
  • 43 conference titles
  • 33 sectional titles
  • 18 New Jersey State Group championships

This is among the best, if not THE best, record of championships of any other high school in the state of New Jersey.

During the 2021-2022 school year, our teams won:

  • 9 conference titles
  • 11 sectional titles
  • 5 varsity teams finished their season as State Group champions. For the 40th year in a row, HMHS will receive the Colonial Conference All-Sports Award.
  • For the 17th straight year, HMHS will be declared the winner of the NJSIAA Shop Rite Cup for Group II, an award given to the school with the most sectional and state championships for each of the six groups in the state. HMHS is the only school in New Jersey that has won this award every year since the award’s inception!

HMHS Class of 2022, I want to congratulate and thank you for your dedication and your numerous and varied contributions. Please understand that my words are offered in earnest as I speak about you and what you have accomplished. As I think about all you have done, the circumstances you faced, and the grace with which you achieved your goals, I can not help but be moved. I genuinely believe that you bring hope. Your demonstration of promise, perseverance, and character assures me that, as we go forward, the Class of 2022 will touch all areas of our world. I thank you for that as a superintendent, educator, and person.

Since you are kind enough to give me hope, I want to share what I hope for you.

I borrow words from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“It’s never too late, or in your case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. You can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

Haddonfield Memorial High School Class of 2022, congratulations!

It’s farewell and not good-bye

Jack O’Donnell, HMHS Class of 2022 Salutatorian

Good evening, administrators, faculty, family, friends, and my fellow classmates. It is my honor to speak to all of you as the salutatorian of the class of 2022.

My first reaction upon finding out last Friday that I would be giving a speech at graduation was, “I’m glad I took Public Speaking last fall!” My next thought was, “How should I go about writing my last assignment of high school?” I decided to use a couple of problem-solving techniques: 1 – Break it up into smaller parts, so I’ll address the different groups here tonight. 2 – Seek advice from experts. I love listening to music, so I’ve taken inspiration from several famous songwriters.

Then I started to think about teacher songs … Teach Me How to Dougie? Not the right type of teaching. That Van Halen teacher song? Definitely not. Then I remembered that Jimmy Fallon wrote the perfect teacher song during the pandemic. Teachers shouldn’t have to pay their taxes/ They should get cheered around the clock / At the bank they should throw money at them / And at Chipotle they should always get free guac. To our teachers, all of them, from preschool through high school, thank you for not just all of the knowledge you’ve taught us, but also for connecting with us, understanding us, and believing in us. You deserve way more than just free guac for all that you’ve given us.

Next, our families – brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends who are family. Josh Groban sang it perfectly: You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains/ You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas/ I am strong, when I am on your shoulders/ You raise me up to more than I can be. You’ve made us who we are. Thank you for the support, motivation, encouragement and love.

To our parents – the previous song certainly applies to you. I couldn’t actually find another song good enough for your unconditional love and support these last 18 years, at every game, every show, and every day. So my own simple words will have to do. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Now finally, to the Class of 2022! We’re pretty special so I chose two songs for us. As the world-renowned and Grammy winning artist, Baby Keem, eloquently rapped: First order of business, dawg, I gotta thank my mama. It’s important for all of us to be grateful for not only our mamas, but our entire families! We wouldn’t be sitting here today without them. Let’s always remember where we came from.

Second order of business, share the blessings, no more trauma. We’ve all had hardships that we’ve had to face: a broken foot, COVID, other serious challenges. We got through those to be here. Let’s stay strong and positive to deal with whatever comes in the future.

Third order of business, do good deeds and get good karma. As Baby Keem said, I think it’s important to leave the world a better place than how we found it, and I believe that the Class of 2022 has that capability.

I’ll leave you with my other song for us, Until the Next Time by the American Celtic punk band out of Boston, Dropkick Murphys. We’ll meet again/ Don’t know where, don’t know when I We all had a good time I And we’re sad to see it end/ Good luck be with you I You go your way, I’ll go mine/ So until the next time/ It’s farewell and not good-bye.

On that note, let’s finish strong. Welcome, all, to the graduation of the great HMHS Class of 2022. Have a fantastic evening. Thank you.

Think of your own way of saying goodbye

Cleo Hamilton, HMHS Class of 2022 Valedictorian

Good evening everyone.

Choosing what to talk about today was a rocky process. Luckily, I got suggestions from my classmates! I want to talk about some of those suggestions and what they reveal about the HMHS Class of 2022.

First up, we’ve got the suggestion that I sing it. I like the challenge, but I think we’re all better off if I leave it to the music department to serenade us today. I’m no Madrigal after all. Singing this speech is a daring idea, and representative of our class’s creativity, talent, and readiness to take risks. Our class is made up of people willing to walk onto the stage to perform in Cinderella, or stand in front of the class to give a Dawg talk, or endeavor to set athletic records. We show our boldness with the causes we support and when we work for change.

This next suggestion probably wouldn’t have made it through Ms. McHale’s plagiarism radar. One classmate joked that I should deliver the entire High School Musical graduation speech, word for word. Lighthearted suggestions like this one show that we have grace and humor as we set out to take on society’s serious problems.

I think this throwback to High School Musical also reminds us of our shared K through 12 cultural history. We may not have everything in common, but a lot of us watched High School Musical, Stranger Things, or Avatar the Last Airbender. We played flappy bird, clash of clans, and Minecraft. We listened to Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X, Pitbull, and what seemed like the exact same DJ playlists at dances from rec hall to prom. Are there any party rockers in the house tonight? I SAID, are there any party rockers in the house tonight?

Love to hear it!

My physics class didn’t exactly give suggestions, but they did want a shoutout. I think the dynamics of my physics class represents what a class at HMHS can be. Each year we nervously entered class – wondering who we’d be with, whether we could keep up, and whether we’d make embarrassing mistakes. But by the end of the year, each class had its own camaraderie and inside jokes, with everyone working together to learn, and watching those mistakes we were afraid to make turn into some of the best and funniest academic experiences. So thank you Period 6 Physics for being a great class and showing what HMHS classes are all about!

A few classmates suggested that I talk about how our class made it through COVID, and how it brought us together. We learned to be more grateful for each other and for in-person learning. I don’t think I was ever as excited for the first day of school as I was last fall, even though it meant waking up early and changing out of my pajamas. How our class made it through COVID also demonstrated our serious side. We faced challenges and did our best to keep going together.

The speech suggestion that would have gotten us all out of here at record speed was to just yell “Go Class of 2022!” and then walk off stage. I like the brevity here, but I love the sentiment. It says, “I’m rooting for you! Your friends, family, and teachers are supporting and cheering for you! We can be optimistic about our future!”

I learned from all my classmates’ suggestions that the Class of 2022 is daring, lighthearted, helpful, generous, goofy, thoughtful, supportive, collaborative, and grateful.

Having received all these ideas demonstrates that no project or challenge is completed alone. We need to assemble our all-star team and work together. Through spirit week, with our extracurriculars, in our classrooms, or even just on Facetime working together, we have learned to collaborate.

Because a valedictory speech is about both who we are AND saying goodbye, I want to reflect on saying goodbye. We’ve said goodbye to a lot of things already: musically, middle school fashion, and braces. Some of these things we’ve been glad to say goodbye to. Other goodbyes have been harder: recess, Halloween parades, and talent shows.

Saying goodbye to HMHS marks a big moment in our lives so far, and as someone who cried at the end of soccer season, I know our goodbyes will be hard. But we don’t have to leave it all behind. Whatever was your favorite part of high school, whatever was the best part of who you were at HMHS, that’s something to hold on to. Hold on to your memories, your passions, your favorite things, your friends and your families.

As we say goodbye, we’re also saying hello to exciting new things: new jobs, new problems to solve, new opportunities, new schools and studies, new places to see around the world, or even just new freedom.

I want this speech to end with everyone’s participation – my graduating classmates AND all our friends and families in the stands who have helped us get here. I want you all to think of your own way of saying goodbye – any way you want – in the language you studied, with a wave or a peace sign – any words or gestures you choose. I’m going to count to three, then everybody shout it out. 

1, 2, 3 … Go class of 2022!

Despite the craziness, we stuck together

Lily Cheatham, HMHS Class of 2022 President

Good evening everyone! My name is Lily Cheatham, the senior class president for the graduation class of 2022 and it is my honor to be delivering this speech to you all tonight. 

I have been thinking about what I was going to say in this speech for the past few months. Reflecting back and recalling all of the wonderful memories we have created together as a class. We’ve truly been through so much together, we’ve laughed together, cried together, rejoiced together and even sung together (if any of you can recall our interesting rendition of the short musical Band Stand in middle school with Mrs. Murray). 

Through all of the craziness we have experienced in these past four years at HMHS, we’ve stuck together. Powering through two pandemics: COVID-19, and of course, the outbreak of senioritis that began its pervasive spread throughout our class as early as sophomore year. We have remained resilient to whatever challenges have come our way, and despite the numerous quarantines and school shut downs we’ve still dealt with these hardships together, or sometimes just maybe 5 or 6 feet apart.

It should be acknowledged, however, that our togetherness as a class began far earlier than freshman year. In fact I would argue our togetherness was apparent as early as 6th grade; the first year we attended school with one another having graduated from our respective elementary schools (which might I add, many of us still use as identifying factors for the different friend groups that have been created over the years today). Anyways, it’s true that I can remember quite clearly in the early days of 6th grade when we would all walk out to the left side of the train tracks each day, without fail, and we would make a circle in which Will Cody would run into the center of and do a back flip. It was honestly incredible. We would go crazy, running inwards and collapsing the circle so it was now one big mosh pit of 6th graders cheering and celebrating this great feat. 

However, our moments of togetherness weren’t always this positive. It was in 7th grade Mrs. Walters homeroom that together we mourned the death of our cherished class pet, George the frog. In memory of George the frog, my classmates and I in Walter’s homeroom decided to be named the “RIP George’s” for the middle school volleyball tournament. And so, even though the RIP George’s were the complete underdogs of the tournament that year, we powered through only to lose in the championship against Rider’s homeroom. Though honestly, the fact that we won any games at all that day was considered celebratory for the RIP George’s.

Flash forward a couple years and I witnessed our togetherness only strengthen as I assumed my role as class president during our sophomore year at HMHS. Let me tell you, that sophomore year Spirit Week was probably one of the best yet most stressful weeks of my entire life. A quick thank you to many parents, especially my own, who willingly dropped everything to make spontaneous runs to Michaels and Home Depot for things like “35 large unfolded cardboard boxes” and “15 packs of fake cobwebs.” Without your help I don’t think we would have been able to put together the masterpiece that was our Stranger things themed hallway. And another big thank you to Jack and the Rippers for performing themed music in every single Spirit Week hallway from freshman year to now. I would never have thought that Kiss Me More by Doja Cat rewritten into a 1920s-themed beat would work, but you guys definitely proved me wrong and I couldn’t thank you enough for putting that together this year. 

The willingness of so many people in our class to sit freezing in that unheated garage for two months every day after school and unintentionally inhale copious amounts of spray paint was not only shocking but extremely admirable. I feel so grateful to be surrounded by people who demonstrate such great reliability and adaptability to change.

In fact, I would definitely argue that adaptability has to be the most prominent trait of this graduating class. Whether it be dealing with the school schedule which seemed to change on a daily basis, or having our junior prom at an airport, our class was constantly confronted with change and I truthfully feel that we managed these confrontations with grace. It is my greatest hope for everyone here that you maintain that adaptability and flexibility moving forward in your lives, because people always say “you never know what could happen in a year’s time” and honestly if you had said that to me that before entering high school I’d probably be like, “yeah okay sure but how much can really change in 365 days?” 

And well, the answer to that question really came to me as I sat in my room, April of 2020, drinking my terrible cloud coffee, watching Tiger King during “chemistry class.” A lot. A lot can change in 365 days, so all I can say about that is be prepared. Be prepared for the worst, and the best, and everything in between because you really never know what could happen during such “unprecedented times.” And sometimes two weeks is not just two weeks, so I guess try and be prepared for that too. 

I am so proud of everyone in this graduating class and I only wish the best for everyone moving forward. I am humbled to have grown up alongside you all, and I can’t wait to hear about all the incredible things you all accomplish going into this next chapter of our lives, so with that, HMHS Class of 2022: Congratulations, we did it!

The big New Jersey bag ban

Effective Wed May 4, the State of New Jersey will restrict the types of bags and containers that retail stores and food-service establishments may provide to their customers.

The goal of the ban, which is the product of years of negotiations and compromises and was approved by the legislature in November 2020, is to cut down on litter that inundates New Jersey’s beaches and riverfronts.

SNAPSHOT

  • On and after Wed May 4, plastic carry-out bags can no longer be given out or sold in any store or restaurant. Exception: Plastic tote bags with stitched handles.
  • Paper bags cannot be given out in supermarkets or big-box stores that have grocery sections.
  • Polystyrene foam food containers, including clamshell boxes and coffee cups, can no longer be given out. Plastic straws? Available only upon request.

ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS

Q: I have a stash of plastic bags. Can I take my own plastic bags to shops and restaurants after May 4?
A: Yes (unless the establishment has its own rules).

Q: What if I’m buying clothing or housewares? Will I have to bring my own bags?
A: It depends on the store. The plastic bag ban applies to all stores regardless of what they sell. The paper bag ban applies only to supermarkets. Department stores, clothing boutiques, electronics stores, and similar establishments can still give out paper bags if they wish.

Q: I get my groceries delivered, or pick them up, curbside. What will my groceries be packed in?
A: That depends on the supermarket. (But one thing is for sure: Your groceries will not be in plastic or paper bags.)

Q: Can I pay a supermarket to give me a plastic or paper bag?
A: No.

Q: Will I still be able to buy plastic garbage bags?
A: Yes.

Q: What kinds of plastic bags are exempt?
A: Meat department, produce, and deli bags. Pet store, dry cleaning, pharmacy, and newspaper bags.

Q: Can I put old plastic bags in my recycling bin, for pickup at the curb?
A: No. (Plastic bags can get caught in sorting machines, causing a recycling plant’s entire operation to temporarily shut down while workers remove them.)

Q: Then where can I recycle old plastic bags in Haddonfield?
A: At the Acme. The supermarket will continue to have a bag bin just inside its entrance door, so customers can dispose of old bags.

Q: How will I be able to take leftovers home, after dining in a restaurant?
A: The ban applies only polystyrene foam (“Styrofoam”) food containers, plates, hot/cold beverage cups, meat/vegetable trays, cutlery, and egg cartons. The ban does not apply to hard plastic containers. Environmentally conscious restaurateurs may choose to use biodegradable cartons.

TO LEARN MORE …

Q: Where can I read the law?
A: HERE.

Q: Where can I get more information?
A: Here: singleuseplastics@dep.nj.gov and 609-984-4250.

Click HERE to link to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection website for this issue.

Julie Beddingfield named Citizen of the Year 2022

Photo: Colette Oswald

During the Mayor’s Breakfast on Saturday (March 19, 2022), Julie Beddingfield was named as Haddonfield’s Citizen of the Year for 2022.

Beddingfield put the knowledge and experience she gained as an environmental and land-use lawyer to use, for the benefit of our community, as a member (2009-16) and chair (2012-16) of the Haddonfield Environmental Commission. A variety of projects that she and others – including High School students – worked on led to the formation of Sustainable Haddonfield, which Julie also served on (2010-18) and chaired (2010-16).

She oversaw the work necessary to attain silver-level certification from Sustainable Jersey  and receive a $10,000 grant to develop a Green Building and Sustainability Element for Haddonfield’s Master Plan. Additional projects included a municipal energy audit, the addition of bicycle lanes to a portion of Grove Street, and a multi-faceted water conservation education campaign.To ensure community buy-in for these efforts, Julie spent much of her time meeting with individual stakeholders and civic groups to find projects that matched their interests and inspired their enthusiasm for the overall program. She identified opportunities for collaboration and made the certification truly a town-wide achievement. In recognition of her work, Julie was included in Haddonfield’s Women in the Community Proclamation in 2013 and was named Sustainable Jersey’s first Sustainability Hero in 2014.

Julie was a member of the Haddonfield Civic Association’s board of governors from 2012 until this year, and served as the Association’s treasurer from 2016.

As the owner of Inkwood Books (since 2015), Julie uses her store and her social media presence as a platform for a diversity of ideas and perspectives. The store supports literacy initiatives throughout the region, and numerous Haddonfield programs related to reading and literacy. During the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic – the outbreak of which coincided with her decision to move to larger premises – she inspired other Haddonfield business owners with her ability to pivot, adapt, and find creative solutions to the many challenges and obstacles that the pandemic placed before the owners of small businesses.

The author of one of the letters of recommendation submitted to the Lions Club for the Citizen of the Year award concluded: “In all of these ways and so many more, Julie truly embodies the best of Haddonfield. She understands that Haddonfield is a stronger community when we work together, listen to each other and support those who need help. And her contributions to our town have made it a more sustainable and more welcoming place to live.”

The author of another letter wrote: “As a wife, mother, businesswoman, and volunteer, Julie understands and enthusiastically embraces her community at all levels, and truly displays the volunteer spirit. And when the Covid pandemic shut down most activities for all of us, Julie responded with creativity and determination. She fought to keep her beloved independent bookstore available, hand-delivered books to people all over town to keep their spirits up during the pandemic, and helped many of us create virtual events. … Julie Beddingfield understands that for a small town to not just survive but to thrive, we must all work together – businesses, schools, and volunteer organizations – supporting each other in all aspects of community life.” 

Spondored by the Haddonfield Area Lions Club, the Mayor’s Breakfast is held annually in the Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Citizen of the Year award.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs win 20 games, make it to SJ Group 2 final

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

The past several years, I have had to write about entire seasons in one article, with the articles running 20,000 words or more. This year, thanks to Haddonfield Today’s online presence, I was able to break down the 30-game season that saw the Dawgs amass a 20-10 record over 11 weeks. (The total word count of those 11 wrap-ups came in just under 29,000, but that is preferred over writing that much in one, um, shot.). So instead of rehashing the games, I’m going to do something a little different (and shorter, I hope!). I’m going to take a look at the eight Haddonfield players who saw the most minutes and pick out their best moments. I’ll also look at the best overall games from a team effort and list a few “best of” accomplishments.

The Last Four Quarters

But first, a quick review of the South Jersey Group 2 final versus Camden is in order. On Friday night, March 4 in a packed Camden gym, where student Dawg fans were squished in like sardines, these two teams played for the 5th time (not year, since 2021 did not have any playoff games due to COVID) in a row. No one was really expecting a different outcome than what came to pass, with the Panthers rather easily beating the Dawgs 78–45. However, the Dawgs shook off some first quarter jitters offensively (if a few more baskets that looked like they could have dropped in had found the net, the Dawgs might have gotten 55 points or more) and held the Panthers to what was their lowest score in the four South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.

Matt Leming went out with five of his trademark 3’s, four of which came in the 2nd quarter, to finish with 15. Matthew Guveiyian got the Dawgs first (and only) first quarter points from the foul line, picking up where he left off at the end of the Sterling semifinal game on 3/2, and finished with 12. Tom Mooney kept the team working well together on the floor with ball-handling help from Daire Roddy. Defensive tough guys Carson Wolff and Dante Del Duca helped to keep Camden from running up the score. Junior Teddy Bond had one of his best all-around games, putting 7 points on the board and looking like he will be a big piece of the 2022–23 Dawgs’ season. At the very end of the game when Sean Bean, Christian Raymond, Evan Rohlfing, and Sam Narducci came in, instead of going through the motions in the final minutes, each of them scored; Beane’s 2 came from the foul line, Raymond, Rohlfing, and Narducci scored from the floor, with Narducci’s a 3-pointer.

So while it wasn’t the ending that the Haddonfield team and their fans would have liked at Camden, I know all those who came out to cheer on and support the Dawgs were proud of not only the effort they put out during the 30th and final game of the season, but for how hard they played the other 29 games. Now, let’s take a look, in chronological order, at some of the most outstanding games either by a player or the team overall. And if you want to read more about a specific game, I’m indicating what week (1 to 11) I wrote about it, and you can find that week’s article on my Haddonfield Today page (https://haddonfield.today/?s=lauree+Padgett). To get a list of all the games and the scores, go to the Dawgs’ homepage: https://haddonfieldathletics.org/main/teamschedule/id/3589622/seasonid/4623182. You can filter out the practices to just have the actual games show up by clicking on Event Type under Full Schedule and selecting Sport.

Week 1:

Haddon Township, 12/7/21; Timber Creek, 12/18/21; West Deptford, 12/21/21

In the Dawgs’ first game and win of the season, senior Tom Mooney scored 18 of Haddonfield’s 39 points as they beat the Hawks 39–17.

Two games later versus West Deptford, which the Dawgs resoundingly won 82–24, three seniors, Matthew Guveiyian, Mooney, and Matt Leming all scored in double figures, putting 14, 13, and 22 points on the board, respectively.

Week 2:

Clearview Regional High School, 2/28/21; Egg Harbor Township, 12/30/21

The game against the Clearview Pioneers could have been called “Swoosh City.” The Dawgs sent 14 treys into the basket, 10 in the first half alone. Junior Teddy Bond let the 3-point barrage, knocking down 6; in the 2nd quarter, Bond went back-to-back-to-back and finished with 20. Mooney and Leming each had a trio of treys and contributed 15 and 16 points, respectively to Haddonfield’s 73 points. Defensively, the Dawgs held the Pioneers to 39.

While Egg Harbor Eagles would give the Dawgs their first loss, 42–59, of the early season, the Dawgs did rattle off 10 straight unanswered points to close out the 2nd quarter.

Week 3:

Collingswood, 1/4/22; Sterling, 1/6/22; St. Joseph’s High School Hammonton, 1/9/22

In the away game versus Collingswood, Leming’s 18, 11 of which came in the 2nd half, helped the Dawgs get back on the winning side, 56–30.

The first matchup against Sterling was at home and it was a seesaw game. The Dawgs had a 3-point, 30–27, lead going into the 4th but could not maintain that edge and lost by 3, 40–43. Senior Carson Wolff helped keep the Dawgs in the game, scoring the last basket of the 3rd, the first basket in the 4th after Sterling had tied it at 30 to put the Dawgs back in front, and then scoring the Dawgs’ final basket of the game off a pickoff.

I wish I’d seen the St. Joe’s Hammonton game that went into OT before the Dawgs pulled it out 50–46, with Leming and Mooney hitting some big foul shots at the end to secure the W.

Week 4:

Haddon Heights, 1/10/22; Lindenwold, 1/12/22; Gloucester City, 1/14/22

The Dawgs did not have much trouble when the Garnets came to town. By the end of the 1st, Haddonfield was up by 14, 19–5, and won by 31, 66–35. Maybe it was because his little sister Sara was using a scorebook for the first time, but Matthew Guveiyian had his best game of the season to date, with 20 points and a lot of rebounds. He had a few really nice buckets under the basket, but one had my travel buddy talking about it on the way home: Guveiyian did a 360-degree reverse slam. His fellow Matt, Leming, had 16, and Mooney contributed 12.

At the end of the week, the Dawgs took on Gloucester City Lions, the new kids in the Colonial Conference, at their den. Although it was one of our lower-scoring contests, and the Dawgs started off the first a bit slow overall, Dante Del Duca kept the Dawgs in the game, scoring 7 of the Dawgs’ first quarter points, including a 3 that tied the game ahead of the buzzer. He finished with 10. Mooney picked up the offense in the 2nd, putting 9 points on the board. He would score 11 in the 2nd half and finish with 20 of the Dawgs’ 36 points.

Week 5:

Audubon, 1/20/22; Overbrook, 1/22/22

These two games were quite contrasting, to put it mildly. The Dawgs jumped on the host Wave for one long ride, and when it was done, had put 15 players on the court, 10 of whom scored. Leading the way was Leming, who hit 6 3’s; five were in the 2nd quarter, and three came back-to-back-to-back. He was high scorer with 24. Mooney added 20, and Bond, who had missed three straight games due to COVID protocol, put 15 on the board, 9 coming in the 4th on a trio of treys. Altogether, the Dawgs hit 14 from behind the arc, with 10 coming in the first half.

Overbrook at Haddonfield was close from end to end. The Dawgs trailed by 3 after 8 minutes, were up by 1 at the half, were down by 2 after the 3rd, and with 1.7 seconds to go, were down by 2, 38–40. Oh, yeah, and the Rams had possession. All they had to do was inbound the ball and hold onto it. The first attempt ended in a timeout, as Bond and Guveiyian were making it hard for the Ram player to get the ball in. In the second attempt, the ball was sent high to bypass the Dawgs’ big guys. The target was a Ram waiting a few feet on the other side of the midcourt line. No one expected 5-11 Roddy to leap up and intercept the pass, but he did. And then he dribbled the ball over the line, planted his feet, and sent the ball in the air just ahead of the buzzer. It hit, as the saying goes, nothing but net. The Dawgs pulled off an improbable win, 40–41, and Roddy’s heroics made the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays the next day. Leming’s 17 were a big part of that win as well.

Week 6:

Woodbury, 1/25/22; Paulsboro, 1/27/22; Jeff Cooney Classic vs Rancocas, 1/29/22, canceled

The Thundering Herd of Woodbury saw a lot of lightning when they came to town, including a torrent of 3’s. 13 were unleashed in the first half. Four players hit double digits: Guveiyian had 19, Leming, 13; and Mooney and Narducci had 11 each. Narducci’s points all came in the 4th, when he lit up the board with 3 3’s and a 2. The Dawgs ran the Herd out of the gym with an 83–55 thrashing.

Week 7:

Haddon Township, 2/1/22; West Deptford, 2/3/22; Cherokee, 2/5/22

In the rematches of these 2 games, the Dawgs won both. Versus the Hawks, the score was actually the same, 39–27, and Mooney accounted for 19 of those 39 Dawg points off 8 field goals and 3 foul shots.

In the game against the Eagles, the Dawgs’ defense held their opponents scoreless in the 2nd quarter. Leming, who finished with 19, knocked in 9 in the first quarter and 10 in the 3rd as the Dawgs won handily, 52–27.

Week 8:

Collingswood, 2/8/22; Sterling, 2/10/22; Camden Catholic, 2/12/22

In the first contest between the Panthers at Collingswood, the Dawgs won by 24 points. The second meeting between these two fierce opponents was a much tougher game. After being down by 5 after the first 8 minutes, the Dawgs powered back to be up by 10, 27–17, thanks in part to 10 2nd quarter points by Mooney. Collingswood turned the tables in the 3rd and were up by 5, 36–31, going into the 4th. 3’s by Mooney and Leming got the Dawgs back in the game, but Wolff, with his dogged D and drives in the lane for 3 buckets, really helped swing momentum back to the Dawgs. After a basket by Guveiyian put the Dawgs up by 3, 48–45, with 3.5 seconds left, the game looked like it was over, but Collingswood nailed a 3 ahead of the buzzer. The Dawgs were headed to OT again. In the 4-minute mini quarter, the Dawgs scored 10, holding the Panthers to a 3-pointer. Wolff, who had 8 in the 2nd half, finished with 12. Guveiyian, who also had 8 in the 2nd half, had 10. Mooney pumped in 21.

Week 9:

Haddon Heights, 2/15/22; Pemberton Township, 2/17/22; Lenape, 2/19/22

This was a rough week for the Dawgs. After a scrappy win against the Garnets at Haddon Heights, the Dawgs had two non-conference games at home. They took a pounding in both, but the Lenape defeat deserves mention here because of the very hot shooting of Leming. For the second time in the season, he was on fire from behind the arc, which is where he made all 6 of his baskets. Guveiyian had 18 in the losing effort, scoring 14 in the first half.

Week 10:

BCIT Westhampton, 2/22/22; Kingsway Regional, 2/24/22

The game against the (oh surprise, Panthers) of BCIT was senior night, and all nine seniors—Sean Bean, Jon Bucci, Dante Del Duca, Matthew Guveiyian, Matt Leming, Tom Mooney, Christian Raymond, Evan Rohlfing, and Carson Wolff—saw playing time. Importantly, the Dawgs got a much-needed win, beating the Panthers by 12, 57–45. As they have done for most of their careers, Leming and Mooney led the way, putting up 17 and 18 points, respectively.

The Dawgs have had their share of twins take to the court during varsity games. In the late 2000s, Chris and Kevin Davis, who were nearly identical, made it very hard for me to be sure I was giving the right brother the right points in my scorebook—especially since they each shared a number in common on their uniform. From the 2011–12 to the 2014-15 seasons, the DePersia brothers, Rob and Nick, patrolled the floors, but luckily one looked like mom Janet, the other like dad Robert, and they wore numbers 3 and 12, respectively, so I was more confident in the points I gave each. (Plus I always conferred with their grandmother, Mae Batchelor, after the games to make sure our points tallied.) During the next 4 years when Mike DePersia was at the point, the Dawgs had their first set of triplets, Ben, Mike, and Chris Schroeter, although their senior year, Chris chose not to play. However, when they were all on the floor during JV games their junior year, it could get a bit confusing. Fast-forward to the final regular game of this Dawgs season versus Kingsway Regional High School. Tom Mooney started the game sporting his usual uni with the number 11 on it. At some point in the 4th, he came off the court. A short time later, I glanced up from my notepad and saw someone who looked suspiciously like Tom but who was wearing 44 on his back. Was I seeing double? Did Tom have an identical twin that no one had known about? Nope. For some reason (maybe it got ripped or bloody), his 11 top became ineligible, so to speak, so Tom had to “don” (hahaha) another uni to finish out the game. For me, that was the best part of the 4th quarter, when the Dawgs were outscored 16–6 after being tied 34–34 with Kingsway after 3.

Week 11: The NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 Playoffs:

Lower Cape May, 2/28/22; Middle Township, 3/2/22; Sterling, 3/4/22

The Dawgs’ first-round opponents, the Caper Tigers, were seeded 14th out of 16 teams, and fairly early on it was apparent why. The Dawgs were up by 19 after 2 quarters and won by 18, 54–26. Mooney had 22, scoring 13 points in the first half. Leming had 17, with 11 of his coming in the first half as well.

In the game against the, yes, Panthers, of Middle Township, the two teams were keeping the competition fairly close. With 5.8 seconds left in the half, the Dawgs were up by 4, 15–11 and had to inbound. They had a bit of trouble getting it in and then moving the ball up the court. It appeared the Dawgs weren’t going to get a shot off, but Guveiyian had other ideas. Somewhere in between the Middle Township foul line and midcourt, he let loose with a shot—that swooshed in ever so cleanly, putting another 3 on the board to make it 18–11, Haddonfield. The Dawgs went on to win 44–25. Guveiyian finished with 16 points, Mooney with 11.

I spent quite a bit of time providing the semifinal play-by-play in my Week 11 write-up, so if you missed the game, or want to relive it in your mind, feel free to go back and read my article. Here, I just want to replay the final seconds of what had literally been a neck-and-neck 31 minutes. I am picking the action up in the 4th quarter at the 47.1 mark. Sterling has just secured the rebound off a missed Haddonfield shot and is up by 1, 25–24. As Sterling begins to move the ball up court to its basket, Leming, who has already crossed midcourt, doubles back to help with the pressure defense, which pays off, as he is able to tip the ball for a steal. After a Haddonfield timeout with 36.9 on the clock, the Dawgs begin to work the floor to set up a scoring opportunity. With 22.4 on the clock, Mooney drives into the lane but is denied. Guveiyian grabs the ball and goes up hard for the basket. The ball does not go in but he is fouled. At the line with 18.5 seconds on the clock, Guveiyian’s first shot ties the game. After a timeout by Sterling, he makes his second shot, putting the Dawgs up by 1, 26–25. The Dawgs have 2 fouls to give. Del Duca is called for the first foul, and Leming gets called for the second foul with 7.1 seconds left in the game. Sterling is circling the outer edges of the lane, looking for an opening. With the clock running down, Sterling attempts to drive the ball up and in, but Mooney blocks the shot. Guveiyian closes in on the ball and clutches it to his chest. The buzzer sounds. The Dawgs have gotten redemption over the Silver Knights, who beat them twice to claim the Colonial crown. All four starting seniors made the difference in the 4th. Del Duca hit a huge 3 to tie the game at 21 early in the quarter. A Leming trey would temporarily put the Dawgs up 24–21. Leming’s steal gave the Dawgs back the ball; Guveiyian’s two foul shots gave the Dawgs the lead for the last time; Mooney’s blocked shot kept the Silver Knights from a trifecta beating of the Dawgs in one season, and Guveiyian’s rebound made sure there was no second shot.

A Few More Notes

• The Dawgs scored 80 points or more three times: 12/21 when they whipped West Deptford 82–24; 1/12, when they clobbered Collingswood 87–30; and 1/25, when they wrung out Woodbury 83–55.

• The Dawgs’ longest winning streak was eight games and went from 1/14 through 1/25.

• The Dawgs were 2–1 in OT games, coming out on top, 50–46 in the 1/9 game against St. Joe’s of Hammonton and clipping Collingswood 58–51 on 2/8. They lost to Camden Catholic by 2, 53–55, on 2/12.

• I was going to do a Top 5 Plays of the season but decided to let you readers pick your own favorites.

See everybody at the first game in December!

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs dig in for playoff time

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

The last day of February, 2/28, began that time of year for New Jersey high school hoops when every game can be the last one of the season. You win, you advance; you lose, you’re done. So, for teams and fans alike, it’s an adrenalin-filled few weeks when you can’t wait for game time and yet you have a knot in your stomach.

As the #3 seed in South Jersey Group 2, the Dawgs would be playing host to their opponents for at least the first and second rounds, as the way the brackets work, they would be going up against lower-seeded teams. On 2/28, the Lower Cape May squad, aka the Caper Tigers (which makes a lot more sense than what I thought I was hearing our play-by-play announcer Mark Hershberger saying: the Paper Tigers), seeded 14 (out of 16) came to play against the Dawgs. And let’s just say it wasn’t a caper for Lower Cape May.

Senior Matt Leming got the offense “swooshing” with a 3 with just less than a minute gone in the first quarter. A steal by senior Tom Mooney that turned into a basket made it 5–0. Lower Cape May got on the board with 2 at the 5:18 mark, but then the Dawgs went on a 7–0 run, with Leming and Mooney hitting 2’s and then Leming nailing another 3. With 2 minutes and change left in the quarter, the Dawgs were up by 10, 12–2. After the Capers got another bucket, Mooney drove up and in again and got fouled. His foul shot made it 15–4 with 1.15 on the clock.

After both teams turned the ball over, Lower Cape May got their third basket of the night, and so did Mooney, just ahead of the buzzer. Going into the second quarter, the Dawgs were sporting a 11-point, 17–6, lead.

Quarter 2 was more of the same. Mooney got another pair of 2’s; Leming knocked down another 3. Senior Carson Wolff and junior Teddy Bond got into the game and contributed to the scoring, with Wolff driving in for a basket and Bond getting 2 from the foul line and one from behind the arc. While adding 14 to their tally, the Dawgs held the Caper Tigers to 6 again, so at the half, the Dawgs were now cruising along, up by 19, 31–12.

In the second half, the Dawgs offense slowed a bit, but defensively, they continued to keep the Caper Tigers from doing much damage. When the final buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had sent Lower Cape May back to the shore for the winter, winning by 18, 54–26. Mooney and Leming combined for 22 and 17, respectively, meaning they outscored the Caper Tigers on their own by 13 points.

Next up were the Panthers (and why are there so many teams with “panthers” as their nicknames?) of Middle Township. Over the decades I have been going to Haddonfield games (back when the team’s uni bottoms were short and they were the Haddons, then the Dogs), Middle Township has ended more than one playoff run for the Red and Black, so I always have a bit of trepidation when the two teams have to face each other. The Panthers play in the Cape-Atlantic League, and when I checked their schedule, I saw that they had a similar record in and out of their division; 17–7 overall to Haddonfield’s 18–9 record and 14–3 in the league, compared to Haddonfield’s 12–3 Colonial Conference record. Both teams had also experienced a so-so last few weeks. I therefore concluded that this might be another down-to-the-wire Haddonfield–Middle Township matchup.

In this contest, the Panthers got off to a 3–0 start after the Dawgs failed to score on two chances during their first possession. However, after neither team scored in their next trips up and down the court, with Leming getting the defensive board for Haddonfield, Mooney went up and in for 2 and got fouled. His foul shot tied the game at 3 with 5:27 on the clock. Senior Dante Del Duca’s pickoff lead to another Mooney basket on a hard drive in the paint, putting the Dawgs ahead by 2, 5–3 with just under 5 minutes to go in the first quarter.

A few plays later at the 3:54 mark, Middle Township retook the lead with another 3. The lead flipped back to Haddonfield about 70 seconds later on a feed from Leming to senior Matthew Guveiyian, who also drove hard to the basket. At the other end, Guveiyian got knocked down while guarding the net, but was rewarded for his efforts by causing a Middle Township turnover. After sophomore Daire Roddy pulled down an offensive board, Mooney got his third field goal of the quarter, putting the Dawgs up by 3, 9–6, with 1:44 to go. As often happens when a team tries to hold onto the ball to get off a quarter-ending shot, the Panthers lost the ball, leaving Leming, who retrieved it, with no other choice but to make a half-court lunge ahead of the buzzer.

Guveiyian picked up where Mooney, who put 7 on the board in the first quarter, left off. He accounted for 7 of the 9 points the Dawgs put up on the board, with Leming adding 2 from the foul line. Those shots came about after a Middle Township player was assessed a technical foul after scoring a basket and taunting the Dawgs about the fete. Naturally, having the choice of who to put on the line, Dawg coach Paul Wiedeman gave the job to Leming, as he is a very reliable foul shooter. Leming completed his assignment with flying colors, or at least, sinking baskets. At that point, the Dawgs were up 15–1 with 1:41 until the half.

After a ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield, Middle Township took a timeout. Play resumed with 1:16 on the clock. While running the clock down yet again to try for another last-second shot, the Panthers nearly turned the ball over. After a missed shot, the Panthers picked up a foul with 5.8 seconds left. The Dawgs inbounded under the Panther basket and were having a bit of trouble getting the ball over the midcourt line. With about a second on the clock, Guveiyian, with his feet planted somewhere between the Panther foul line and the midcourt line, let the ball fly. It dropped in, nothing but net, to give the Dawgs an 18–11 edge as the half ended. Needless to say, Dawg fans, after they collectively picked their jaws up off the bottom of the bleachers, started screaming their heads off.

In the 2nd half, the Dawgs really began to stymie the Panthers, who just kept passing and passing the ball on the perimeter practically every possession, as they often could not find a path into the paint and were forced to take outside shots. Haddonfield’s 1973 state championship MVP and courtside analyst Tom Betley commented after the game that the experience of Haddonfield, which can put five seniors on the floor at one time, was too much for a Panthers’ team largely made up of underclassmen.

Along with the stifling defense, the Dawgs also started to heat up offensively. Roddy made it 20–11 at the 7:10 mark. The Panthers answered with a 3,which would be their only basket of the quarter, to get to within 6, 20–14, about 20 seconds later. Back-to-back 3’s by the Matts, first by Guveiyian (he was a little closer to the basket this time), then Leming, gave the Dawgs their biggest lead, 26–14, with 3:44 on the clock, causing Middle Township to call a timeout. That did not help much. Mooney got his 4th bucket of the game, and in the Dawgs’ next possession, he was fouled in the act of shooting and sent both shots into the net to make it 30–14 with 2:09 left in the quarter. The quarter ended with Del Duca launching back-to-back 3’s, giving the Dawgs a 24-point, 36–14, advantage going into the last quarter.

In the 4th, the Dawgs’ offense slowed to more of a trot than a race. Four seniors, Sean Beane, Christian Raymond, Evan Rohlfing, and Jon Bucci, got some action. The Panthers also started getting some more shots into the basket, but it was all for naught. When the buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had won by 19 points, 44–25. Guveiyian finished with 16, and Mooney added 11.

This got the Dawgs to 19–9 overall and to the Group 2 semi-finals. The question was, who would they be going up against? As it turned out, their Colonial rival Sterling eked out a 1-point, 54–53, victory over Cinnaminson. That meant the Dawgs would be taking on the Silver Knights for the third time this season, and, since the Silver Knights had been seeded #2, the Dawgs would have to face Sterling on their home court. In chatting with assistant and JV coach Anthony Parenti after the Panthers game, we both were of the mind that beating a team three straight times is never easy. Plus, we both agreed that in their first two meetings, the Dawgs could have won both games. Parenti told me, “If we play this kind of defense, I like our chances.”

Friday’s game was scheduled for 5:30. My travel buddy and I decided we should leave by 4:15, not just to give us extra time due to rush hour traffic, but because a large crowd was expected at the Sterling gymnasium. A basketball mom actually checked in with me Friday afternoon to make sure I had a ticket, as she had gotten word the game was sold out. Luckily for me, my travel buddy had secured a ticket for me when securing his own. When we arrived at Sterling, the parking area along the walkway to the gym entrance barely had any cars in it. When we got inside, the gym seemed closer to empty than full. Where was everybody? Nick DePersia (2015), now an assistant boys basketball coach at Triton (twin bro Rob is now an assistant for the Div. 1 Fordham Rams men’s team), had been at the Middle Township game. After he arrived at Sterling, Nick was wondering the same thing, as he hadn’t expected to walk right in and get a ticket. “Remember the lines at Camden games?”  he asked. We figured it was just that we had gotten to the high school extra early, but in actuality, even by 5:30, it would be pressing it to say the gym was crowded.

Speaking of former Dawgs, Andrew Gostovich, a crucial component of the Dawgs’ 2020 Colonial Conference championship team, is now playing for the Red Devils of Dickinson. Given an unexpected 3 days of remote learning last week, he got the OK from parents Theresa and Steve to come home so he could go cheer on the Dawgs Wednesday and Friday. It was nice to see the three Gostoviches both nights as well. A bit into the game, Matt Smart (2016) said hello to me as he made his way into the bleachers. It’s always great to see Dawg alums coming out to games, especially during the playoffs.

Those in attendance and those who watched on Sterling’s live stream saw a game that was close and tense for 4 quarters. (One of the announcers on the live stream said, “This has basically been a tie game for 4 quarters.” I confess to knowing this because I wanted to watch the game again and did so on Saturday night. If you missed it or also want a replay, go to Sterling’s YouTube channel, or click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNUHv5DkTTs. Just note that the stream starts with the warmups, so you have to fast-forward about 20 minutes for the game to begin.) Another confession: As I was getting my stat- and game-keeping paraphernalia out of my red-and-black backpack, I realized that instead of being a brand-new one, the steno pad on which I scribble the game play-by-play was one from a few years back and only had one blank side. The day before when I had gone into the bag where I keep extra pens, scorebooks, and pads, I hadn’t noticed that of the two steno pads inside, one was blank and one wasn’t. As I was contemplating what to do and eyeing the signs taped to the bleachers a few rows below me reserving them for the Haddonfield team, I did a quick inventory. I had the team roster taped to the inside back of my scorebook, and over it, taped only at two corners, I had the schedule, which was about a page and a half long. I decided those blank sides would get me through the game without me needing to “borrow” the signs. And they did, with about an inch to spare.

In Haddonfield’s first two games versus Sterling, the team had been in a position to win. In the home game on January 6, the Dawgs went into the 4th up by 3, 30–27, and ended up losing by the same amount, 40–43. In the more recent game at Sterling on February 10, the Dawgs had been up 15–2 after 8 minutes and were ahead by 8, 18–10, at the half. That game, the team just shut down offensively and only scored 7 second-half points, losing by 18, 25–43. The Dawgs, their coaches, and their fans were looking for a different outcome. Would the third time be the charm? It would take all 32 minutes of the game to find out.

The tipoff went to Sterling. Thirteen seconds later, Guveiyian stole the ball but Sterling returned the favor about 13 seconds later. Guveiyian created another steal at the 6:53 mark. Mooney got fouled trying to score and made 1–2 from the line to put the first point of the game on the board. Sterling answered with a 3 to go up by 2, 3–1, with 6:24 on the clock.

After the ball went out of bounds off the Silver Knights, the Dawgs failed to score and then had the ball go out of bounds off them. Both teams, who were looking a bit tight, turned the ball over again on their next possessions. Another Haddonfield steal came at the 4:22 mark but the Dawgs could not take advantage of it. After the Dawgs got called for their first (non-shooting) foul, Sterling was again kept from getting the ball into the basket. Del Duca got the defensive board and a 3 attempt from Guveiyian, which looked good, went halfway down and came back out.

Sterling still couldn’t get a basket, and after pulling down the defensive rebound, Mooney did his trademark drive down the court and went up and in for 2. His foul shot put the Dawgs back out in front 4–3 with 2:09 left in the first. A combination of good defense by Haddonfield and unsuccessful shooting by Sterling kept the Dawgs out in front. Del Duca grabbed the rebound and his shot also then went in and out. Guveiyian’s hustle for the ball caused a jump ball and gave possession back to the Dawgs with 1:23 on the clock. The Dawgs’ second shot of that possession did not drop.

At the Sterling basket, one of their shooters was left wide open and hit a 3, giving Sterling back the lead, 6–4, with 1:02 remaining. The Dawgs were running down the clock, looking for a good scoring op. The shot made with 38.3 seconds left did not go in, but Del Duca stole it back, passing it to Mooney. He was fouled again while shooting. He made both foul shots to tie the game at 6, which is how the first quarter ended.

It was hard to believe, but there was less scoring in the second 8 minutes than in the first 8. Neither team scored for more than 4 minutes. That doesn’t mean the Knights and the Dawgs weren’t going after rebounds, diving for loose balls or stealing them, and trying to open up scoring lanes in the paint or taking shots from further back. The balls weren’t dropping, and that was in part due to how well both were guarding their opponent’s ball movements.

With 3:36 to go until the half, Sterling found a way up and in to take a 2-point, 8–6, lead. At the Dawgs’ end, Sterling stole the ball and was fouled, but neither shot went in from the line. Then came more rebounds, more missed shots, more balls going out of bounds, and more travel calls. (There were more moving violations assessed in this game than I can remember in a while, but I think that’s because both teams were often playing stall ball while trying to break the other’s press.)

Another shooting foul was called against Haddonfield with 1:11 left in the half. This time, Sterling made 1–2 to push the lead to 3, 9–6. The second shot missed, and Guveiyian got the rebound. At the other end, Mooney, finding no opening, passed the ball back out to Del Duca, who was behind the arc. His shot found the net, and with 53 seconds to go, Haddonfield’s first basket of the 2nd brought the game even at 9. As long as it had taken between baskets for most of the quarter, Sterling almost immediately answered with a 3 with 21.3 seconds on the clock. Haddonfield’s last shot ahead of the buzzer did not go it the net. As the teams headed for their locker rooms, it was a one-possession game with Sterling on top 12–9.

Haddonfield inbounded the ball to start the third quarter. Leming did not score, perhaps because he was knocked to the ground. However, no foul was called. After good “D” by Guveiyian and a blocked shot by Del Duca, Leming got the rebound. A pickoff by Sterling was followed by a pickoff by Mooney.

Then with 6:57, an interesting skirmish occurred on the court at the Dawgs’ end. Even after rewatching this a few times on the Sterling feed, I’m not sure exactly what transpired, but it revolved around Del Duca and a Silver Knight both going after a rebound. Maybe some words were exchanged, but another Sterling player then stepped into the mix and pushed Del Duca. At first, it looked as if that Sterling player was being assessed a technical foul. But then Del Duca, for reasons unknown to me, also got a technical foul, which made the whole ado a wash. That resulted in a chorus of boos going up from the Dawg fans.

In a bit of irony, Sterling lost the ball off a steal by, yes, Del Duca, who my travel buddy labeled a “ball magnet,” as the whole game, he always seemed to be where the ball was on the court. Sterling was called for a foul and the Dawgs remained scoreless. A second-chance shot off an offensive board gave the Silver Knights a 5-point, 14–9, lead with 5:53 on the clock. The Dawgs really needed a score. After Leming got an offensive board and Sterling got its 4th foul of the half, Leming got that much needed basket off a feed from Guveiyian to make it 14–11, Sterling, with 5:13 on the clock.

The Silver Knights did not score, but the Dawgs lost the ball on an errant pass. Second verse, same as the first: Sterling did not score, and neither did Haddonfield. With 3:45 on the clock, Guveiyian grabbed hold of a loose ball. After a missed shot, Roddy got a big offensive board because it resulted in a 3 from Guveiyian to tie the game at 14 with 3:01 left in the quarter. A timeout from the Sterling coach earned a “Talk it over” from the Haddonfield student section, who had been going head-to-head all night with the Sterling student section. That matchup was pretty much a dead heat as well. Sterling had two chances to score after inbounding the ball, but neither shot went in the net. Del Duca got the board off the second missed shot and passed it to Mooney, who drove into the paint and scored, putting the Dawgs in front for the first time since the first quarter, 16–14, with 2 minutes and change left.

Good D, including a combo blocked shot by the Matts, kept Sterling from scoring. Under the Dawg basket, Guveiyian pulled down an offensive board and fought hard to go up and in. His basket made it 18–14, Dawgs, with 1:17 to go. Sterling shushed the Haddonfield fans in short order, however, by driving in for 2, then stealing the ball and scoring again, all within 10 seconds. On the second basket, Sterling was fouled. The foul shot put the Silver Knights back on top by 1, 19–18. It looked as if Mooney was going to get a chance on the foul line with 15.4 to go, but the refs called the foul non-shooting, which earned another round of hearty boos from the Dawg contingent. The quarter ended with the score still 19–18 in favor of the Silver Knights.

When the 4th quarter started, everyone in the gym knew in 8 minutes, one team’s season would be over. Haddonfield inbounded, with Roddy passing it into Mooney. A missed shot gave the ball back to Sterling, who scored to go up by 3, 21–18, with 6:44 remaining in the game. That is, until Del Duca launched a 3 that found the net to tie it at 21 at the 6:27 mark. That gave the team a boost as well as the fans, who had been getting a bit antsy in the stands, since Sterling had scored the last three baskets before the Del Duca trey.

The Dawgs held the Knights scoreless their next possession. After the Dawgs missed a shot and Del Duca got the offensive rebound, Sterling called a 30-second timeout with 5:45 to go. Wolff inbounded the ball, Del Duca got another board, and Leming hit a 3 as Haddonfield regained the lead, 24–21, with 5:24 showing on the board. Dawg fans were ecstatic, not knowing his 3 would be the last points the Dawgs scored for more than 4 minutes …

At the other end, what clearly did not look like a foul in the act of shooting was deemed one by the refs, putting Sterling on the line. Both shots were good, making it a 1-point game again, with the Dawgs still on top, 24–23, with 4:52 to go. A traveling call went against Guveiyian, even though it looked like he was tripped. A ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield at the 4:01 mark, and 30 seconds later, Sterling retook the lead, scoring a 2 off an offensive rebound.

The Dawgs’ shot did not go in. At the other end, two Sterling attempts failed. Leming got the board and a shot by Mooney rolled out instead of in. It was still 25–24, Sterling, and now the clock had ticked down to 2:11. Sterling kept passing the ball, looking for an opening that the Dawgs would not give them. That defense forced a loose ball, and I think four out of the five Dawgs on the court dove for the ball. Wolff came up with it. The clock was now down to 1:33.

Haddonfield was charged with an offensive foul with 1:24 left in the game. Sterling called a timeout. Off the inbounds, the ball magnet, aka Del Duca, deflected the ball and passed it to Mooney. The Dawgs whittled seconds off the clock. At the 47.1 mark, a shot went up and did not drop. The Silver Knights got the rebound. As they began to move the ball up the court, Leming, who had already passed the midcourt line, doubled back to help with the press. Leaping up, he was able to tip and then snatch the ball with 40.4 seconds left in the game. A few seconds later, with 36.9 on the clock, a timeout was called by Haddonfield.

After the inbounds, the Dawgs worked the ball to set up a play. With 22.4 on the clock, Mooney drove in the lane but was unable to get the ball to drop. Guveiyian immediately grabbed the rebound and fought to go back up and in. His shot did not drop, but he was fouled. With 18.5 seconds left in the game, Guveiyian stepped to the line. He took a deep breath and released the ball. It dropped in. The game was tied at 25. Sterling, hoping to rattle Guveiyian and to set a play up off either the rebound or the inbound, called a timeout. Guveiyian took the ball again, with his four teammates behind, rather than alongside him, and made his second shot. It went in. The Dawgs were now up by 1, 26–25.

At half-court with 14.4 seconds left in the game, Sterling called another timeout. The scoreboard showed that Haddonfield had two fouls to give before it would be a 1+1 opportunity from the foul line. Del Duca made that first foul with 10.2 seconds remaining. Leming was charged with the second with the clock down to 7.1 seconds. (I will interject here that in watching the stream last night, I wasn’t totally sure if Leming committed a foul or if Sterling used its last timeout.) Sterling maneuvered for the final shot. It was a drive to the basket. Mooney used his whole body to block it. In the dive for the ball, Guveiyian got to it first, got it in both hands, and hugged it to him. The buzzer sounded. Unlike their first two matchups, the Dawgs had stayed in the game for 4 quarters and had prevailed. They would advance to the South Jersey Group 2 championship game on Monday and prove that it really is hard to beat a team three times in one season.

In this extremely low-scoring game, no one on the Dawgs hit double digits. But every point mattered. Mooney, who accounted for all 6 of the Dawgs’ first quarter points, finished with 8 and added four steals. Guveiyian wound up with 7 points and 9 rebounds. Del Duca had 6 points off 2 3’s to go with 6 rebounds. Leming had 5 points and started what was the most crucial juncture of the game, as he took Sterling by surprise, re-crossing midcourt to help his teammates apply pressure, and causing the turnover on the steal, the shot attempt by Mooney, the rebound by Guveiyian, and the foul by Sterling the put Guveiyian on the line.

As devastating as the final seconds were for the Sterling players and their fans, the staff showed great sportsmanship, allowing the Dawgs to pose for a group shot under the scoreboard that was still on and reflecting the game’s outcome. One staff member even went over to the reporter who was still asking Guveiyian questions after the one interviewing Mooney had finished so Matthew could join his mates in the group photo.

I reached out to Guveiyian today to ask him about those final few minutes and his foul shots. He said the players were calm and knew they could work it to secure the win, noting, ‘We gave it our all.” As for the foul shots, he told me, “Oh my God. I knew these were the two biggest shots of my career.” But he forced himself to calm down and relax to get in the right mindset. Once the first shot went in, he had a sigh of relief. The timeout by Sterling was helpful rather than adding to the pressure. “I was able to collect myself” before the second shot attempt. He called Mooney’s block “huge,” as it allowed him to grab the ball and hold onto it.

The win against Sterling accomplished two things. It gave the Dawgs 20 wins for the season, something that looked inevitable midway through February and then began looking doubtful by the end of February. It also provided them with some redemption over their Colonial rival who had gotten the best of them in two games that Haddonfield had the chance to win. Well done, Dawgs!!

Tonight, the Dawgs will play yet another set of Panthers, those representing Camden High School. Ranked number 1 in the state, Camden has only lost twice all year—to out-of-state schools. In the playoffs, the team has won its three games by 54, 34, and 40 points, respectively. Game time is 7 p.m., but tickets must be procured in advance online. I am not sure if any remain, but you can check in with the Haddonfield athletic department to find out.  No matter what the odds, you can bet the Dawgs will not go down without a fight. And with a team that doesn’t give up, you just never know what can happen.