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Author: haddonfieldtoday

We changed this school

Rex Cottone, President, HMHS Class of 2023

Just over a year ago, I stepped into Mrs. McHale’s office on a Friday afternoon, and Mr Romea shook my hand and said “Congratulations on your election, Mr. President.” I turned to Mrs. McHale, and her first words were, “Better start planning your graduation speech!” So, I have spent the last 11 months and three weeks doing exactly that.

I was so overwhelmed – there have been so many great graduation speeches in the history of Haddonfield to draw inspiration from, yet I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how I could show the world how outstanding my classmates have been. After hours and hours of researching and working, I realized that nobody should ever again have to go through the stress of what to include in their graduation speech. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Rex Cottone’s Semi-Official Guide to the Graduation Speech.

Step 1: The introduction. Often done by way of expressing thanks, the introduction is meant to acknowledge everything and everyone that made this happen, that got us here. For example: thank you to all the staff and custodians who helped set up this event and are taking care of the 50,000 people here tonight. Your great work never goes unnoticed, and we are all incredibly grateful for you keeping our home looking flawless for the last four years. Next, to the parents, guardians, family members, and friends, thank you very much for coming and supporting not just your child but all of us. I know you’re excited about the pictures later, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Last, thank you to all the teachers and administrators who organized this and did everything they could to get us walking across this stage tonight. Thank you to Mrs. McHale for showing me how to navigate being a leader. Thank you to Coach Q and Mr. Dortone for being my mentors in my one and only year of student council this year. And of course, on the topic of mentors, thank you to the teachers who taught me just as much about becoming an adult as they did about the curriculum. I wouldn’t be here without the ones who taught me not just the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus but also how to live a life that truly is beautiful.

Step 2: Accomplishments. Sometimes read as a list, the accomplishments are meant to highlight how our class has contributed to the history of our high school. But what is history? According to Ryan Gosling’s character in the movie Half Nelson, history is change. It is two opposing forces struggling back and forth until one comes out on top, thereby causing a turning point. Somebody better check on Mr. Scors and make sure his socks are still on. In the last four years, the class of 2023 has faced many opposing forces, but we have continued to be resilient. We never run from the grind – when we want something, we take a good look around the room and say “Let’s ride.” And we get it done. We wanted to win spirit week. We came closer to sweeping the entire week than any class in history. We wanted sectional championships.  We got 10 of them. We wanted to be on this stage. (dramatic pause). Here we are. We face opponents, we come out on top, and we cause turning points. Turning points in our lives. Turning points in the lives of our peers. Turning points in the history of our school. This school did not just change us, we changed this school. That’s the only accomplishment I need to list.

Step 3: The future. Used to conclude the speech, often with some sort of quote or popular media reference, the future section is meant to bring forth confidence in all of the graduates and show them that they are ready for whatever they may face. Since Jack O’Donnell used Baby Keem lyrics in his speech last year, I had to find a new artist and a new quote. After weeks of searching, I landed on Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, Founder of Young Money Entertainment, who once said, and I quote, “Real G’s move in silence, like lasagna.” Most of you probably know him as Lil Wayne, but Dwayne Michael Carter Jr sounded way cooler. What does it mean to move in silence? Some may think that to move in silence is to avoid all attention, to live a life of stealth, and eventually to be forgotten. However, moving in silence is more about why you move than how you move. Real G’s like ourselves do what we do not for the approval or satisfaction of others. We do not move to change the world in return for attention or praise or money. We move because we love it, and because we want it. The class of 2023 is proud to have over 200 students going to the colleges that we want to attend, not the ones others think we should. We’ll study what we want to study, not what others think we should. We do what we do because we love it. We have a passion for changing the world like no one else you’ll ever meet, and we are proud of it. We are the realest G’s, and among all the noise we have faced and will face, we move in silence. Like lasagna.

Over the last four years, the class of 2023 has had every reason to give up. We faced great stress, great loss, and great change. Our school culture lost so much heart and spirit. Our teachers and administrators told me in September that they were looking to our senior class to return the soul of Haddonfield Memorial High School that they felt was missing. They said the school might never be the same if we couldn’t bring back its vibrancy and spirit. Everyone wondered what would happen if we couldn’t live up to these standards. Everybody wanted to know what would happen if the class of 2023 couldn’t be one of the most outstanding classes in the history of Haddonfield.

I guess we’ll never know.

Life is like a parking lot

Charlie Webb, HMHS Class of 2023

Welcome to the graduation of the class of 2023. On behalf of the class, I would like to thank all the people who have made today possible.

Thank you to all the incredible teachers who have done an amazing job guiding and educating the class of 2023.

Thank you to the administrators who have allowed every student to thrive – even during the pandemic that shall not be named. Especially Mrs. McHale; I’m sure our parents would agree how difficult it is to deal with 219 seniors every day, and you do an excellent job. Thank you to my friends who always keep things interesting.

Thank you to all parents and guardians for your unwavering support from day one, we wouldn’t be here without you.

And finally, I personally want to thank my constant companion in the Haddonfield school system, number 2300239. Since elementary school, my student ID has logged me into my email, the lunch line, the library, the big dusty computers in the Tatem computer lab, and many other places in the district. Now here at graduation I will depart from it. It’s also my lifelong social media password, so I should probably change some of those passwords too. I remember the first time I learned that the 23 at the start of that code represented my graduation year. At the time, I couldn’t even count that many years away on my fingers, and now, today, along with all my other fellow 23-ID-number friends we will graduate.

Thank you to the class of twenty twenty three for the most memorable four years of high school. These are years that I will never forget for, well, mostly good reasons.

Now, as I reflect on our high school experience, I immediately think of the Bancroft parking lot, the big gravel lot, which has recently been infested by a dangerous species, high school drivers. One of the most prominent features of the Bancroft lot is the iconic gravel, which you might not know is more than a little bumpy. Well, the class of 2023 has also had to get over its fair share of humps. But throughout all the bumps, this class has proved that we are able to battle adversity and support one another to make every situation a positive one. Just like when you’re on a delayed JetBlue flight to Disney and your friends encourage you to use the bathroom when the flight attendants told you not to. Sometimes we hit bumps at 7:55 on those crazy mornings where the spots in the Bancroft lot are highly contested, but every morning we make room for one another to create ridiculous parking spots. Our class is always willing to make adjustments to help each other out, and we also owe Mrs. Abbate, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Murphy, and Mrs. Russell, for always having our backs by buzzing us into school and giving us late passes.

Sometimes, whether you’re in a ridiculous parking spot or not, accidents happen in the Bancroft lot. Accidents as we know, come in all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes all it takes is a piece of band chocolate from a friend or a pretzel on pretzel Thursday to cheer you up, and other times, accidents are a little bigger, like passing out at the blood drive or hitting multiple cars in the parking lot at once. Despite having had a few accidents throughout these four years, we have been able to learn and grow from them to accomplish incredible things. Like, the wrestling team and the boy’s lacrosse team winning their first sectional championship in both their programs histories, both boys and girls swimming who earned the state title every year, the very talented girls lacrosse team who also brought home multiple state championships, and the list goes on for this very athletic group. This grade has also thrived on stage with, drama awards for Cinderella and Head Over Heels, vocal performance awards for Madrigal singers, and instrumental awards for talented musicians. Maybe in the future we’ll learn to watch out for each other’s cars a little bit better, but hey, they’re called accidents for a reason.

The Bancroft parking lot is filled with many different cars, each unique in their own way. As I look around at all my classmates tonight, it is clear that we are a collection of unique individuals. Some cars like to rev their engines a lot, others like to stay a little quieter, some cars are decked out in bumper stickers proudly representing their beliefs, others prefer to keep their beliefs to themselves, some cars are a bright color that stand out in a crowd, others like to blend in; however, the beauty of the lot is that throughout the past year and a half a community has been built in that beautiful, dusty location.

And that’s the best part of our grade, no matter where we are; in every class, during sports, on the stage, or anywhere outside of school, the sense of community built by this class can be seen. This class has not defined itself by their plans for after graduation, but by our character and bonds created throughout our four years at HMHS. And also of course our ability to make a great parking lot. This grade has become a family that is able to support one another to prosper in all areas, while also having fun. And yes, we can have fun without breaking any bathrooms. Like Mr. Tarrant once said, “once a dawg, always a dawg,” and I couldn’t be prouder to call myself a part of the HMHS class of 2023 for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to see the incredible things you all accomplish. It has been a pleasure spending these past years with all of you, there aren’t many other grades I would be willing to run for class president four times and lose Every. Single. Time. I can’t express how much I’ll miss saying hello to all of you in the halls or honking my horn in the parking lot.

So for now, 2300239 out.

Intangibles also define us

Ian Talty, HMHS Class of 2023

I would like to start off by thanking our previous speakers: Charlie and Rex, and echoing their sentiments in thanking all of you for being here to honor the class of 2023, along with thanking the people that made this ceremony possible: the administration, the teachers, the janitorial staff, the families, and of course, the students themselves. 

That being said, I would like to pose a question to all of you: What is the greatest movie of all time? How do we decide what makes one movie greater than another? Well we can go by what the “experts” say. According to IMDb it’s The Shawshank Redemption. According to Variety it’s Psycho. According to Business Insider it’s The Godfather. And if you would have asked my grandfather he might have said it was Animal House. Likely, everybody here would choose a different film for a different reason. Me, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’m certainly no cinephile, so I guess I might start by asking myself what makes a great movie? There’s the plot, the music, the cast, the cinematography, all of the tangible things that go into the creation of a movie. All of the things that result in awards and critical acclaim. But when asked to come up with the greatest movie of all time, we think of more than the tangible elements. We judge a film by how it makes us feel. By the thousands of little moments that occur off camera and create an experience that resonates. And so in this way, while judging a movie may involve judging its tangible quality, it also inherently involves evaluating the intangibles as well.

When I started writing this speech, I was confronted by the question of what to talk about. After all, as you heard from Rex, this class has accomplished so much in the last four years. But that’s when I realized that maybe I shouldn’t be focusing on the last four years. Instead, maybe I should focus on the next four and beyond. The future can be a scary thing, and rightfully so. I want to evaluate our time in high school like the great movie that it was and highlight the intangibles that will guide us and just might make the future a little less scary. 

The intangibles of our class are everything that happens behind the scenes, unnoticed by comparison to our tangible accomplishments. Just like the numerous, almost unnoticeable things that connect a movie with its audience, the small, intangible details about our class, unknown to anybody not sitting in these seats with me, are what really makes this class so special. 

It’s all the hard work that goes into making every accomplishment possible. While that work ethic and perseverance may not necessarily be tangible and observable, it is an invaluable part of our class’s character. The countless practices, sometimes battling the elements of weather and physical fatigue. The hours spent in the band room or the theater preparing for a performance. The time dedicated to completing a work of art or to planning a school event. The accomplishments of our class will not be carried into the future with us, but the work ethic and perseverance responsible for these accomplishments will. 

What also goes unseen is the support we give to each other. Whether it’s helping a classmate with homework or giving someone a ride to school. The constant support from those around us, those dealing with the same issues and the same stress as us is of the utmost importance. Being able to communicate with your peers and form a strong support system is a vital skill, and while the support system that we, the class of 2023, formed together may not always literally be with us in the future, we all have gained the ability to support those around us and find people to support us wherever we go. 

Failure and mistakes also often go without notice. When we look at our tangible accomplishments as a class, the casual observer will not see the failures and missteps that served as the building blocks to our success. Every member of the class of 2023 has failed at some point during their high school career. But while failure may be inevitable, in a class like this one, so is bouncing back. As we move into the future, we will all continue to fail and to make mistakes along the way. But dealing with failure and pushing forward, not in spite of our mistakes but because of them, is something we all have learned how to do together as a class. 

Failure may be one of those intangible things that goes without notice, but so is celebration. Whether we’re celebrating each other, or the teachers who give so much time and effort to helping us grow and develop, what goes on behind the scenes is nothing short of amazing. Celebration may seem like an odd intangible quality to carry into the future. But wherever we end up, it’s necessary that we remember to stop every once in a while and take a minute to be appreciative, and yes even celebratory, of ourselves and what we have accomplished in addition to those around us. 

Andy Rooney once said, “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain. But all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it”. While the tangible accomplishments may be what this class is remembered most for, I believe the intangibles also define us. And while our goals will always be there, calling down to us from the top of the mountain, the intangibles define our journey up the mountain, and in reality, the process of climbing is more important than reaching the top. So as the HMHS Class of 2023 sits here today, finally atop the mountain that is high school, we are now all facing the much larger and more ominous peak that is our future. What’s different now is that sadly we won’t always be climbing together. But while we may not be together per se, we will have all the intangible qualities that define us as a class. Our work ethic and our perseverance will push us up the mountain. We’ll meet people along the way and find support for ourselves to make the climb easier. We’ll fail, time and time again, and make countless mistakes, but just as often, we’ll pick ourselves back up, keep pushing, and continuously celebrate and appreciate the progress we’re making. The future is daunting, and what lies ahead certainly will not be easy. But the one thing I know is that if I had to pick one group of people to climb this mountain, one group who I was confident could conquer the challenges ahead, I would choose the greatest class to ever walk through those halls, the HMHS Class of 2023.

Thank you.  

Haddonfield baseball card store hits a grand slam  

 At about 10:30am on a sunny Saturday in June 1998 – the 6th, to be exact – Anthony Conte parked his car in the public lot opposite the Fire House in Haddonfield.

He noticed a line of people on the sidewalk opposite and thought, at first, it was a queue for The Happy Hippo, the popular toy store on the corner of Haddon Avenue and Kings Highway. “They must be having a sale,” Tony said to himself. 

It wasn’t until he actually crossed the street that he realized the people were waiting for a new baseball card store (Conte’s Card Castle – his store!) to open its doors for the first time, at 11am.   

“I couldn’t believe it,” Tony said recently as he reflected on 25 years in business in Haddonfield. “It was insane. We did over $6,000 in business on June 6, 1998. When I shut up shop at the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted.”

Anthony Conte moved his collectible card business to Haddonfield from Voorhees, where he had owned and operated Mike’s Baseball Cards & Comix II for nearly four years. “I wanted to change the name to Conte’s Card Castle but the township and the landlord were making me jump through hoops to register the new name and change my signs,” Tony said.

Tony knew of the storefront at 3 Haddon Avenue because a baseball card store had been at that location previously. “Jim Rhoads (the building owner) was very accommodating,” Tony said, “and we came to an arrangement very quickly. I haven’t looked back.”

Except for the years 2011 through 2013, when the market was very tight – “Directly attributable to the housing crisis that began a few years earlier,” Tony says – the business has grown steadily. “In fact, for the past five years, it’s been phenomenal. You wouldn’t believe how much some serous collectors are paying these days for a single, rare card.”

While the Internet flattened the market for some types of sports collectibles, it hasn’t made much of a dent in the card business. One of Tony’s customers explained the reason:

“If you’re spending big bucks on quality cards, you want to be able to examine them in person,” says longtime customer Mike West. “You’ve got to check them every which way, because there are a lot of counterfeit cards out there. You can’t do that online.”

Tony is justifiably proud of his reputation carrying top quality merchandise, for his encyclopedic knowledge of the collectible card market, and for dealing with customers in an honest, straightforward manner. “In my 25 years in business, I’ve only had one item returned,” says Tony, “and that was because two people unwittingly bought the same item as a gift for a family member.” 

Although baseball cards account for about 50% of Conte’s business, the store also carries cards for football, basketball, and hockey, plus Dungeons & Dragons, Pokemon, and Magic cards. And a wide variety of the supplies that card collectors of all ages need.  

When asked to define “all ages,” Tony responded, “from 5 or so to senior citizen.” 

Haddonfield’s mayor and commissioners will be at Conte’s Card Castle at 3:30pm on Thursday, June 8 for an anniversary ribbon-cutting.  

To celebrate his store’s 25th anniversary, Tony Conte is giving customers who come to his store during their birthday week in 2023 a collectible blue-and-white Phillies baseball, mounted in a clear plastic display cube. The free offer will continue through December 31, or while supplies last. Also, from Tuesday June 6 through Sunday June 11, a chance to win a $250 storewide shopping spree.

Tony Conte says that for someone just getting into collecting, “$250 would help provide a solid base.” Alternatively, $250 would enable a seasoned collector to add a long-coveted item to an established collection. 

“I’ll be happy, regardless of who wins,” Tony says. “I just want to show my customers and the community how grateful I am for their support. Twenty-five years! Who would-a thunk it?” 

Boys’ Basketball: The first State championship, 50 years ago

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

Photo [1973 Yearbook]: Senior Chris Whitten elevates for a shot.

Against All Odds

On March 31, 1991, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four took place in the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. In the first game, the Kansas Jayhawks knocked off the Tarheels of North Carolina. The second game pitted the Duke Blue Devils of North Carolina against the Runnin’ Rebels of Nevada–Las Vegas. The Rebels had not lost a game all season and were looking to become the first team since UCLA, under the legendary coaching of John Wooden, to win back-to-back NCAA titles. Beating Duke seemed a given, especially since Nevada–Las Vegas had humiliated Duke 103–73 the previous year en “rout” to the championship. No one, from broadcasters to sports writers, coaches to fans, thought the Devils had a chance in, well, hell, of upsetting the Runnin’ Rebels. Except they did, upending them 79–77 on foul shots made in the final seconds by junior Christian Laettner. Duke would go on to beat Kansas for its first national championship ever.

Eighteen years before that game, in March 1973, and on a slightly smaller stage, the Group 1 Boys Basketball Championship was set to tipoff at Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym with Orange High School taking on Haddonfield Memorial. While the Orange’s basketball team wasn’t undefeated—they had, like Haddonfield, lost two games, and their 25 wins were two fewer than their opponents—they might as well have been. That’s why no one “in the know” was giving Haddonfield a fighting chance against them. According to Dave Wiedeman, who was finishing up his second year as Haddonfield’s head coach, his counterpart, Orange coach Cliff Blake, was so certain his team would triumph, he didn’t even scout the opposition. In retrospect, that may not have been a smart move …

Practice Pays Off

Before we look at that St. Patrick’s Day game, let’s see how the season developed through the eyes and memories of Coach Wiedeman and of four of Haddonfield’s starting players: Kevin Eastman, Chris Whitten, and Kirby Wood, who were seniors, and Tom Betley, who was a junior. Wiedeman and I talked on the phone; Eastman and Whitten responded to email questions. Wood and Betley provided email responses as well as additional comments in-person and via Facebook Messenger.

Neither the coach nor his players were expecting Haddonfield to reach the heights it did in the 1972–73 season with only one starter, Eastman, returning. Wood, who had been the 6th man (the first one off the bench) the previous year, played the wing, or second guard, as a senior. He assessed the situation this way: “Kevin was the only returning starter. I was excited to get to be a starter and contribute. We knew we had one of the best players in South Jersey, so we just needed to establish our roles.”

Eastman defined himself as “a multi-positional player being used as a ball-handler when needed and also as a scorer in most games.” He felt the team had the chance to be good, but said it is always hard to know how much work your opponents have put in during the off-season. “We had good skill guys, we played very hard, and we were a true team in that we all accepted, understood, and bought into the roles Dave [Wiedeman] gave us. And Dave coached in such a way that he instilled confidence in us. And that was important.”

Betley, who could rotate into any of four positions as needed, concurred with Wood about the team’s potential, noting, “We felt we could be pretty good because we had Kevin. Remember, four starters had graduated. But the expectations didn’t grow until after we won the Pennsauken Christmas Tournament.”

Since four of the team’s five starters had not seen a lot of varsity action the prior season, I wanted to know how they became a cohesive unit. Whitten, who played center, commented, “As a group, we played a lot of basketball in summer leagues and pickup games every day.” That recollection was echoed by the others.

Eastman recalled “all the time we spent playing and working out at the YMCA and over at the St. Rose courts [in Haddon Heights] and the Collingswood courts. We tried to show up wherever games were being played in the off-season.” For Eastman, it was also a matter of playing as often as he could and then working on his skills in his backyard court every day.

For Wood, all that time spent playing together meant that by the time the season actually started, “we knew each other’s tendencies and strengths.” Betley pointed out, “None of the starters, plus 6th man Matt Welsh, played another sport, and we literally played 5 hours a day, every day” spring, summer, and fall.

I also wanted Wiedeman’s views on how the team developed. “Defense was key, as was the advancement of Tom B. Everybody knew Kevin would be the player to guard, and Tom took pressure off, so teams couldn’t stick just on [guarding] Kevin.” Each player brought his own value and talent to the team. This enabled Haddonfield to progress and grow beyond just being a one-man (i.e., Eastman) team. Whitten, who manned the inside, “played smart and didn’t make too many mistakes.” Wood contributed “outstanding offense” while “Tommy Hare was strong on defense.” Hare, who was a junior guard and the fifth starter, was not available for me to contact. Betley described Hare, a lefty, as a strong shooter who averaged 6–7 points a game. All those player skills “Added up to a team,” Wiedeman told me.

Wiedeman also stressed how hard the team always played. Some of that toughness no doubt grew out of the practices Wiedeman commandeered. This is how Whitten summed up those sessions: “Coach emphasized defense and rebounding plus running, running and more running i.e., conditioning.”

Wood said he always enjoyed the practices because they were “well-organized and productive. We had great scouting from Coach [Mark] Caplan.” Wood said that because Wiedeman was great at preparation, his players were never caught off-guard. “We knew the opponents’ personnel and their plays. Sometimes we knew their plays as well as they did.”

Betley said the focus of practice was always getting ready—being prepared—for the next opponent. “The plays had adjustments, but we knew if we executed them, we would get a good shot. With Chris at 6-5, and the tallest, we really weren’t a tall team, so fundamentals, like boxing out, were critical and emphasized daily.”

Eastman felt that the scouting report, which could differ from game to game, influenced what the team specifically focused on. “We worked hard on defense; [Wiedeman] expected great effort and hustle, no matter the drill, and we did scrimmage five on five.” The team also worked on mastering the fundamentals, as that was big for their coach.  

The Road to Princeton

As Haddonfield headed into the NJSIAA tournament, they only had two losses, both to Colonial Conference rival Sterling. In the first game, Haddonfield lost by 9, 69–78; in the second game, they only fared slightly better, losing by 6, 69–75. I wanted to know how much those losses inspired them as the playoffs loomed and whether it changed the game plan at all.

Whitten acknowledged, “The losses to Sterling focused on the need to score efficiently.” That focus did not change for the tournament. Betley called the Sterling defeats “upsetting, ” but said that as they went into the postseason, “We played the same in the playoffs, prepared for each opponent, and respected each opponent.” Wood noted, “Personally we were disappointed, but we shook it off.”

Eastman had the mindset to move on to the next game, no matter the outcome. “I never really thought about Sterling as we entered into the state tournament. I was just ready and excited to play one more game and see how far we could go.” Eastman also literally went limping into the tournament, far from 100%. In the great Courier Post sportswriter Don McKee’s March 19, 1973, article, “Haddons Eastman: One in a Thousand,” Eastman relayed why:

“‘One of the bones in my right foot is sort of eaten away,’ said the brilliant Haddonfield High School senior Saturday. ‘It’s like a trick knee. The doctor said it happens to one of 1,000 people.’

“‘I really hurt it badly against Haddon Township about five weeks ago,’ Eastman recalled. ‘The doctor didn’t want me to play until the state tournament.'”

Eastman explained to McKee that he was very upset about that prospect, but Don Casey, then the Temple men’s basketball coach, took him to a doctor in Philadelphia, who had guys playing on the same type of bone condition every day. “‘Coach Casey convinced my parents it would be safe enough to play.'”

As McKee wrote in that article, “Eastman kept playing when the doctor’s advised rest because he’s the heart and soul of Haddonfield, even with no legs at all.”

Before the Haddonfield–Orange showdown, the team competed in a pair of nail-biting games. In the South Jersey Group 1 finals, they went up against Florence, and then in the state semis, took on Freehold.

“Both games were both so close,” Wiedeman said. In the South Jersey final, “Florence kept holding the ball and wouldn’t let us run the court/go up and down,” Wiedeman recounted. “At the end of the game [with Haddonfield down by 1], I had to make a decision.” That was to foul the worst Florence shooter, even though Wiedeman hated putting an opposing player on the foul line. The Florence player missed the front end of a 1+1, and Haddonfield got a basket to win, 42–41. “It felt very good to get out of there,” Wiedeman admitted.

The state semifinal game versus Freehold ended up going down to the wire as well. This time, Haddonfield escaped with a 2-point, 47–45 victory.

Toughness Nets a Championship

None of the three articles I was able to reference about the Orange–Haddonfield game gave much of a play-by-play recap. But apparently, it was pretty much decided within the first 8 minutes thanks to Orange coach Cliff Blake sticking to a 3-1-1 press even when it was clear it wasn’t working. “We would beat the first 3, Kevin or Betley kept being fouled and making layups,” is how Wiedeman described it. Betley, in fact, would be 15–16 from the foul line and finish with 27 points. That Haddonfield was able to stay out of foul trouble was important: “We weren’t too deep,” Wiedeman conceded. That was a bit of an understatement. Except for Haddonfield’s five starters, only Welsh came in off the bench to collect two rebounds.

Wiedeman’s former players had their ideas as to what proved to be the turning point in the game, and along with their coach, they all centered on how Orange chose to both defend the basket and create their offense. “The turning point was the ease of breaking their full court press,” Whitten said. “The game seemed to be over fast.”

Wood added, “When we scouted them and found they used a full-court press to create their offense, coach put together a strategy to break the press. We practiced it for several days against our reserves. 7 on the press versus our starting 5. We ended up destroying their press and blowing up their year-long winning strategy.”

Betley also gave a nod to the pregame practice that emphasized playing against their press that had them going “7 on 5 on a smaller Haddonfield court, so when we got to Princeton, we were ready. [It was a] bigger college court, and only five players. In truth,” Betley stated, “we were more prepared than them.”

I can even include Tom Hare’s thoughts, thanks to a quote from the second McKee article, which I reference more specifically in the next paragraph: “‘He [Wiedeman] had us ready for the press,’ added guard Tom Hare. ‘He told us exactly where everyone would be. We kept our turnovers down and that was a big key. We played a practically perfect game in the first half.'”

This second McKee article, titled “Betley Finds Happiness, Haddons Find Crown: 27-Point Effort Sparks State Kings,” is preserved, along with the one on Eastman, in my first Haddonfield boys basketball scrapbook (there are four scrapbooks altogether, and articles and photos still to be pasted in that could probably full up four more) In this piece, Betley talked about how he struggled at times during season. “I felt I wasn’t contributing a lot,” he told McKee, singling out three games late in the season when he had not hit double figures in scoring.

McKee wrote: “Tom Betley’s concern turned out to be unfounded. He started contributing to Haddonfield’s effort in big chunks. Luckily, Betley’s transformation came exactly when the Haddon’s needed it most—during the tournament when an injured Eastman was no longer able to carry the team.

“Haddonfield dumped Orange 76-67 … to take the first state title in the school’s long history, and without Tom Betley, there probably would be no championship.”

When defining what the turning point was in his mind, Eastman also emphasized Betley’s role in the state title game, crediting his other teammates as well: “I remember Tom Betley playing very well and just battling against them. He scored big, and we needed his points that game. I remember Kirby and Tom Hare working against [the Orange] pressure, as they were quick and pressed all the time. Chris kept banging and battling as well. We did not back down.”

From the box score, I can provide some player stats. Eastman, hobbled as he was, scored 23, meaning he and Betley accounted for 50 of Haddonfield’s 76 points. Betley also pulled down 14 rebounds. Whitten was 3 for 3 from the field and got nine rebounds. Wood also grabbed nine rebounds and contributed 12 points. Hare finished with 8 points and three boards.

Speaking of not backing down, Eastman, hampered by his “trick foot and banged up knees,” as McKee worded it, “managed to get stepped on by 6-5, 220-pound Orange center Bill Johnson” in the first quarter. What no one would find out until after the fact was that the collision actually broke Eastman’s foot. According to Wiedeman, it turned out to be a cracked bone. However, at the time, the sports trainer in the arena taped it up and told Wiedeman, “He can keep on playing.”

During his interview with McKee after the game, Eastman, who still did not know the extent of his injury, was blunt: “‘It was my last game in a Haddonfield uniform. …. If I’m hurt, I play hurt.’

“That sentence.” McKee concluded, “tells you why Haddonfield out-gutted Orange Saturday and lets you know Eastman’s honest appraisal of what he means to the team.”

In the New York Times‘s article from Sunday, March 18, 1973, Orange coach Cliff Blake lamented that the game was won and “lost at the foul line.” This was indeed a valid observation, as Haddonfield was 24 of 34 at the line compared to Orange, which only got to attempt nine foul shots, making six of them. Still in all, as Dave Wiedeman told me, if Orange had scouted his players and realized the zone was the best option, “There may have been a different outcome” 50 years ago. I like to think, however, that zone or press, Kevin Eastman, Kirby Wood, Chris Whitten, Tom Betley, and Tom Hare, under the direction of Dave Wiedeman, a truly gifted coach, would still have found a way to bring that first state championship home to Haddonfield.

Dawning of a Dynasty

Wayne Grear graduated in 1970, which was 2 years too early to experience Wiedeman’s coaching acumen. Wayne was why I started going to Haddonfield basketball games in the late 1960s because he was dating my sister Carol (they’ve been married since 1974). But in March 1973, he was a junior at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., and hitchhiked to Princeton to see the game. His rationale was that there might never be another chance to see Haddonfield compete in or win a boys basketball state title.

Little did anyone know, the title claimed in Jadwin Gym was just the beginning of a Haddonfield boys basketball dynasty, started by Dave Wiedeman and continued on today by his youngest son Paul. Between the two of them, this father and son duo have coached Haddonfield to 10 state championship games and have won seven of them. And while all seven were exciting and deservedly well-celebrated, nothing quite compares to that first glorious win on St. Patrick’s Day 1973. So, on this March 17, raise your favorite beverage and salute that team and its coach for a game that will never be forgotten, no matter how many years may pass by.

Final Thoughts

As I wound up my interviews, I wanted to know what the players took with them from that state championship win and if the skills they honed on the court carried over to their careers. The responses I got were insightful, especially since Eastman was the only player who continued on with a career in basketball after college.

Whitten remarked, “It was a great year of success balanced by hard work.” He would go to University of Virginia as an undergrad and would become an anesthesiologist. After working for 15 years in North Carolina, he came back to Virginia, where he worked until he retired. He found this similarity between his high school sport and his career: “Teamwork in the operating room, like basketball, requires everyone to work together.”

Wood learned “Preparation pays off. Great coaching pays off. Having Kevin as leader gave us confidence that we always had a good chance to win. I think we all understood our roles and mostly kept our egos in check. Once the playoffs begin, it goes so fast. You barely have time to digest it all.” Wood spent most of his career in banking. “I think sports in general prepares you for life. Things don’t always go your way, you have to get along with people even if you are not that compatible, and you win or lose as a team. As they say there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team.'”

Betley reflected, “I think we all learned the importance of preparation in any sporting event, and that transcended into life and business. Fred Shero said, ‘Win together today, walk together forever.'” Betley says this is so true, pointing out that people still talk about the game (and write about it!). “We, the 12 guys (even the ones I haven’t spoken to in years) will always have that bond. The first state championship.” Betley continues to use preparedness his job role now, as he has for years. “I work in the Rewards and Recognition industry helping companies (sales employees and customers) improve their performance with rewards outside of cash compensation.” What Betley didn’t mention, so I will, is how active stayed for decades, working with youth basketball in Haddonfield and coaching AAU ball in the South Jersey area. It’s why I call him “Mr. South Jersey Basketball.”

Eastman learned the value of teamwork and that hard work does pay off. “You learn it’s all about getting the right people on the team who each have a unique but valuable way of contributing to the success. It was my first true lesson of the power of ‘team.'” As a coach for his entire professional life (college for 22 years and the NBA for 13 years, including being part of the coaching staff when the Boston Celtics won the World Championship in 2008), Eastman definitely used his basketball background And it has also helped him in his speaking business now, in which he does 50 talks per year. “As I travel the country speaking to sports and corporate teams, many lessons I share were formed from my [basketball] experiences in high school, college, and the NBA.”

As for Dave Wiedeman, who finished his high school basketball coaching career with 332 wins, that upset victory over Orange in 1973 remains the most satisfying of them all. He also still takes great pride in knowing he helped bring Haddonfield its first—and 16 years later in 1989, its second—boys basketball state championship.

Boys’ Basketball: Surprise ending to season, but still a great one

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

Boys Basketball Week 11

I have been putting this off for almost a full 7 days, but now I have to finally face the buzzer and write my last article about the 2022­–23 Dawgs’ season. I don’t think anyone who was pulling for the Red and Black last Saturday, 2/25, was expecting the Silver Knights of Sterling would slay the Dawgs to advance to the South Jersey Group 2 championship game, but that’s exactly what happened. Before the hard ending of that game, however, the Dawgs took care of two earlier-round Group 2 opponents. I’ll highlight those games, take a look at the Sterling contest, and then pick out what I thought were the game and player stats that stood out this season. I also have some commentary from Mr. South Jersey Basketball, aka Tom Betley, our favorite play-by-play announcer, Mark Hershberger, and the best coach in South Jersey, Paul Wiedeman.

NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 Round 1:

West Deptford vs. Haddonfield, 2/21/23

The Dawgs had not had much trouble against their Colonial Conference Liberty compatriot Eagles in their two matchups in the regular season, beating them on their court 83–34 in December and then winning by a bit less at home earlier in February, 69–44. Not wanting to lose again by 25 points or more, the Eagles tried a different tactic for this game: stall ball. And it worked —for a while. After the Dawgs failed to score on their first possession, the Eagles got the ball with 7:29 on the clock. And at the 5:23 mark, when Patrick Ryan stole the ball, West Deptford had not yet attempted a shot.

Ryan got the Dawgs’ first basket on a feed from Zach Langan with 5:14 on the clock. About 30 seconds later, West Deptford went to the foul line and scored 2, and with 4:16 left in the first, the game was tied 2–2. Ryan put the Dawgs back up by 2, 4–2, and rather quickly, West Deptford shot the ball and it went in, so with 3:47 to go, the game was once again knotted, this time at 4.

Then it was back to stall ball. Finally, after West Deptford picked up its second foul of the quarter, Ryan took a pass from Teddy Bond and scored with 0:53 to go. Just ahead of the buzzer, after calling timeout with 13:6 on the clock, the Eagles landed another basket, and going into the next 8 minutes, each team had a whopping 6 points on the board, with Haddonfield’s three baskets all coming at the hands of Ryan.

The Dawgs managed to pick up the pace in the second quarter, putting 13 on the board. Narducci scored 8, starting with a jumper to get the offense going. After Ryan completed a 3-point play with a field goal and foul shot to put the Dawgs up 11–6, West Deptford got 2 from the foul line. A Bond-to-Ryan pass resulted in another bucket by Ryan, and then Narducci followed with back-to-back 3’s. His second jacked the Dawgs’ up to a double-digit, 19–8, lead with 3:51 to go until the half. The last 4 points of the half were scored by the Eagles off the foul line, and when the teams headed to the locker rooms, it was 19–11, Haddonfield.

The Eagles had possession to start the third and quickly (for them!) got a basket. Ryan answered at the other end with a 2, keeping it an 8-point game, at 21–13, with not even 30 seconds having gone off the clock. Langan got his first basket of the game to push the lead back to double digits, 23–13, with 6:05 on the clock, but West Deptford got a 3 its next possession to cut that edge down to 7, 23–16, with 5:39 to go. Ryan got 2 and was fouled, but his shot from the line didn’t drop. West Deptford picked up a foul, which turned into a 2 from Narducci, who was also fouled. His foul shot made it 28–16 at the 4:45 mark.

The Eagles got those 3 back in the same manner—a bucket and a foul shot—to get to within 9 once more, 28–19, with 3:43 on the clock. Langan did a nice reverse for 2, and a few plays later, Narducci stole the ball and drove in the lane for 2, putting the Dawgs ahead by 13, 32–19, with 3:01 remaining in the quarter. The Eagles picked up 2 more points from the foul line, and then Ryan finished off the Dawgs’ scoring in the quarter, first going up and in off an inbounds pass from Daire Roddy, and then getting another basket off a feed from Bond. West Deptford again got the ball in the net ahead of the basket, but the Eagles were still trailing by 13, 36–23, as the quarter ended.

The Dawgs would outscore the Eagles by 5 in the last 8 minutes. Narducci got another 3 and Ryan got his 10th and 11th baskets of the game, adding 2 more from the foul line. The final score was 47–29, so at least West Deptford succeeded in losing by less than 20 points. Ryan and Narducci were the offensive sparks of the game for Haddonfield, finishing with 25 and 16, respectively.

Quarter Scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield, 6, West Deptford, 6

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield, 19, West Deptford, 11

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield, 36, West Deptford, 23

4th Quarter: Haddonfield, 47, West Deptford, 29

Player Scores:

Patrick Ryan: 25

Sam Narducci: 16

Zach Langan: 4

Joe Tedeschi: 2

NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 Quarterfinal :

BCIT (aka Medford Tech) at Haddonfield, 2/23/23

While you might have been able to slip down to the concession stand during Tuesday’s first-round game to get a hotdog and pretzel without missing any action, the beginning of Thursday’s game against the Jaguars nearly gave me whiplash, as both teams were racing up and down the court as if you would get extra points the faster you got the ball in the bucket.

The Dawgs had scored two baskets before 10 seconds had ticked off the clock, one by Teddy Bond off a feed from Zach Langan, and one off an offensive rebound by Patrick Ryan after a steal by Daire Roddy. Medford Tech got a basket at the 6:24 mark, but a 3 by Bond made it 7–2, Haddonfield with 5:51 on the clock. After the Jags did not score, Ryan got fouled in the act of shooting and made 1–2 from the line.

Medford Tech got the next field goal with 3:51 left in the quarter to make it 8–4, Haddonfield. Ryan scored off an assist by Bond; a few plays later, Medford Tech scored off a pickoff, and then Bond got a 2 to make it 12–4, Dawgs, with 2:38 on the clock. About a minute later, after neither team had gotten a basket under their net, Ryan got a slam, elevating up in the air before dropping the ball in, which got a roar of approval from the Dawg fans. That made it 14–6, and with about 20 seconds to go, Bond finished the scoring with a 3, giving the Dawgs an 11-point, 17–6, lead to start the second quarter.

The Jags got more competitive in the next 8 minutes, scoring 12 to the Dawgs’ 14. Ryan was a beast under the basket all game long, and in the 2nd, he made five field goals off feeds from his teammates and offensive boards. In his second basket of the second quarter, I noted that he had to fight for room underneath to go up and in. This was an action he repeated all night long. Nate Rohlfing was responsible for Haddonfield’s other 2 baskets of the quarter and when the halftime buzzer sounded, the Dawgs were up by 13, 31–18.

In quarter number three, the Jags and the Dawgs put 14 points on the board apiece. The Dawgs got three baskets from Ryan, a pair from Bond, and two foul shots each by Sam Narducci and Zach Langan. All those 14 points did for Medford Tech, however, was keep them trailing by 13, 45–32, going into the final 8 minutes of the contest.

In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t a good sign that in the last 8 minutes, Medford Tech actually outscored the Dawgs by 2, who nonetheless won by 11, 65–54. But no one was thinking about that while watching the amazing end Patrick Ryan’s tremendous outing. In those 8 minutes, he made six field goals, and on two of them, followed the basket with a foul shot. He finished with 37 points: 17 came from field goals and 3 from the foul line. It’s not the most points scored in a game by a Haddonfield player (Pete Smith still holds that record with 44), but it was quite impressive to say the least. He also pulled down 11 rebounds. Teddy Bond finished with 16 points.

Quarter Scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield, 17, Medford Tech, 6

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield, 31, Medford Tech, 18

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield, 45, Medford Tech, 32

4th Quarter: Haddonfield, 65, Medford Tech, 54

Player Scores:

Patrick Ryan: 37

Teddy Bond: 16

Nate Rohlfing: 6

Sam Narducci: 4

Zack Langan: 2

NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 Semifinal:

Sterling at Haddonfield, 2/25/23

As I was sitting in the stands before this game started, I texted Mark Hershberger with a “Whaddya think?” He replied, “If they key on Ryan [alluding to Patrick Ryan’s last two games, when he’d scored 25 and then 39], Teddy [Bond] and Sam [Narducci] need to light it up.” And when the Dawgs’ first basket of the game was a 3 by Narducci, Hershberger was looking pretty smart.

However, Sterling got the next four baskets on a bad combination of Haddonfield turnovers and missed shots, and with 1:41 to go in the quarter, the Silver Knights were up by 6, 9–3. The Dawgs’ only other basket of the quarter was, in fact, a 3, by Daire Roddy, and when the first quarter buzzer sounded, the Dawgs were trailing by 3, 6–9.

The next quarter went much better for the Dawgs, even though the Knights got the first basket to push their lead back to 5, 11–6. Another 3 by Narducci and a bucket in the paint by Nate Rohlfing tied it at 11 with 5:41 on the clock. After a near pickoff by Matt Morris and a blocked shot by Rohlfing that Morris retrieved, Ryan was fouled going in for a basket. His first shot dropped, to inch the Dawgs back in front 12–11, with about 5 minutes left in the half. The second shot did not go in, but Roddy got the rebound. Morris’ 3 went in and out (a later 3 attempt went so far in the net, I’m not sure how it didn’t keep going), but down the other end, Haddonfield got two more blocked shots. Working off that tough D, Narducci swooshed in another 3 to give the Dawgs a 4-point, 15–11, advantage with just under 3 to go

After a timeout, Sterling came back to get a 3 and after the Dawgs missed a very easy basket, Sterling got fouled and made both shots, giving them back the lead, 16–15, at the 3:18 mark. That edge didn’t last long thanks to Narducci’s third trey of the quarter, which was followed by another basket in the paint by Rohlfing off a feed from Morris. Zach Langan pulled down the rebound off a missed shot by Sterling, and Morris hit a jumper after the Dawgs worked hard to give the Dawgs two extra chances to score. With 1:30 and change to go, the Dawgs were looking to be in a pretty good rhythm and had a 6-point, 22–16, advantage.

Sterling had an answer, though, hitting a 3 in return, but Roddy’s field goal made it 24–19, Haddonfield with 49 seconds remaining in the half. Sterling got another basket to make it 24–21 with about 40 seconds to go. That would have been more than enough time for Haddonfield to set a play in motion and score, but instead, they got a traveling call. Sterling didn’t score, Roddy got another rebound, but with 15 seconds left, Haddonfield picked up an offensive foul, giving possession back to Sterling with 3.3 on the clock. Sterling’s last attempt did not go in, so as the half ended, the Dawgs were up by 3, 24–21.

Quarter 3 was a pretty frustrating one all the way around. It started out with Ryan stealing the ball from the Knights, who had inbounded. However, the steal did not result in a basket for the Dawgs. Sterling did not score, but the Dawgs turned the ball over. The Knights did score their next possession and also earned a trip to the foul line, where that shot also went in. So, with 6:29 on the clock, the game was tied at 24.

The two teams swapped 2-point plays: Haddonfield went back up by 2 on a basket by Rohlfing, but Sterling tied it again with 2 foul shots. Haddonfield had another turnover, but so did Sterling. Then neither team scored. Bond’s 3 broke the 2-minute-plus scoring drought by both sides, putting the Dawgs back on top 29–26 with 4:11 left in the quarter. The Knights got two more field goals and moved back ahead by 1, 30–29, with 2:31 to go. Although that would be Sterling’s last 2 points of the quarter, Haddonfield could not take advantage, so going into the final quarter, they were still down by 1.

Sterling once again had possession to start a quarter. Rohlfing got another blocked shot, but the ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield, giving Sterling the ball again. This time, they made a really easy layup to increase their lead to 3, 32–29, with 7:10 on the clock. Bond picked a great time for his second 3 to bring the match even at 32 with 6:36 left in the game.

The Silver Knights went back up by 2 at the other end, and after a missed shot by Haddonfield, Narducci showed great hustle to get the ball back. Sterling committed a foul with 5:26 to go, but a bad inbounds pass gave them back the ball. Their next shot did not go in, but they got a trip to the foul line, and made 1–2, giving the Knights a 3-point, 32–35, lead at the 5:21 mark.

Rohlfing grabbed the rebound after that second shot did not go in and Ryan’s field goal made it 34–35. Sterling went on an 8-point run after Ryan’s basket. The Dawgs weren’t just missing baskets, they were losing the ball and committing fouls. When that 8-0 run was over, Sterling was in apparent control of the game, up by 9, 43–34 with 3:23 remaining.

Haddonfield wasn’t going to just give up. Their players don’t know what that means. Bond got a point back from the foul line, and after an iffy call that looked like a foul on Sterling but went against the Dawgs, Sterling at least did not score. Narducci did, though, and with 1:42 left, the Dawgs were now down by 6, 37–43. Haddonfield picked up its 7th foul of the half, which meant Sterling headed to the line for a 1+1 but missed the front end. Narducci scored again, and now the Dawgs were back to within 4, 39–43, with 1:13 left.

About 14 seconds later, after a few more head-scratching calls by the three-ref team, Sterling was back on the foul line again. And again, the first shot did not drop. Bond got the ball with 29.6 left and the Dawgs still down by 4, 39–43. The Dawgs’ shot did not go in, Sterling was fouled and … you got it: They missed the first shot of a 1+1 for the third time in a row. Off the Haddonfield rebound Roddy drove in and scored, making it a 2-point, 41–43, game with 6.6 seconds to go.

Haddonfield called a full (60-second) timeout. That meant Sterling had to inbound the ball and good defense by Haddonfield made them call timeout before they were charged with a 5-second violation. (The inbounding team has 5 seconds to get the ball over the line onto the court or else they lose possession.) So, when Sterling tried again to inbound the ball, there was still 6.6 left on the clock. Again, the Sterling player was struggling to find an open man on the court. When he finally did, it seemed like that more than 5 seconds had passed (I honestly don’t know how refs time inbound plays), but instead of Haddonfield getting the ball under its own basket with a chance to tie or go ahead, the refs called a foul on Haddonfield. (I went back to this part of the stream of the game and used the stopwatch feature on my phone. I did it twice—I thought if I kept doing it, I would just go crazy. The first time, I got 4.9 seconds. The second time, I got 5.1 seconds …)

Fourth time at the line for Sterling was the charm, and this time the first shot, but not the second, went in. Now the Dawgs were down by 3 with 5.3 seconds left in their season. The Dawg coaches called another full timeout to set up what was going to have to be a 3-point play. Before the Dawgs could attempt a shot, the Silver Knights intercepted the ball, got fouled once more, and once more made 1–2. With 2.9 seconds on the clock and down by 4, the Dawgs had run out of time. When the buzzer sounded, the Sterling players, coaches, and fans were the ones celebrating. And I have to admit, I did not see the ending of this game coming …

Quarter Scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield, 6, Sterling, 9

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield, 24,  Sterling, 21

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield, 29, Sterling, 30

4th Quarter: Haddonfield, 41, Sterling, 45

Player Scores:

Sam Narducci: 16

Teddy Bond: 7

Daire Roddy: 7

Nate Rohlfing: 6

Patrick Ryan: 3

Matt Morris: 2

Final Game Thoughts

When I consulted with Tom Betley and Mark Hershberger about why the game didn’t go Haddonfield’s way, both had similar thoughts. Betley noted that “turnovers were the biggest part of the story.” He added that eight of Haddonfield’s turnovers resulted in baskets for Sterling. Yet even though the Dawgs forced three straight turnovers in one stretch, they got only 1 point—off a foul shot.

Hershberger saw it this way: “Sterling kept us from doing what we’ve been doing most of the year, which is start fast, get a 10- to 12-point lead on a good team, then play tough defense and hold that lead.” He felt that we just could not get a real run going in the second half: “Seemed like every opportunity we had ended in missed layups or not protecting the ball.”

I also thought that problem as the game got into the final minutes was the Dawgs’ hesitancy to shoot the ball. When you’re ahead, the clock is your friend. But when you’re down by more than one possession, there needs to be a combination of not making bad shot choices but also not wasting too many seconds. The Dawgs didn’t seem able to find that balance when the game was on the line.

Season Highlights

I’m going to close out with the words Dawg coach Paul Wiedeman shared with me about the season, interspersing, in some cases, specific examples to go along with his commentary:

“Even though we were disappointed with how the season concluded, there were many positives to take away this year. We won the Colonial Conference Liberty division outright with a 9–1 record.”

            • The Dawgs were 14–1 overall, losing only once (to Sterling) between Liberty and Patriot league play.

“We finished with an overall record of 25 wins and six defeats. The 25 wins were second most in all of South Jersey. We defeated the SJ Group 1 champion, Woodbury …”

            • The final score was 47–42

“as well as the SJ Group 3 sectional champion Moorestown.”

            • Moorestown was ranked #20 in the state going into this game (and weren’t after it), which the Dawgs won 37–31.

“On the defensive side of the ball, we gave up the fewest points per game in all of South Jersey, only allowing 37.5 points per game.

            • In 16 of those 25 wins, the Dawgs held their opponents to less than 40 points. In eight of them, they were held to less than 30. That was due to what Teddy Bond and Daire Roddy christened “Haddonfield Havoc.”

“This was one of the most selfless, connected teams in my 24 years of coaching at Haddonfield. They were a pleasure to coach in games and in practice. They really enjoyed playing for one another.”

            • I don’t have stats to back this up, but I would guess that at least one-third of the points scored by Haddonfield per game were off feeds. This wasn’t a team where players hogged the ball. They thrived on setting their teammates up to put the ball in the basket. But I do have a quote from Teddy Bond after he tied the boys’ record for 3’s in one game (10) that I think is worth repeating: “I was nervous toward the end when I started to get close, but thanks to my teammates, I was able to tie it. It was a surreal feeling being able to do something special with that group of guys. If it wasn’t for my teammates, coaches, parents, and everyone involved, I don’t think I would have been able to do it. It’s not my record, it’s our record.” If that’s not the definition of “selfless,” I don’t know what is.

“We look forward to big things next year as we return four starters and our first two substitutes off the bench. We will miss our only senior on the team, Ted Bond. He provided leadership, skill, and great passion for playing basketball. Teddy will be missed.

“I want to thank all the players, coaches, parents, booster club, managers, administration, and the community for making 2022–2023 a successful season.”

And we all know how lucky the players and the school and its fans have been with Paul Wiedeman at the helm for 24 seasons. I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens with season 25.

See everybody then!

Boys’ Basketball: Preview of the NJSIAA tournament … and more!

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

All things considered, the fact that the Haddonfield boys basketball team lost its last regular season game last Tuesday night to Eastern Regional High School seems the least important event of recent days to focus on. However, I’ll provide a recap of it before moving onto taking a look at the teams participating in the Group 2 South Jersey NJSIAA tournament, which starts this Tuesday, 2/21. (Because I am sure anyone who follows South Jersey basketball is aware of what happened during the final of the inaugural Camden County Tournament between Camden and Camden Eastside and the consequences thereof, I’m not going to go into that topic beyond how it will impact the Group 2 matchups.) And in between, I’m going to take a look at the latest chapter in a story about how two schools from different conferences (and even groups) continue to have a connection that has been decades in the making.

But first …

Eastern Regional High School vs. Haddonfield, 2/14/23

After both the Dawgs of Haddonfield and the Vikings of Eastern lost their quarterfinal games in the Camden County Tournament on Saturday, 2/11, I was not too surprised (in fact, I was expecting it) to see that the two teams were going to face each other in a nonleague game a few nights later. This made sense because if they had both won on Saturday, they would have played each other in the Camden County semifinals.

At the outset, the Dawgs were not looking too sharp on the court. The Vikings jumped out to a 5–0 start before back-to-back buckets by Zach Langan and Patrick Ryan cut the lead to 1,  4–5, at the 5:12 mark. But just like they would do throughout the game whenever the Dawgs got close, the Vikings went on a 3-point rampage, hitting two in a row and then a 2 to go up 13–5. After a basket by Sam Narducci, the Vikings struck again from behind the arc, making it 16–7. A 2 from the field and a basket from the foul line by Teddy Bond made it 16–10 with 1:18 left in the quarter. The Dawgs were still playing tough defense (despite all the 3’s) but by guarding against the 3, more than once during the game this set up an easy Viking layup, such as the one that was made with about 55 seconds to go, which pushed the lead back to 8, 18–10. Bond hit a bunk shot to get the Dawgs to within 6, 12–18, and that’s how the quarter ended.

The Vikings started the second quarter off the same way they started the first, scoring 5 on a 2 and 3, increasing their lead to double digits, 23–12. Almost half of the quarter went by before the Dawgs got a basket by Narducci, but luckily, the Vikings missed some scoring opportunities as well. So with 4:01 remaining in the half, it was 23–14, Eastern.

The Dawgs got a point from the foul line on a shot by Matt Morris and then a basket by Daire Roddy to cut the lead down to 6 with 3:29 on the clock. The Vikings got a basket before the Dawgs finally hit a pair of 3’s in a row, one from Morris and one from Narducci. So with less than a minute to go in the half, the Dawgs had clawed back to within 2, 23–25. However, the Vikings got the last basket—a 3—to end the quarter and were up by 5, 28–23, as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

The points put on the board in those last 4 minutes actually enabled the Dawgs to outscore the Vikings by 1, 11–11, in the second quarter. And the fact that Haddonfield had possession to start the third was promising. After a foul by Eastern, the Dawgs lost that possession due to bad ball-handling, and the Vikings took advantage, scoring a 2-pointer. After the Dawgs missed a shot, Roddy stole the ball, but the end result was not a bucket  under the Haddonfield basket.

Another basket by Eastern made it 32–23 with 6:24 on the clock. The next 2 points were made by the Vikings on the foul line, and with 4:50 to go, Eastern had that 11-point, double-digit lead back, up 34–23. The Dawgs got 1–2 from the line and then 2 off a shot by Langan, but Eastern was still up by 8, 34–26 with 3:50 remaining. After procuring two offensive boards and surviving a near-pickoff by Roddy, the Vikings had a 3 roll, rather than swoosh, in, and then got another one of those annoyingly easy layups as Haddonfield got caught protecting against the 3 again. This gave them their biggest lead of the night, 13 points, at 39–26, with about 1:40 left in the quarter.

Narducci hit a 3 to make it 29–39 with 1:27 on the clock. Eastern got another 3, this time as a result of an easy layup and a resulting foul shot, to make it a 13-point, 42–39, game with less than a minute to go. A drive by Bond ended the quarter, and with 8 minutes left in the game, the Dawgs were trailing by 11, 31–42.

I may sound like I’m dissing the Dawgs, but I think most of us who had been following the team all season knew the team was playing tired. Unlike most seasons, the Dawgs had been consistently taking on three or four opponents each week, and for 5 of those weeks, had a 17-game win streak to show for it. Even though the Dawgs lost this matchup, in the last 8 minutes, they dug deep and started playing their kind of game. Thanks in part to 3’s by Morris, Narducci, and Bond, the Dawgs put 18 points on the board to the Vikings’ 14 and made a game of it. The 3 by Morris got the Dawgs to within 5, 45–50, with 2:01 left in the game. That was as close as the Dawgs would get, but when the buzzer sounded, even with their 49–56 defeat, it looked like the team had shaken off what hadn’t been the best 8 quarters of the season and had gotten their collective groove back.

Quarter Scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield, 12, Eastern, 18

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield, 23, Eastern, 28

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield, 31, Eastern, 42

4th Quarter: Haddonfield, 49, Eastern, 56

Player Scores:

Teddy Bond: 15

Sam Narducci: 13

Matt Morris: 7

Patrick Ryan: 5

Zach Langan: 4

Daire Roddy: 2

Nate Rohlfing: 3

The HMHS–ERHS Connection

Do you know where Dave Wiedeman was before he came to Haddonfield Memorial High School for the 1971–’72 school year and basketball season? He was the head hoops coach at Eastern Regional High School from 1965–1971. Dave had two stints as the Bulldogs’ head coach with a 3-year break in the middle and finished up his 16-year career at the end of the 1991–92 season. Along the way, he led his teams to many Colonial Conference titles and two state championships. The first came in only his second year as head coach, in 1973 and gave the school its first-ever state basketball title. (You will be able to read more about that memorable game in an article I will be posting in a few weeks, which will look at that 72–73 season and feature interviews with Wiedeman and four of his players: Kevin Eastman, Kirby Wood, Tom Betley, and Chris “Hank” Whitten.) After Wiedeman left Haddonfield in 1992, guess where he went? Back to Eastern! Although he continued to teach after he put away his trusty clipboard, Dave would coach the Vikings for four more seasons, through 1996.

With Dave gone from Haddonfield, guess who took the head coaching job? Gary Wilson, who had been, yup, you guessed it, the head coach at Eastern. (Old-time Dawg fans will recall that Wilson’s wife, Donna, was the head girls coach at Haddonfield for several years, producing many winning seasons.) After Wilson left, Phil Smart, who would later become the Haddonfield AD before taking the same job at, no, really, Eastern, took the coaching reins. And in 1999, those reins were handed over to Wiedeman—Paul, Dave’s son, who has coached the Dawgs to a 23-5 record so far in this, his 24th season. (No, Paul did not come to HMHS via ERHS. He had been the assistant/JV coach at West Deptford, the team the Dawgs will face in the first round of the South Jersey NJSIAA tourney …)

In those 24 years, Wiedeman has led his teams to five state titles and seven appearances (the first coming his “rookie” year at Haddonfield). He’s coached a lot of players in those 24 seasons, including Nick and Rob DePersia, who were the guards on the team starting with their freshman season in 2011–12 through their senior season in 2014–15. In those 4 years, the team had an amazing record of 96–20. Both continued playing basketball while attending Rowan University. Rob is now an assistant men’s basketball coach at Villanova University. Nick just finished up his first year at—can you stand it?—Eastern as the JV coach and assistant to head coach to Kevin Crawford. He spent last year as an assistant coach at Triton.

If your head is not spinning yet (mine is), here is a little aside on the Crawfords’ ties to Haddonfield. Jim (the elder) taught and coached at Christ the King at Haddonfield for I have no idea how many years. His oldest son Jimmy played at Camden Catholic before earning acclaim (and the nickname Skyman) at LaSalle University. Jimmy’s two younger brothers, Mike (1971) and Dennis (1976) played for Haddonfield. (Dennis is one of numerous basketball players from one of the Wiedeman eras who has been inducted into the Haddonfield Athletic Hall of Fame.) Jimmy is Kevin’s dad. His other son, Matt, is the head coach at Camden Catholic, and Matt gets a bit of help from its former head coach, aka, his dad …

OK, back to the Eastern–Haddonfield connection and the JV game which proceeded the varsity game at the Haddonfield boys gym on 2/14. It was the first time since I’ve been going to and/or covering games that two former Haddonfield players whose careers did not cross but who were coached by the same person, Paul Wiedeman, came up against each other as opposing coaches. Nick DePersia’s counterpart was Anthony Parenti, who graduated from Haddonfield in 2011, the year before Rob and Nick’s freshman season. Parenti’s senior year, the Dawgs went 23–6 along the way to winning the Liberty crown in the Colonial Conference. Parenti has been JV coach and assistant to his former coach for 7 seasons.

While I was watching the end of the JV game (which the Dawgs won, but not by much), I had this combination “Sunrise/Sunset”–”Circle of (Basketball) Life” moment. For as the game neared its conclusion, DePersia stood in front of the Viking bench, Parenti stood in front of the Dawg bench, and their former coach—all of whom I had rooted for as Haddonfield players—stood in the alcove taking it all in.

I wanted to know what it felt like for Wiedeman as DePersia and Parenti went up against each other. He said he was “”very proud to see two former players coaching and being role models for the next generation of high school athletes.” Who knows? Maybe one of them will become the Haddonfield head coach down the road after Wiedeman retires. (But that won’t happen any time soon, as Wiedeman has his own son, Matthew, yet to coach, and Matthew, a 5th grader, has a few years to go before he becomes a freshman at HMHS.)

I got the chance to talk to Nick at the Camden County Tournament for a few minutes, and later reached out to him via Facebook to ask him what the experience had been like to be back on his old bouncing grounds as a coach for the competition.

“It was very weird sitting on the other side,” Nick acknowledged. “It was awesome being back in that gym because it’s been so long with Mikey’s teams playing at Cherry Hill East.” (Lest anyone has forgotten, Mikey DePersia took over the point guard position as a freshman in the 2015–16 season, the year after Nick and Rob graduated. In his junior and senior years, due to ongoing construction, the Dawgs played all their home games at Cherry Hill East.) Nick also told me that Coach Wiedeman’s first comment to him was how strange it was to see him in blue.“Gotta get you back in red and black,” Wiedeman said. (My sentiments exactly!) For Nick, coaching against Parenti and Wiedeman was a tremendous experience. “I knew a lot of their sets and actions, so we were very well-prepared coming into the game. It was a big [varsity] win for us going into the playoffs. I know that was our coach’s first win ever against Haddonfield.” And may it be his last! (Just kidding. Well, not really, because it’s hard for me to get too upset when there is a DePersia on the winning side …and it’s not the last game of the season.)

I’m not quite through with all these connections. While Nick was aware of the Crawford–Haddonfield links, he reminded me of one more involving Haddonfield and Eastern. His grandfather Jon Batchelor, a stellar athlete at Haddonfield, who, along with his wife Mae, is also a member of the HMHS Athletic Hall of Fame, was a math teacher at Eastern for 33 years and was the head football coach there for 17 of those 33 years.

Nick, who likes being a high school coach, has a “day” job as a civil engineer. But who knows? Perhaps he’ll eventually follow the path of his grandpa or his former high school coach, who got a business degree from Rowan (it was still Glassboro when he started his college career) before realizing his heart was on the court, not in an office, and ended up turning to teaching and coaching. In the meantime, it’s nice knowing that both Nick and Rob are sharing the lessons their high school coach taught them about the game of basketball and the game of life.

Betley’s Bracketology

After the NJSIAA’s official brackets for the four public and the two non-public groups came out on 2/14, I turned to someone who knows as much about South Jersey basketball as anyone in the state: Tom Betley. How, I wanted to know, did Betley see Haddonfield’s South Jersey Group 2 bracket shaking out? First, Betley wanted to make sure everyone knew the Dawgs had “earned” the #1 seed. I think most of you can read between the lines and infer what Betley meant, so I’ll leave it at that. Before the unexpected turn of events last Thursday, Betley was projecting a Haddonfield–Camden showdown in the finals. He predicted Camden would be up by 12 at halftime and bluntly said, “We’ll lose by 31. [We] can’t hang with them.”

Here are the other teams he thinks have some potential to advance into the later rounds. He noted that Lower Cape May Township (#9), who Haddonfield blew out last year because they had all lower classmen, is much improved. Betley calls Medford Tech (8#), who will be Lower Cape May’s first-round opponent, “dangerous.” Whoever wins that matchup would face Haddonfield, who Betley says will “cruise” by West Deptford. He thinks Overbrook (#5), in Haddonfield’s half of the bracket, and Cinnaminson (#3), in the bottom half, could wind up in the mix. He reminded me that Cinnaminson has former Dawgs’ freshman coach Pat Harvey’s twin nephews, noting, “They are good.” He also added that Cinnaminson has had an easy schedule, which is why their record is good but they aren’t ranked.

Camden’s unexpected exit from the tournament before it even began drastically changed the dynamics of the South Jersey Group 2 bracket. With Camden, which had been seeded at #2, out of the lower bracket (Lindenwold has been awarded a 2–0 victory), there could be a showdown between Cinnaminson and Middle Township (#7) in round three. After initially picking Cinnaminson to advance, upon doing further research, Betley revised his position and now favors Middle. In Haddonfield’s half of the bracket, it could be a win-all-or-go-home rubber match between Haddonfield and Sterling (#4) in that semifinal round. Biasedness aside, Betley and I both would give the edge to Haddonfield, who would then not have Camden waiting for them in the wings.

The saying, “What a difference a day makes” may be old, but in this case, it rings true.  Four days ago, all prognosticators had the same view: Nobody was going to beat Camden on the way to or in the Group 2 final. Now, as a result of the brawl at Cherry Hill East on 2/16, no one has to. The absence of Camden has infused quite a bit of excitement into that looming final: It’s now up for grabs instead of literally being a no-contest done deal. Although it’s anyone’s game, Betley’s got Haddonfield and Middle Township, who have a history of close South Jersey finals, duking it out for a chance to advance to the state semis. That he’s sticking with his alma mater to come out on top 45–41 is more a sign of Betley’s honed hoops instincts than his partisanship to Haddonfield. 

Let’s go Dawgs!!!

And speaking of going, all fans must purchase tickets in advance of Tuesday’s 5 p.m. round-one game versus West Deptford. Click HERE to get to the Haddonfield Ticket Box Office: No other passes will be honored. You can also purchase tickets for the girls game at 7:00 p.m. versus Camden. Both games will be live-streamed on the Haddonfield Athletics’ YouTube channel.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs slay Knights to capture Liberty title

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

Well, the bad news is that the Dawgs’ winning streak did not reach 18, thanks to the Tigers of Camden Eastside, who eliminated them from the Camden County Tournament in their quarterfinal matchup on Saturday, 2/11. The good news is that win number 17 in a row, which came against Sterling on Thursday, 2/9, gave the Dawgs sole possession of the Colonial Conference Liberty crown, at 9-1. (They also finished atop the overall conference, going 14-1.) Haddonfield’s only conference loss came in the first week of January at the hands of the Silver Knights on Sterling’s home court, so this win at Haddonfield was extra special.

First, I’ll give some highlights of the Dawgs’ initial game of the week at Paulsboro, provide some more details about the Liberty conference clincher, spend a little time assessing the team’s first defeat in 18 games, and then take a look at what lies ahead.

Game 1: Haddonfield at Paulsboro, 2/7/23

My travel buddy and I texted each other ahead of the game that we were both a little antsy about this trip down to the Red Raiders’ turf, as no matter what their record is, it’s never easy putting away Paulsboro on their own court. En route, I asked about something that had been perplexing me for the past few days. Ever since the Colonial had split into two divisions, Paulsboro had been in the Patriot and Haddonfield had been in the Liberty, which meant we shouldn’t have been playing them a second time this season. Had they, I asked, switched divisions? The answer was yes, and the swap-out meant that another team which had been in the Liberty division, Collingswood, took Paulsboro’s place in the Patriot. This happened as a result of enrollment sizes changing in both schools. This is why it’s so helpful to have a travel buddy that knows all these details, since I had clearly missed the (non) memo about the schools switching places.

Meanwhile, our fears about the Red Raiders giving the Dawgs a rough time were put to rest before halftime. Sam Narducci got the offense started by swooshing in a 3 after both teams failed to score their first possessions. The Red Raiders’ first bucket was a 2, at the 4:14 mark, but after Daire Roddy pulled down an offensive board, he passed it to Teddy Bond, who went up and in for 2. Roddy then picked off the ball, dished it to Narducci, who did a dandy overhand maneuver, and with 2:59 on the clock, the Dawgs were up by 5, 7–2.

The Raiders got 2 on a nice drive in the paint, but the Dawgs would finish out the quarter with a 2 from Zach Langan, a 2 from Patrick Ryan, and another 3 from Narducci, putting them up by 10, 14–4, going into the second quarter.

The Red Raiders got 7 on the board in the next 8 minutes, but the Dawgs added 15. Bond and Roddy hit 3’s, Roddy’s coming on a great pass from Langan under the basket. Speaking of Langan, he got another bucket off a nice bounce pass from Ryan. Nate Rohlfing made 3 baskets in the paint; two came from feeds by Roddy, and the last one was off a pass from Ryan. Going into the half, the Dawgs were making Paulsboro see red, up by 18, 29–11.

As if the Dawgs D (aka Haddonfield Havoc) hadn’t been giving the Raiders enough trouble in the first two quarters, in the third, they held Paulsboro to just one field goal, which came midway through. Meanwhile, Bond kicked off the second half with a 3, Langan and Rohlfing each scored a bucket, and Ryan picked up 2 more baskets. Going into the last 8 minutes of play, the Dawgs were ahead by 27 points, 40–13.

The Raiders actually doubled their score in the 4th quarter, but this was the Dawgs’ biggest offensive output of the game as well, as seven players combined for 21 points. Matt Morris got a field goal, Rohlfing got a bucket and made a foul shot, Ryan got another pair of 2-pointers, and Narducci knocked down one more trey. The JV squad came in to contribute 9: Phil McFillin drained a 3, as did Mike Douglas. He also made one from the foul line. And Joe Tedeschi also got a ball in the net from the field.

When the buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had hit sweet 16 in their winning streak, defeating a team that is not usually so easy to beat at home by a score of 61–26. Rohlfing finished with 12, Narducci had 11, and Ryan added 10.

Quarter Scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield, 14, Paulsboro, 4

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield, 29, Paulsboro, 11

3rd Quarter: 40, Haddonfield, Paulsboro, 13,

4th Quarter: Haddonfield, 61, Paulsboro, 26

Player Scores:

Nate Rohlfing: 12

Sam Narducci: 11

Patrick Ryan: 10

Teddy Bond: 8

Zach Langan: 6

Mike Douglas: 4

Phil McFillin: 3

Matt Morris: 2

Joe Tedeschi: 2

Game 2: Sterling at Haddonfield, 2/9/23

In 1973, Haddonfield, under the leadership of Dave Wiedeman, our current coach’s dad, won the school’s first state title on St. Patrick’s Day. They did not win the Colonial, however, as they lost two times, both to Sterling. (And by the way, happy 50th anniversary to Dave and his team, which included Kevin Eastman, Tom Betley, Kirby Wood, Tom Hare, and Hank Whitten.) By the mid-70s, the team to beat in the conference was Haddon Heights. I remember one time on a snowy night when Haddonfield, known at the time as the Haddons or the Bulldogs, hosted Heights in game that was stressful from the first whistle to the last buzzer. If memory serves me correctly, Haddonfield eked out a 1-point victory.

Fast-forward to the early 2000s, and the Panthers of Collingswood had become the main conference nemesis of the (now) Dawgs. In one contest at Collingswood in 2007, the Panthers were up by 5 and literally seconds away from a victory when Greg Steinberger hit a 3 and after an out-of-bounds off Collingswood with maybe 1:5 on the clock, Spencer Reed tied it off the inbounds, pushing the game into OT. Haddonfield won that easily.  

And now, in the 2020s, it seems like Sterling and Haddonfield are once again the big rivals in the conference. The Silver Knights’ 8-point win in January at home versus Haddonfield meant they had won four out of the last five games against the Dawgs going back to the abbreviated 2020 season. However, coming into Thursday’s contest, Sterling had one more loss than the Dawgs in the Liberty (having been defeated by Haddon Heights and Paulsboro). So if the Dawgs could pull off a W, they would claim the Liberty outright, not have it end in a tie with the Silver Knights.

Thanks to a strong first 8 minutes of play, the Dawgs were able to secure that win and the title. Daire Roddy started things off with a 3 on a pass from Zach Langan. Although Sterling failed to score, the Knights speared the ball away and got a bucket to make it 3­­–2, Haddonfield, with 6:41 on the clock. The Dawgs shook that mistake off and went on a 7–0 run with a pair of 2-point baskets by Patrick Ryan on feeds from Langan and then a 3 from Bond off an assist from Roddy, which made it 10–2, Dawgs.

The Silver Knights ended their mini drought on a field goal, but Ryan and Bond followed with another 2 and 3, respectively. With 1:15 left in the quarter, the Dawgs were now up by double digits, 15–4. Sterling did get a 3-pointer, but Ryan got his third field goal of the quarter, and when the buzzer sounded, the Dawgs on top by 10, 17–7.

Ryan kept the Dawgs in front in the second. His series of baskets and foul shots looked like code in my scorebook: 2 1 2 1 2. At one ahem, point, he was outscoring Sterling all on his own. He was aided and abetted by a 3 from Sam Narducci, 2-pointers from Bond and Langan, and a foul shot by Nate Rohlfing. Although the Silver Knights upped their points in the second quarter, the Dawgs still bested them by 5, and at the half, the Dawgs’ chances of the Liberty title were looking quite promising, as they were ahead by 15, 33–18.

In the third quarter, Sterling put 1 more point on the board than Haddonfield, with 13. The Dawgs only had four field goals, 2 by Narducci and 1 each by Ryan and Bond. The other 4 points came from the foul line. Matt Morris was fouled attempting a 3, so he was awarded 3 shots from the line and coolly sank all of them. Ryan also added 1 from the line. Sterling’s 1-point quarter edge didn’t make much of a dent in the Dawgs’ lead, and going into the final period, Sterling was still trailing Haddonfield by 14, 31–45.

In the fourth, 8 of Haddonfield’s 12 points came off of foul shots. Narducci and Bond each made 4. I thought this was a good sign overall, as one of my few criticisms of the Dawgs has been there inconsistency at the foul line. Bond also had a field goal, as did Joe Tedeschi in off the bench. So without causing their fans (or coaches) much angst at all, the Dawgs evened the season series with Sterling at 1 all but, most importantly, won the Colonial Liberty with their 57–40 victory. Patrick Ryan, with his 7 buckets from the field, was high scorer for Haddonfield with 17. Bond was close behind with 16, and Narducci had 13.

I contacted Haddonfield Coach Paul Wiedeman the next day for some comments about the team. I specifically asked about the tough D they have been playing all year, and if the streak had helped them with their confidence. This is what he had to say.

First, he noted that they have had the same mentality all year: “Play fast and unselfish on the offensive while pressuring the ball on the defensive side with our zone defense.” He did acknowledge that while the streak is not something they have focused on, it has helped them to know if they “play hard and unselfishly, good things occur.”

He added that the emphasis has been on instilling good habits in practice that the players can then execute during games. His response to how much the team has worked on defense was interesting: “Because of the new basketball calendar, and playing so many games in a week, we have not had as much time to practice and work on our defense. We just instinctively know how to pressure the ball and cause teams to rush their shots or turn the ball over.”

Quarter Scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield, 17, Sterling, 7

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield, 33, Sterling, 18

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield, 45, Sterling, 31

4th Quarter: Haddonfield, 57, Sterling, 40

Player Scores:

Patrick Ryan: 17

Teddy Bond: 16

Sam Narducci: 13

Matt Morris: 3

Zach Langan: 2

Joe Tedeschi: 2

Nate Rohlfing: 1

Game 3: Haddonfield versus Camden Eastside at Sterling—Quarterfinals of the Camden County Tournament

I admit that I was more than a little apprehensive coming into Saturday’s quarterfinal game against the Tigers of Eastside. I had done a bit of checking and found out that although Eastside was seeded third to Haddonfield’s sixth slot (with the seedings determined earlier in the season before Haddonfield had gone on its tear), going into the match, the Dawgs had the better overall record, 23–3, to Eastside’s 14–4. The Dawgs also had a better conference record, 14–1, to Eastside’s record of 7–4 in the Olympic conference. Those extra wins did not convince me that the Dawgs were going to roll over the Tigers in the same way as they had done to so many other opponents this season.

The first half of the game was competitive, and the Dawgs led for a good part of it. Although the Tigers jumped out to a 5–0 and then a 3–8 lead (with the 3 for Haddonfield coming off a trey by Sam Narducci), the Dawgs fought to tie it at 8 a the 3:22 mark thanks to another 3 from Narducci and 2 in the paint by Patrick Ryan. After a pickoff that was a team effort but ultimately credited to Narducci, Ryan scored again to put the Dawgs up by 2, 10–8, with 2:02 on the clock. The Tigers tied it off an offensive board, but Teddy Bond’s 3 with about 38 seconds to go put the Dawgs back in front 13–10. After the Tigers answered with a 2, Narducci drove into the lane just ahead of the buzzer for 2, giving the Dawgs a 3-point, 15–12, edge going into the second quarter.

At the outset, Eastside brought the match even again with a foul shot and then a basket. At the foul line again with a chance to make a 3-point play, the Tigers did not convert, and Bond grabbed the rebound. He set up another 3 from Narducci, and after the teams exchanged turnovers, Bond picked off the ball again and Nate Rohlfing scored, making it 20–15, Haddonfield, with 5:35 to go in the half. That would be the Dawgs’ last field goal of the half. Rohlfing did add 1 from the line, and Eastside got another 2. The Dawgs lost the ball out of bounds with 13.1 on the clock and instead of the Dawgs having a chance to add to their lead, the Tigers had a chance to get closer. Narducci’s steal kept that from happening, and as the teams left the court at halftime, the Dawgs were up 21–17, and I was feeling a bit more optimistic than I had before the game tipped off.

The way the second half began did not bode well for the Dawgs, who had possession. The Tigers, who gave the Dawgs a taste of their own medicine the whole game with a lot of pressure defense, caused the Dawgs to lose the ball out of bounds off a bad pass. They scored to make it a 21–19 game. A few plays later, Eastside stole the ball and scored again, tying it at 21 with 6:06 on the clock.

Narducci broke the tie with a 3, enabling the Dawgs to go back up 24–21. Foul shots by Eastside cut that cushion to 1, before a basket by Zach Langan pushed the lead back up to 3, 25–21, with 1:59 to go. The Tigers finished out the quarter on an 8–0 run with a pair of 3’s and 2 shots from the line. Going into the final 8 minutes, were up by 5, 31–26, and most concerning, they had held the Dawgs to just 5 points.

The Dawgs did a little better offensively in the fourth, putting 9 on the board, but Eastside began to pull away. Haddonfield just could not hold onto the ball, losing it on bad passes or due to sloppy ball handling. This seemed to be largely due to fatigue that was overtaking the Dawgs, who were not used to playing with a team that liked to push the ball offensively and press defensively. They bested the Dawgs by 16 in the quarter, with 2 coming off impressive (said grudgingly) slams. When the horn sounded, the Dawgs’ 17-game win streak had been snuffed out at the claws of the Tigers, who won by a 12-point, 47–35, margin. Narducci was the only Dawg in double figures, finishing with 19, and kept the Tigers from winning by a larger margin.

Quarter Scores;

1st Quarter: Haddonfield, 15, Eastside, 12

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield, 21, Eastside, 17

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield, 26, Eastside, 31

4th Quarter: Haddonfield, 35, Eastside, 47

Player Scores:

Sam Narducci: 19

Teddy Bond: 5

Patrick Ryan: 4

Nate Rohlfing: 3

Daire Roddy: 2

Zach Langan: 2

The Week Ahead

Having been eliminated from the final two rounds of the Camden County Tournament, the Dawgs have some open slots to potentially fill between now and the start of the NJSIAA tournament on 2/28. (Bracket selections should be out by Tuesday, if not Monday.) It looks like Tuesday night (but double-check the Dawgs’ online schedule), the Dawgs are going to host Eastern Regional High School, as the Vikings also lost their quarterfinal match on Saturday. I suspect Coach Wiedeman will try to get a few more games onto the schedule so the Dawgs aren’t idle for too long. It’s looking hopeful that the Dawgs will get a high, if not the number 1, South Jersey Group 2 seed, which means they would be playing on their home court for at least the early rounds of the state tournament.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs get payback against an old nemesis

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

It was another four-game week for the Haddonfield boys basketball team. And you know what that meant: another four wins! The Dawgs beat three Conference opponents and a local team that’s been a fly in their ointment for a while to extend their winning streak to 15 and give them an overall record of 21–3 as they head into the final week of conference play.

Alas, I did not see the big game Saturday, 2/4, when the Dawgs went up against the Moorestown Quakers in the Holy Cross Academy Showcase. (I was attending my grand-nieces’ first birthday party, which was a pretty big deal too.) But I will share some details gleaned from an article by Kevin Minnick for and some comments from those who were able to attend. But first, here’s a look at how this past week unfolded …

Game 1: Haddonfield at Haddon Township, 1/31/23

In the second meeting of these two Liberty division contenders, the Hawks tied the game on two foul shots at the 4:20 mark after Teddy Bond had gotten two from the line for the Dawgs a few plays earlier. After a jumper by Daire Roddy made it 4–2, Haddonfield, Haddon Township answered with a field goal of its own to again bring the match even at 4 with 3:15 left in the quarter. That would be the last tie of the game. Patrick Ryan’s determination gave him three chances to score, and the third time was the charm, putting the Dawgs up 6–4 with 2:49 on the clock. Sam Narducci hit two straight 3’s to push the Dawgs’ lead up to 12–4 with 1:11 to go. The Hawks broke their mini drought with a basket ahead of the buzzer, making it 12–6 in favor of the visitors going into the second quarter.

Foul shots by Nate Rohlfing (2) and Roddy (1) and another field goal by Ryan upped the Dawgs’ lead to 16­–6 in the first 90 seconds of the next 8 minutes of play. The Hawks got a bucket before Narducci hit another trey and Rohlfing got 2 at one time on a nice feed from Bond, and with about 4 minutes left in the quarter, Haddonfield was up by 16, 24­–8. The Hawks got back-to-back baskets, a 3 and a 2, but the Dawgs were still up by double digits, 24-13 with 2:50 until the half. A pretty overhand drive by Matt Morris was followed by another 3 by Haddon Township, and with the score Haddonfield 26, Haddon Township, 16, a timeout was called with 2:20 on the clock.

A bit of messy play followed on both sides. The Dawgs lost the ball on a bad pass. Under the Hawk basket, the Dawgs blocked two shots, sending the ball out of bounds both times. A pickoff by Roddy led to a foul called against Haddon Township that sent Narducci to the line. He hit 1–2. After the Hawks lost the ball out of bounds, Narducci went into the paint for 2 off a pass from Bond. The Hawks, who had some nice looks from behind the arc, hit a 3 for the final basket of the half. Heading into the locker room, the Dawgs were ahead by 10, 29–19.

The Dawgs’ offense really kicked in during the third quarter. While the defense held the Hawks to 8 points, the Dawgs put 25 on the board. Ryan, Narducci, Roddy, and Rohlfing had two buckets each, with Narducci’s coming off a foul shot and a 3. Morris hit a 3 as well, and Zack Langan put up 6 points on a pair of field goals and a pair of foul shots. When the period ended, the Dawgs were up by 27, 54–27.

Even with the starters and regular subs out for a good part of the fourth quarter, the Dawgs still added 20 points to their score and held the Hawks to 7 points. Bond hit 2 treys, sophomore Lear Fuller made a bucket and a foul shot, and freshman Chris Beane (I believe in past articles I misidentified his year) added 5 with two field goals and a foul shot. Joe Tedeschi sank a pair of foul shots, and Morris and Rohlfing each had one more field goal. When the horn sounded, the Dawgs had beat up the Hawks by 40, 74–34. Narducci led the Dawgs with 14, and Ryan and Rohlfing both had 10.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 12, Haddon Township, 6

2nd: Haddonfield, 29, Haddon Township, 19

3rd: Haddonfield, 54, Haddon Township, 27

4th: Haddonfield, 74, Haddon Township, 34

Player Scores:

Sam Narducci: 14

Patrick Ryan: 10

Nate Rohlfing: 10

Daire Roddy: 9

Teddy Bond: 8

Matt Morris: 7

Zack Langan: 6

Chris Beane: 5

Lear Fuller: 3

Joe Tedeschi: 2

Game 2: West Deptford at Haddonfield, 2/2/23

This was Senior Night. Several of the “cheer squad” (formerly known as the cheerleaders) members are seniors and were recognized with their parents or guardians, but only one current Dawg will be moving on come June: Teddy Bond. Especially after his 10-trey performance the week before, I thought Teddy was deserving of some extra ink, so make sure you find the sidebar, “Ties That Bond” for the responses he gave me about what it’s been like being the sole senior on the team this year and what has made the Dawgs so tough against the competition.

Appropriately, Bond knocked down three 3’s in the first 8 minutes of the game. Narducci added a trey and a 2, Ryan had a trio of 2’s and Langan had a bucket as well. This was why the Dawgs were up by 8, 22–14, after 1. In the second quarter, the Dawgs put up another 22 on the board, but their defense held the Eagles to 7 points. The first 2 came off their initial possession of the game, which cut the Dawgs’ lead to 6, 22-16. However, the Dawgs then went on a 15–0 run that went like this:

Morris hit a 3. West Deptford didn’t score. Narducci hit a 3. West Deptford, deterred by nice “D” by Rohlfing, did not score. Ryan drove into the paint and scored off a feed by Roddy. Before West Deptford had a chance to not score again, Narducci picked off the ball, and after some solid Dawg passing, he hit a jumper. Narducci got the defensive board after West Deptford did not score, the Eagles were charged with their second foul of the half, and Rohlfing had a pretty drop-in.  He then blocked a shot at the other end, which is why West Deptford did not score on that possession. And as he did to start the run, Morris hit a 3. At the 3:36 mark, the Dawgs were up by 21, 37–16.

The Eagles finally did score on an offensive rebound off another Rohlfing blocked shot, and after Haddonfield finally did not score, the Eagles did again. With 2:31 remaining in the half, however, the Dawgs were still in command, 38–20. A few plays later, a real scramble on the floor ensued that ended with Morris on the bottom of the heap with the ball. Bond was on the other end of the line to inbound the ball. He made a cross-court pass to Rohlfing, who made an uncontested basket, making it 40–20 with about 2 minutes left. Rohlfing would score the last 2 baskets of the half, with a 1–2 from the foul line by the Eagles sandwiched in between. When the teams walked off the court, the Dawgs were up by more than twice the Eagles’ score, 44–21.

In the third quarter, the Eagles outscored the Dawgs by 2, 14–12, but even so, going into the final 8 minutes of play, the Dawgs were still on top by 21, 56–35. That 2-point differential flipped back to the Dawgs in quarter 4, as they scored 13 points to the Eagles’ 11. When it was all said and done, the Dawgs had won their 13th straight game (which is not so coincidentally Teddy Bond’s number) by 25, 69–44. Ryan and Rohlfing (doesn’t that sound like a great name for a law firm?) each had 13. Number 13 himself, however, finished with 14.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 22, West Deptford, 14

2nd: Haddonfield, 44, West Deptford, 21

3rd: Haddonfield, 56, West Deptford, 35

4th: Haddonfield, 69, West Deptford, 44

Player Scores:

Teddy Bond: 14

Patrick Ryan: 13

Nate Rohlfing: 13

Sam Narducci: 11

Matt Morris: 8

Zach Langan: 6

Joe Tedeschi: 2

Phil McFillin: 2


Ties That Bond

My first recollections of Teddy Bond are from seeing him at games with his parents Rich and Susie watching his oldest brother Richie (2016) play for the Dawgs. One of Richie’s biggest games was against Haddon Heights his senior year. The Garnets had been ahead the whole game, which was at Haddonfield, but Richie hit a basket with 6 seconds left to put the Dawgs on top by 1, 71–70, and secured a come-from-behind victory. Brother Will, who graduated 2 years later in 2018, was on the first of the Dawgs’ 2018 and 2019 back-to-back state championship teams. Will broke his wrist early in the season, but came back to contribute important minutes in the Dawgs’ run to the Group 2 state title.

So when I asked Teddy if seeing his brothers on the court contributed to him having his own basketball career for the Dawgs, I wasn’t surprised by his response. “Growing up watching Richie and Will definitely influenced me to play basketball. Going to all their games growing up and watching how much fun they had always seemed like a good deal to me. I knew Coach Wiedeman and the system coming into it so it was perfect.”

I also wanted to know what it’s been like for Teddy being the only senior on a team that is made up primarily of juniors (11) along with a sophomore and two freshmen. He told me, “It’s definitely been weird being the only senior, but it works out though.” Because the juniors had been playing so long together, he knew it wasn’t going to be an issue coming into the season.

I’ve been noticing a lot lately that when the team comes back out onto the court after a timeout, especially when it’s later in the game, Teddy is talking to his teammates. I asked if that has been self-directed or if the coaches have been encouraging him. It sounds like it’s been a little bit of both: “After timeouts, I usually try to get the guys together to talk about what I see or how we can attack the other team better. I try to make sure they all have level heads and are calm coming back onto the court because I know for a lot of them, it’s their first year playing on the varsity level. It’s a small thing I try to do to keep everyone together.” He added that coaches Paul Wiedeman and Anthony Parenti are always pushing him to be the best leader he can be. “I credit the small things like that to them.”

Next, I was curious as to what he thinks helped turn the team around after the two losses early in January to Sterling and Hammonton. He said he’s not sure if there’s just one thing that’s contributing to the year the Dawgs are having. “Our team is just a brotherhood. No one plays for themselves; we all play for each other. From playing together in the summer to now, our bonds have really grown, and now we are just having fun with it. It’s a true family with our team and we all trust one another to have our backs in war. I have never been a part of something like this before and it’s truly special.”

Speaking of fun, how fun is it, I wanted to know, playing pressure defense, especially going up against teams like Mainland, who clearly didn’t know what hit them? Teddy confirmed that they are having really good time defensively. “We are running around creating havoc for the other team and winning games because of it. Our tight-knit defense is credited toward Coach [Brian] Stafford and it’s awesome. It took a little bit to get used to early in the season, but once we figured it out, everything has just come easy.” I found out that Teddy and Daire Roddy have come up with a catchy name for their defense: “Havoc at Haddonfield.” This, he explains, is because the players know the other team won’t know what to run against them. “We take away the three balls, the drive, the post up, really everything.”

Of course I wanted to find out what was going through Teddy’s mind during the Camden Tech game, which was the first game in the Camden County Tournament, when he was on fire with the 3’s and tied Andrew Gostovich for 10 in one game. “Monday’s game [1/23] was for sure one I will remember forever.” He admits that he was nervous toward the end when he started to get close, but credits his teammates with helping him to tie it. “It was a surreal feeling being able to do something special with that group of guys. If it wasn’t for my teammates, coaches, parents, and everyone involved, I don’t think I would have been able to do it. It’s not my record, it’s our record.”

Whenever it happens (and let’s hope for later rather than sooner) and Teddy walks off the court for the last time as a Dawg, it will be an end of a Bond era at Haddonfield. I know I’m speaking for all Dawgs fans when I wish Teddy the best as he goes onto the University of Mississippi (aka Ole Miss) to study economics. Maybe during his winter breaks, he’ll come back and sit in the stands again to cheer on the Dawgs like he did when he was little. (Sniff.)


Game 3: Haddonfield vs. Moorestown at Holy Cross Academy Prep Showcase, 2/4/23

This is the game I missed due to my little nieces’ first birthday party. I did not know that going into the game on Saturday, the Quakers were ranked 20th in the state, with a record of 15–4. That doesn’t sound that impressive, but according to my astute travel buddy, this was based more on the toughness of their schedule than the number of wins versus losses. I also had forgotten (blocked out, more than likely) the tough Tournament of Champions game in 2019 that Haddonfield lost by 1 point, 59–60, to the Quakers, as well as another close but no-win game against Moorestown in a previous Holy Cross Prep Showcase …

My travel buddy kept me posted during the game. The first few texts did not sound too encouraging. “12–7 them  [end of] 1st.” Then, “Whoops. 20-12 them start of 3rd.” However, the next communique was much more promising: “25–22 us [end of] 3rd.” It was nerve-wracking waiting for news, so I finally texted, “Update?” “35–31 us 12 seconds [to go] our ball” came the reply. And then came the best text: “37–31 we win.” “Whoop!” I responded.

It wasn’t until another friend texted and told me this was a “huge win,” especially because of Moorestown’s ranking, that I realized the Dawgs really had pulled off an upset and had not just had an impressive, come-from-behind victory.

I was hoping this game would be available as a stream on (or off) YouTube but that wasn’t the case. While as a non-subscriber I couldn’t access it the day of the game, I was able to read the full article by’s Kevin Minnick the next day, titled “Haddonfield Turns Up the Heat, Upends No. 20 Moorestown in Holy Cross Prep Showcase.”

One of his first sentences captures what I think a lot of Dawg fans have been saying the last several weeks: “Allowing just 36 points per game, it’s the defensive intensity that has fueled the offense and allowed Haddonfield to enjoy significant success this winter.” That’s how, in the second half, the Dawgs were able to turn an 8-point deficit at the start of the third into a 3-point edge at the end of it. My travel buddy told me at Sunday’s game how the Dawgs just came out in the second half and kicked up the defense, which is how they held the Quakers to 2 third quarter points. I found out from Minnick’s article that the Dawgs not only shut down the Quakers offensively, it enabled them to go on a 10–0 run to start the quarter, thanks in part to two straight 3’s by Teddy Bond and Zach Langan

The fourth quarter must have been intense, as Moorestown tried to mount a comeback but came up short. The Dawgs outscored them by 3, giving them a 6-point, 37–31, victory. Minnick noted that only Patrick Ryan reached double digits for either team, with 10 for Haddonfield. But all those other points sure mattered. And it meant Haddonfield was now riding a 14-game winning streak.

Game 4: Gloucester City at Haddonfield, Camden County Tournament, Round 2, 2/5/23

The game against Moorestown was over a little after 5 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday at 10 a.m., the boys were back on their (home) court, going up against a Colonial Patriot opponent, the Gloucester City Lions, whom the Dawgs had beaten on 1/11, also at home, rather handily, 62–36. Two key questions would be addressed in this game: Would the Dawgs be still savoring their upset of the Quakers? And would they have the stamina to play another game 15 hours after the previous one ended?

The first question was answered pretty quickly. The boys did not seem to be focused on anything but the game at hand, which was good to see. As for fatigue, that the game started on a steal and a 2-point basket by the Lions was an indication that it was going to be a factor. Just how much of one remained to be seen.

Patrick Ryan tied the game at 2 on a pair of foul shots, and after pulling down an offensive board a possession later, he set up a basket by Daire Roddy, which put the Dawgs up 4–2 with 6:08 on the clock. After a combined steal by Sam Narducci and Roddy, Teddy Bond got his own offensive rebound and scored, making it 6–2, Haddonfield about 25 seconds later.

The Lions got a point back from the foul line, and after the Dawgs turned over the ball on a 3-second call, the Lions shot off an air ball. The Dawgs missed their next shot and did not make a good effort for an offensive rebound. At the other end, Gloucester City did get a second-chance shot, which dropped, bringing them to within 1, 6–5, with 3:45 left in the quarter.

The Dawgs missed both shots from the foul line, but the Lions lost the ball out of bounds. Zach Langan, who has been quietly hitting big shots when the Dawgs need one, nailed a 3, and at the other end, Bond clamped down on the rebound. Narducci missed a shot but fought hard to get the board and was rewarded with a basket. That put the Dawgs up by 6, 11–5, at the 2:30 mark and Gloucester City called a timeout.

They followed their timeout with a basket, but Ryan answered with one under the Dawg basket, keeping it a 6-point, 13–7, Haddonfield advantage with 1:53 left. The Dawgs missed two shots, Langan stole the ball, but the Dawgs missed another shot, which was a sign of “tired legs syndrome.” The Lions were going for the last shot of the quarter, but Langan stole the ball again, but without time for anything but a heave toward the other end of the court, so the quarter ended with the Dawgs still up 13–7.

The second quarter started with Gloucester City inbounding and failing to score. Nate Rohlfing, just in the game, got his first basket off an offensive rebound and pass from Roddy, making it 15–7, Dawgs with about 30 seconds gone in the quarter. Bond got a blocked shot, Matt Morris, also making his first appearance in the game, pulled down a board, but the Dawgs were called for an offensive foul. Bond got a rebound and Morris, in traffic under the basket, hesitated before going up and in, throwing off his defenders and resulting in 2 points for Haddonfield. This gave the Dawgs their first double-digit lead, 17–7. With 5:56 on the clock, Gloucester City took a timeout. Again the timeout did not lead to a basket. Morris got another board, and Langan was fouled driving to the basket. He stepped to the line and with his high-arching shots, found nothing but net, making it 19–7, Dawgs.

The Lions’ first basket of the second was a 3, but it was quickly followed by a Roddy-to-Rohlfing play that gave Rohlfing his second field goal of the quarter. Roddy then got a steal and Bond made a nifty bounce pass to Langan, who got 2 this time from the floor. With 3:47 remaining in the half, the Dawgs might have been a bit tired, but were still ahead by 13, 23–10. The Lions got another basket, and then so did Rohlfing, keeping a 13-point game, 25–12, with 2:32 on the clock.

The Lions then started closing in a bit on the Dawgs. After a field goal, and a missed Haddonfield shot, a foul sent the Lions to the line, where both shots were good. The Dawgs missed another shot while the Lions made another one. With 1:16 left in the game, the Lions were back to within 6, 25–19. Neither team scored their next possession. Bond secured the defensive board for Haddonfield and got an assist on the 2-pointer from Morris with about 29 seconds left in the half. The Lions were waiting for a final shot, but it did not go in so when the buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had an 8-point, 27–19 halftime edge.

I don’t think anyone in the stands (and there weren’t as many, understandably, on a Sunday morning than there usually are for an evening game) was too worried, even though it was fairly clear that the boys weren’t playing at full tilt this game. But when the third quarter started and the Lions were keeping pace with the Dawgs, it didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that the Dawgs might be in for another fight.

With 6:49 on the clock and the Dawgs still unable to get beyond a 6-point lead, up 29–23, Langan hit another one of his 3’s. Gloucester City said, “Hey, nice shot. Look at our 3,” and it remained a 6-point, 32–26, game. The next trip down the court, Langan handed the ball off to Bond, who hit a 3, pushing the Dawgs’ lead to 9, 35–26, with 5:30 to go in the third. Neither team scored for a few possessions, then the Lions got a field goal with 4:04 on the clock, cutting the Dawg lead back to 7, 35–28. Narducci stole the ball, but his shot did not drop. Bond recovered the ball and put it up and in, giving the Dawgs a 9-point advantage again. That didn’t last long, as the Lions hit a 3, and the lead slipped back down to 6, 37–31, with 3 and change left in the quarter.

The Dawgs, in the person of Ryan, got the next 6 points of the game. The first came off a feed from Roddy in which Ryan made a nice pivot to put the ball in the net. The next 2 points came off foul shots, and put the Dawgs up by 10, 41–31, with 2:01 to go. After Langan was called for a foul on what looked like an all-ball move, there were several boos from the crowd (we might have been small, but we were loud). The Lions called a timeout and after inbounding, the teams played hot potato with the ball. Haddonfield wound up with it, and Ryan scored once more on a pass from Roddy, making it a 12-point, 43–31, Dawg advantage.

The Lions lost the ball out of bounds, and Langan forced a foul going in for a basket. He made 1–2 from the line. Bond got the offensive board, Gloucester picked it off, but Bond blocked the shot at the other end of the court, and it went out of bounds off the Lions with about 26 seconds left. Langan set Ryan up this time, and he was fouled while in the act of scoring. His foul shot swoosh in, and with 4.8 seconds on the clock, the Dawgs had shaken off their tired legs syndrome and were up by 16, 47–31.

After putting 20 points on the board in the third and holding Gloucester City to 12, the Dawgs got 19 more points in the last 8 minutes, holding the Lions again to a dozen. Out of those 19, Rohlfing got 9, and Jack Walters and Mike Feinstein each hit a 3. Morris got one more field goal and Narducci made 2 from the foul line. The final score was Haddonfield 66, Gloucester City 43. That the Dawgs were able to pull away in the second half and win by 23 was a statement in and of itself about the determination of its players, even when they are not playing at 100% strength.

Ryan and Rohlfing each scored 15 points. Langan followed with 11. This win advances the Dawgs to the next round of the Camden County tournament, which is scheduled to be played at Sterling on Saturday, 2/11, at 4 p.m. As of Sunday night, the Dawgs’ online schedule was not indicating who the Dawgs will be going up against.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 13, Gloucester City, 7

2nd: Haddonfield, 27, Gloucester City, 19

3rd: Haddonfield, 47, Gloucester City, 31

4th: Haddonfield, 66, Gloucester City, 43

Player Scores:

Patrick Ryan: 15

Nate Rohlfing: 15

Zach Langan: 11

Teddy Bond: 7

Matt Morris: 6

Sam Narducci: 4

Jack Walters: 3

Mike Feinstein: 3

The Dawgs go into the final week of the regular season 21–3 overall and 12–1 in Colonial Conference play; within the Liberty division, they are 6–1 and tied with Sterling, who suffered a 46–55 defeat at the hands of Haddon Heights (yay Garnets!) on 1/31. Haddonfield plays away (game time 7 p.m.) on Tuesday versus the Red Raiders of Paulsboro, who are in the Patriot division. On Thursday, Sterling, who gave Haddonfield its only Liberty loss, comes to town. If Sterling can handle Haddon Township on Tuesday, this second meeting Thursday between the Dawgs and the Silver Knights will determine who wins the Liberty crown. So, Dawgs fans, come to the gym on Thursday (game time 7 p.m., but come early!), wear red and black, and cheer hard. I know our Dawgs will play hard!