Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Author: haddonfieldtoday

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!

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs keep collaring the opposition  

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today                      

Right before the Dawgs race onto the court from the locker room at home games, announcer Mark Hershberger, who also does double-duty as the in-house DJ, starts blaring the Grammy-winning hit from 2000 by the Baha Men, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” After another week of four games, four wins, I suspect the teams the Dawgs are (mostly) walloping are hearing that song in their nightmares.

Game 1: Camden County Technical High School–Sicklerville at Haddonfield, 1/23/23

The first game this past week I didn’t even know about until the day of, Monday, 1/23, as it wasn’t on the original schedule. Luckily, it was at home at 7. As I found out, it was part of the newly established Camden County Tournament that will take place over different days and include various teams from our county. In its inaugural game, Haddonfield hosted Camden County Technical High School–Sicklerville. After the first 2:30 minutes, the Dawgs were already taking it to the Warriors: After senior Teddy Bond’s second straight 3, the Dawgs were up 10–0. After 8 minutes, the Dawgs were chewing up the Warriors and spitting them out, up by 25, with Bond’s four 3’s leading the way. Junior Sam Narducci’s 10 quarter points also included a 3. Junior Zach Langan added 6, and juniors Patrick Ryan and Daire Roddy each had a bucket.

The story of the night, aside from Haddonfield’s annihilation of Camden Tech, was Bond. At the end of the half, with the Dawgs up by 42, Bond had already hit six 3’s. I wondered … Could he break Andrew Gostovich’s 3-point record that had been set, believe it or not, this very date 3 years ago versus Gateway? Bond would need four treys to tie “Gos” and five to become the single-game 3-point leader. (During the contest, I mistakenly thought he needed three to tie, four to go ahead of Gostovich.) I also suspected that Coach Paul Wiedeman, with the Dawgs already so far ahead of the Warriors, would not let his starters play too much of the second half, record or not.

Bond got 3 number seven less than a minute into quarter three. Number eight came with 6:28 on the clock after a pickoff by Langan and a 2 by Narducci and put the Dawgs up by 48, 66–18. A basket by Langan actually made it a 50-point lead, 68–18, with just under 5 to play in the quarter. Although his teammates were giving Bond every chance to hit number 9, he didn’t sink it until the 1:37 mark, which put the Dawgs up by 54, 76–22. It didn’t look like he was going to get a chance for number 10, but with 3.8 left on the clock, Camden Tech turned over the ball on a foul call, and Bond made them pay, sealing the deal just ahead of the buzzer. I was jumping up and down under the assumption that he’d set the record, but a text exchange from Hershberger indicated Bond and Gostovich were now tied with 10. (Checking my scorebook from the 2019–20 season once I was home that night, proved that indeed Teddy had equaled, not surpassed, Andrew.)

With the Dawgs up by 61 (!!!) at the end of three, Bond and the remaining starters, returned to the bench for the final time, done for the night. None of them had seen continuous action during those 24 minutes, either. While I’m sure he wished he’d could have gone after sole possession of the 3-point record, Bond was still psyched to have connected for 10 treys (and in less than 3 quarters) and came off the court with his fists pumped, looking quite excited.

Even with the starters and first-ins-off-the-bench players—juniors Matt Morris and Nate Rohlfing—watching from the sidelines, the junior varsity Dawgs still outscored the Warriors by 7, 13–6. When the buzzer sounded to end the game, Haddonfield had thoroughly conquered the Warriors, beating them by 68 points, 96–28. Not surprisingly with his 10 treys, Bond led all scorers with 30 points (which meant he scored more than the entire Camden Tech team). Narducci added 17, and Langan finished with 14. Eleven Dawgs contributed to the season-high 96 points.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 32, Camden County Tech, 7

2nd: Haddonfield, 58, Camden County Tech, 16

3rd: Haddonfield, 83, Camden County Tech, 22

4th: Haddonfield, 96, Camden County Tech, 28

Player Scores:

Teddy Bond: 30

Sam Narducci: 17

Zach Langan: 14

Nate Rohlfing: 9

Matt Morris: 8

Joe Tedeschi: 5

Mike Douglas: 4

Phil McFillin: 3

Patrick Ryan: 2

Daire Roddy: 2

Jack Walters: 2

Game 2: Audubon at Haddonfield, 1/24/23

This wasn’t quite the blowout of the previous night, but the Dawgs still made the Green Wave look a bit seasick at both ends of the court. Haddonfield started the game on a 12–0 run on 3’s from Narducci and Bond, a field goal from Ryan, who also hit 2 from the foul line, as did Bond. Going into the second 8 minutes, the Dawgs were up by 20, 24–4. Their scoring cooled a bit in the 2nd, and the Waves’ picked up, but even so, at the half, Haddonfield was cruising, 37–15.

In the third, Haddonfield got a trio of treys from Bond, four field goals from Narducci, and baskets from Ryan, Roddy, and Langan to add 23 to their total while holding Audubon’s offense to 7 points. In the 4th quarter, Chris Beane, Mike Douglas, and Lear Fuller came off the bench to combine for 8 of the Dawgs’ 18 points. When it was all over, the Dawgs had hung 78 points on the Wave, who could only muster 29—hey, at least it was 1 more point than Camden Tech put on the board. Narducci, with his nine buckets, three of which came from behind the arc, led the Dawgs with 21. Bond had 16, and Ryan had 14.  

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 24, Audubon, 4

2nd: Haddonfield, 37, Audubon, 15

3rd: Haddonfield, 60, Audubon, 22

4th: Haddonfield, 78, Audubon, 29

Player Scores;

Sam Narducci: 21

Teddy Bond: 16

Patrick Ryan: 14

Zach Langan: 8

Matt Morris: 6

Lear Fuller: 4

Daire Roddy: 3

Nate Rohlfing: 2

Chris Beane: 2

Mike Douglas: 2

Game 3: Haddon Heights at Haddonfield, 1/26/23

The game against the Garnets didn’t start off with a double-digit run by Haddonfield. While Haddon Heights won the tipoff, Roddy quickly stole the ball, passed it along to Narducci, who went up and in. After pulling down an offensive rebound, which gave them a second-chance shot, the Garnets were on the board, and with 1 minute gone, the game was even at 2 all. Langan got 2 and went to the foul line, but was not able to make it a 3-point play. Heights did not score and a 3 from Narducci made it 7–2, Dawgs, with 6:13 on the clock. However, the Garnets answered with a 3 and after picking off the ball, tied the game again, making it 7–7 with about 5:30 left in the first.

After putting 14 total points on the board in about 2:30, thanks to turnovers and missed shots, both from the field and the line, neither team was able to score again for a few possessions. Narducci’s 3 at the 2:35 mark broke the tie to put Haddonfield up by 3, 10–7. Two foul shots by Ryan pushed the lead up to 5 with 2 minutes to go, and then Bond was fouled from behind the arc. He got 3, this time from the line, to make it 15–7 with a minute and change left. The Garnets’ mini-drought ended with their 2nd 3 of the quarter, which finished with the Dawgs on top 15–10.

What looked like a competitive game in the first quarter started looking anything but in the second. Heights inbounded only to have Roddy pilfer the ball, passing it again to Narducci, who drove in for the basket. The Garnets held onto the ball and scored in their second possession, but Rohlfing, as is customary, started the second quarter and wasted no time getting a bucket. A Garnets turnover led to a 2 by Bond, and with not even 90 seconds gone in quarter 2, the Dawgs had increased their lead to 9, 21­–12. After a timeout by Heights, the Garnets lost the ball out of bounds, but the Dawgs failed to score. A Haddonfield foul sent Heights to the line. One of two shots dropped, making it 21–13 with 5:46 left in the half. Bond’s 3 gave the Dawgs their first double-digit lead, 24–13, and that was followed by a 3 from Roddy. What had been a 5-point advantage going into the 2nd had now opened up to a 14-point edge with about 4:30 remaining in the quarter.

The Dawgs defense would help Heights lose the ball out of bounds again. This time, Ryan hit a 2 on a feed from Roddy, who I like to think of as the floor admiral, as he is the play-maker and the main ball-handler for the Dawgs. Heights got its first field goal of the quarter with 2:45 on the clock, making it 29–15, Haddonfield, but Morris’ 3 from waay out there stretched the Dawgs’ lead to 17, 32–15, with 2:30 left in the half. Roddy and Ryan combined for 2, and Heights answered with a bucket. Heights didn’t seem to have any answers for Bond, who nailed another 3, with 1:03 on the clock, giving the Dawgs a 20-point, 37–17, lead. Heights got 2 back only to have Bond hit his third 3 of the quarter with 36 seconds left. A steal and a basket by Narducci finished the scoring for the half, and as the teams headed off the court, the Garnets were looking far from polished, trailing by 23, 42–19.

In the second half, the Dawgs only outscored the Garnets by 4, 20–16, but by that time, it didn’t matter too much. And it also should be noted that six junior varsity Dawgs saw some action. When the final horn sounded, the Dawgs had won their third game of the week by the score of 64–35. Although losing, Haddon Heights did succeed in doing something Haddonfield’s previous two opponents had not: getting out of the 20s and into the 30s points-wise. Bond and Narducci were the top scorers again, netting 17 and 14, respectively. Ryan knocked in 10.

More important than the results of the game or the players’ scores (really!) is that both the Dawgs and the Garnets were raising money for a pediatric cancer organization, Go 4 the Goal ( If you weren’t able to make a donation at the game, you can do it on the website, which notes, “All funds stay in the state where they are raised to support local children.”

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 15, Haddon Heights, 10

2nd: 42. Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, 19

3rd: Haddonfield, 59, Haddon Heights, 28

4th: Haddonfield, 64, Haddon Heights, 35

Player Scores:

Teddy Bond: 17

Sam Narducci: 14

Patrick Ryan: 10

Daire Roddy: 8

Matt Morris: 7

Zach Langan: 4

Nate Rohlfing: 2

Mike Feinstein: 2

Game 4: Haddonfield versus Burlington Township High School, 1/28/23, at Rancocas Valley Regional High School’s Jeff Coney Classic

This tournament has been going on for well close to 2 decades, and it honors the memory of the school’s former head basketball coach, who died in 2004. The school has more than one basketball court, so on this day, you can hear more than one set of buzzers going on as two games are often going on simultaneously. I had forgotten this and didn’t realize the Haddonfield­–Burlington Township game had started streaming until I noticed that Vic Wiedeman had sent me score updates for the first two quarters. I found the stream, started at the beginning, and told him thanks, but not to send any more info.

I had checked online to see what I could find out about Haddonfield’s opponent for this game. The Falcons are part of the Burlington Scholastic League and coming into the game, had an overall record of 5–9 and were 3–6 in their conference. Those stats belied the kind of game the Falcons played, especially in last 4 minutes of the last quarter.

The game started off with the Falcons getting the first point of the game from the foul line. However, the Dawgs got the next 8 points on baskets from Langan, Ryan, Narducci (off his own steal), and another from Ryan. A 3 from Burlington Township made it an 8–4 Dawg lead with 3:0l left in the quarter. After an offensive foul was called on the Dawgs, the Falcons hit another 3, and after Haddonfield failed to score, Burlington’s 2 put them in front 9–8 with 1:45 on the clock.

Haddonfield again came up empty under its basket, then picked up its third foul (non-shooting) of the game. What I thought from the stream was a basket for the Dawgs actually wasn’t (I had to rewind the feed a few times to understand why the points weren’t going up on the mini scoreboard). However, a steal by Morris set in motion a lovely back-and-forth between Morris and Ryan that ended with Morris driving into the lane with about 28 seconds left to put the Dawgs back on top 10–9, which is how the quarter ended.

Haddonfield inbounded the ball to start the second 8 minutes and almost immediately had a 2-shot opportunity from the foul line. I gritted my teeth when neither ball dropped, but after Burlington Township lost the ball out of bounds, Bond hit a 3 (he would finish out the week swooshing in 19 balls from beyond the 3-point arc!), putting the Dawgs up by 4, 13–9, with aobut a minute gone in the quarter. Neither team scored their next two possessions, then Rohlfing was fouled and went to the line. He made 1–2, nudging the Dawgs’ lead up to 5, 14–9, with 5:51 left in the half.

A tie-up on the floor over a loose ball (one of many in the game) gave possession back to Burlington Township and resulted in the Falcons hitting another 3 (there were several of them in the game as well) and cutting the Dawgs’ lead down to 2, 14–12, with 5:27 on the clock. Burlington make a field goal sandwiched in between two drives by Ryan (the second one was a nice banker off the board). He had a chance to add a point from the line after basket number 2, but the ball didn’t drop. Burlington Township followed with two missed foul shots, and with about 4 minutes remaining in the half, Haddonfield was still nursing a 4-point, 18–14, lead.

Narducci’s 3 pushed it up to a 7-point lead, which lasted 18 seconds before the Falcons responded with a trey of their own, and with 3:20 on the clock, it was still a 4-point, 21–17, lead for the Dawgs. After Langan pulled down a defensive board, Haddonfield kept missing shots but getting the rebounds until finally Rohlfing was fouled and went to the line. Both his shots went through the net, and with 2 and change left in the half, the Dawgs were now up by 6, 23-17. A travel gave the ball back to the Dawgs, but they couldn’t capitalize on it. A blocked shot by Rohlfing or Langan (between the fuzziness of the feed enlarged to full screen and the fact that the Dawgs were often faster than the person controlling the videocam, I had a few times that even when I rewound the feed, I couldn’t tell who did what) set up a drive in the paint by Rohlfing from Langan, giving the Dawgs’ their biggest lead, 8 points, 25-17, with 1:05 to go.

The teams then exchanged pickoffs. With 36.9 showing on the clock, the ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield. Aside from the Dawgs needing a bit of work on their foul shooting (IMHO), they also need to find a way to stop fouling with seconds left in a quarter. This time, the foul was committed on an attempted 3-pointer, which meant that Burlington Township had three chances at the line. All three went in, and with 31 seconds to set up a play and score, the Dawgs were up 25–20. The coaching directive was clearly to go for the last shot, but with 3.8 seconds remaining, the Dawgs lost the ball out of bounds. The Falcons sent a ball sailing from the other end that did not hit the target, and as the teams left the court for halftime, it was still a 5-point, 25–20, game.

The third quarter started off the way the second quarter had ended, with the teams trading shots and Haddonfield maintaining at least a 4-point edge. However, after Ryan’s basket made it 27–21 with 50 seconds gone, Burlington Township scored a 2-point field goal, and the Dawgs lapsed into some bad play, turning the ball over and then picking up a few fouls in quick succession. With 5:30 on the board, the Falcons knocked down another 3, and it was now a 1-point, 27–26, game. Were the Dawgs getting rattled? A 3 by Narducci seemed to calm the Dawgs down a bit, and after a timeout and a foul on Burlington, a 3 by Roddy indicated that the Dawgs were in rhythm again. They kept the Falcons from scoring, and a nice move under the basket by Rohlfing on the other end gave the Dawgs’ their largest lead of the game, at 9, putting them up 26–17, with 4:04 left in the third.

Burlington Township scored and had a chance for a 3-point play, but the foul shot did not go in, and with 3:55 on the clock, it was a 7-point, 35–28, advantage for Haddonfield. Once more, the Falcons did not score and then turned over the ball on an offensive foul call. A few plays later, the Dawgs were inbounding the ball under their own basket. Bonds flipped it to Langan, and it was back to a 9-point, 37–28, Haddonfield lead. A few more plays later, Haddonfield was called for a foul. I couldn’t tell what happened (and there was no one doing any kind of play-by-play—I surmise that with two games going on at the same time, that would have been pointless, no pun intended), but I heard a lot of boos. I think I recognized the people behind a few of them …

The game continued on, and after a near pickoff by Morris, the Dawgs got assessed another foul (no boos ensued this time). Burlington did not score, however, as Haddonfield did steal the ball and Morris went in the lane for 2. Now the Dawgs were up by double digits, 39–28, with 2:17 to go in the quarter. The Dawgs kept picking up fouls, but the Falcons were not having a stellar day at the line either and missed both chances from the line with 2:05 on the clock. After neither team scored, Langan went in for a reverse layup on a pass from Rohlfing, and with 1:15 to go in the quarter, the Dawgs were up by 13, 41–28.

Burlington’s drought ended with a 3, but Roddy’s 2 (it’s nice to see Roddy now choosing to shoot the ball once in a while instead of always dishing it off) kept the Dawgs ahead by double digits, 43–31. The Dawgs got 2 more after an out-of-bounds turnover by the Falcons, in a Roddy to Langan to Morris series of passes, and with 17 seconds on the clock, the Falcons were trailing by 14, 31–45. Then with 6.1 on the clock, the Falcons came up with another big 3 and were fouled. This time, the foul shot went in, and so when the quarter horn sounded, they were down by 10, 35–45.

The final period started off with the Falcons, who inbounded, and the Dawgs, exchanging baskets to keep it a 10-point game. That 10-point differential lasted for a few possessions. The Dawgs again missed foul shots, but got the ball back when it went off the Falcons out of bounds. Again, a flick by Bond, who was tossing the ball inbounds, this time to Ryan, resulted in an easy and quick 2, pushing the Dawgs’ lead up to 12, 49–17, with 5:32 left in the contest. Haddonfield was called for its 6th foul, sending the Falcons to the line with a 1+1 opportunity. (If the first foul shot is good, the player gets another shot.) The first shot went in, the second one didn’t, making it, 49–38, Dawgs, with 5:20 remaining.

After Burlington Township was called for a foul, Roddy sent in another 3, and with 4:21 on the clock, the Dawgs were back in front by 14, 52–38. As they had done a few other times, the Falcons answered a 3 with one of their own and were fouled in the process. The shot from the line was good, and with 4:16 on the board, they had cut the lead back to 10. After a Haddonfield turnover that resulted in a 2 for Burlington, that lead was down to 8, 52­­–44, with 3:30 left in the game. Ryan pulled down an offensive board and put the ball back up and in for 2, but Burlington Township got a bucket at its end of the court, keeping it an 8-point game, 54–46.

When the Falcons were assessed their 6th foul of the half, Ryan went to the line for a 1+1, making the first and missing the second. Now it was 55–46, Haddonfield. The Falcons lost the ball on a bad bass, but a loose ball call went in their favor and a Dawgs’ foul sent the Falcons back to the line for another 1+1. Again, the first shot dropped, the second didn’t, so with 2:08 on the clock, it was 55–47, Haddonfield.

Haddonfield called timeout and when play resumed, a bad pass gave the ball back to Burlington Township, which hit a 3. Suddenly (or so it seemed), it was now just a two-possession game, with the Dawgs up only by 5, 55–50, with 1:53 still left on the clock. After the Dawgs failed to score, the Falcons nailed another 3. With 1:36 to go, they had cut a one-time 14-point fourth quarter deficit down to 2, 53–55. Not surprisingly, Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman called another timeout.

I’m not sure what he told his players, but it didn’t amount to, “When you go back on the court, take too much time getting the ball over the half-court line so you turn it over.” However, that is exactly what happened. To make matters worse, Haddonfield committed a foul and now Burlington Township would have a chance to tie the game at the line. It didn’t happen.

With a 2-point lead and 1:20 on the clock, the Dawgs were in passing mode. With 40.5 on the clock, Roddy was fouled. He had a 1+1 and sank both, giving the Dawgs a 4-point, 57–53, cushion. With the clock down to 21.4, the Falcons lost the ball out of bounds. Five seconds later, Narducci headed to the line, still with the 1+1 in play. He dropped both in the net, and the Dawgs had gotten back to a 6-point, 59–53, edge. Those 4 foul shots by Roddy and Narducci clinched the W for Haddonfield. Amazingly, it was their 11th in a row. Ryan, Narducci, and Roddy led the offense, contributing 15, 10, and 10 points, respectively.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 10, Burlington Township, 9

2nd: Haddonfield, 25, Burlington Township, 20

3rd: Haddonfield, 45, Burlington Township, 35

4th: Haddonfield, 59, Burlington Township, 53

Player Scores:

Patrick Ryan: 15

Sam Narducci: 10

Daire Roddy: 10

Zach Langan: 8

Nate Rohlfing: 7

Matt Morris: 6

Teddy Bond: 3

The Dawgs are now 17–3 overall and 10–1 in the Colonial Conference. They pick up conference play with a 7 p.m. game at Haddon Township on Tuesday, 1/31, which will be followed by a 7 p.m. home game on Thursday, 2/2, versus West Deptford. This will be Senior Night, so come out and honor our sole senior Dawg, Teddy Bond, as well as our senior cheerleaders and student basketball managers. Saturday, 2/4, the Dawgs will head to Holy Cross Academy to take on Moorestown High School with the game scheduled to start at 3:45.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs keep finding ways to win

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

The Haddonfield boys basketball team seems to have shaken off the early January blahs that had them looking so-so at best the first week of the new year. Now, they’re looking like a new, invigorated team. Since their back-to-back losses to Colonial rival Sterling on 1/5 and Hammonton on 1/7, the Dawgs have won seven straight games, including two this past week to conference teams and one against a top-ranking Cape Atlantic school. One of the games was a slam dunk, but the other two matches required a huge amount of effort and coming from behind in the fourth quarters.

I’m going to go out of order to do a quick write-up of the 30-plus-point blowout, then look more closely at the games that went down to the wire, in one case, the final shots.

Haddonfield at Collingswood, 1/19/23

On Thursday, 1/19, Haddonfield traveled to nearby Collingswood, a team that usually gives the Dawgs a run for their money. No matter what their records are going into these matchups, you never want to miss them, and you never feel overconfident. Back in the Brian Zoubek era, I went to a home game only a few days after major surgery. (I took the elevator up to the top of the bleachers so I didn’t have to go up and down steps.) My sister the nurse was not too happy with me, but my rationale was waiting to hear the final score would do more emotional damage than actually being at the game. Games at Collingswood always seemed the most stress-inducing, and I still shudder thinking about a 2004 game when junior guard Vinnie Ciecka saw his season end with a broken ankle after a hard collision with a Panther player near the end of the game. This game, however, had little of the drama of those from years past.

By the end of the first quarter, led by junior Patrick Ryan’s trio of field goals, treys by juniors Matt Morris and Sam Narducci and senior Teddy Bond, plus a bucket and two foul shots by junior Zach Langan, the Dawgs were ahead by 11, 19–8. In the second and third quarters, the Dawgs’ offense really cut loose. Morris and Narducci combined for 15 of the Dawgs’ 23 points in the second. Ryan exploded for 11 in the third, when the Dawgs put 25 points on the board. In the last quarter, anyone who had not gotten in the game before then saw action, and juniors Phil McFillin and Mike Feinstein swooshed in the last two of the Dawgs’ nines. The final score was Haddonfield 77, Collingswood, 34. The only quarter the Panthers hit double digits, 11, was in the third, but in those 8 minutes, the Dawgs still more than doubled that tally. I almost felt bad for the Collingswood team, and to their credit, the Panthers played hard all four quarters, even though the score did not reflect it.

Quarter Scores:
1st: Haddonfield, 19, Collingswood, 8
2nd: Haddonfield, 42, Collingswood, 16
3rd: Haddonfield, 67, Collingswood, 27
4th: Haddonfield, 77, Collingswood, 34

Player Scores:
Patrick Ryan: 19
Sam Narducci: 15
Zach Langan: 12
Matt Morris: 11
Teddy Bond: 9
Phil McFillin: 5
Nate Rohlfing: 3
Mike Feinstein: 3

Woodbury at Haddonfield, 1/15/23

If you just looked at the quarter scores for this game against Woodbury, you wouldn’t get the full picture of what transpired on the floor for 32 minutes. But for those of us who were in the stands(or watching via the Haddonfield YouTube stream), we can attest that the Herd was Thundering throughout the whole game.

In the first quarter, the Herd hit its first 3 of the game (there would be many more to follow) with less than 20 seconds gone off the clock. A nice jumper by junior Daire Roddy got the Dawgs on the board, but Woodbury got the next 2 baskets, a 3 and then a 2 off an offensive rebound, and with 4 and change left in the quarter, they were up 8–2. At the other end, Haddonfield missed its shot and the ball went out of bounds. This time, Woodbury did not score thanks to a blocked shot by Patrick Ryan and a rebound by Teddy Bond. This set up the Dawgs’ first 3 of the quarter, by Sam Narducci, and after a hard defensive rebound by Zach Langan, Ryan’s bucket brought the Dawgs to within 1, 7–8, with 2:55 on the clock.

An easy layup by Woodbury put them back up by 3, but a basket in the paint off an offensive board by Langan make it a 1-point, 9–10, game again. Bond had a busy and effective spirt, knocking the ball out of bounds on Woodbury’s side of the court, then blocking a shot. His 3 at the 1:22 mark gave the Dawgs their first lead, 12–10. A few possessions later, Narducci turned a steal into 2, and with 25.2 seconds to go, the Dawgs were up by 4, 14–10. However, Woodbury’s 3 just ahead of the buzzer trimmed that lead down to 1, 14–13.

Just as they had in the first quarter, the Thundering Herd got on the board first, stealing the ball after they failed to do so after inbounding the ball to begin second quarter action. That resulted in them retaking the lead by 1. After Haddonfield couldn’t quite hold onto an offensive rebound, Woodbury scored again, and less than 50 seconds into the second quarter, the Herd was up by 4, 17–13. Langan’s bucket cut that down to 1. After a pickoff by Matt Morris, the Dawgs were fouled and had a chance at the line to tie or go back in front but weren’t able to do so. That hurt when the Herd’s third scoring chance off three offensive boards went in, inching their lead up to 3, 19–16. They had a chance to add 1 more point from the line, but the shot did not drop. However, the Herd grabbed another offensive board, but this time, a pickoff by Haddonfield deprived them of another scoring opportunity.

An offensive board by Bond gave Nate Rohlfing a chance under the rim, and he drove in hard for 2 and was fouled. His shot dropped in, and with 4:01 left in the half, the game was tied for the first time at 19 all. That tie didn’t last long as Woodbury again got 2 after a man was left open under the basket. Rohlfing’s basket on a feed by Roddy knotted it at 21 with 3:23 to go. Both teams went a bit cold for almost 2 minutes before Morris was fouled with 47.8 on the clock. His shots put the Dawgs back up by 2, 23–21. Narducci nearly stole the ball, but good pressure “D” under the basket kept Woodbury from finding the net. When the buzzer sounded to end the half, that 2-point lead was still in effect.

In case you were wondering, yes, the Herd got the first basket of the third quarter, although it didn’t come until almost 2 minutes had ticked off the clock. Good defense by Woodbury kept the Dawgs off the board until Ryan went up and in on a nice pass from Roddy, giving the Dawgs back a 2-point, 25–23, edge at the 5:04 mark. In its next possession, Woodbury tied the game at 25, and after a bad pass at the other end by Haddonfield, hit a 3 to reclaim the lead 28–25, with 4:05 on the clock. A steal resulted in 2-pointer, but since the Herd player was fouled in the process, the end result was the same—3 points were added to Woodbury’s score – as he sank the shot from the line. This gave Woodbury its biggest lead of the night, 31–25, with 3:49 on the clock.

A floater by Roddy, who has a nice touch from outside, got the Dawgs back to within 4, 27–31. After a defensive board by Bond, the Dawgs lost the ball out of bounds, but Woodbury gave the ball back by picking up an offensive foul. Another board, this time offensive by Bond, resulted in Bond’s second 3 of the game, and with 2:26 left in the third, the Dawgs were only trailing by a point, 30–31. Woodbury managed to grab the ball under their basket after a blocked shot by Haddonfield, but Narducci pulled off another steal ,and his basket flipped the lead back to Haddonfield, 32–31, with 1:49 left in the third.

Bond’s third trey of the game, helped by a friendly bounce off the rim, make it 35–31, and a foul by the Herd gave the ball back to Haddonfield. This time the Dawgs got 2 on a drive by Narducci that put them on top by 6 once more, 37–31. A foul at the other end put Woodbury at the line. Both shots were good, making it a 4-point, 37–33, game with 56.3 to go. After a near steal by the Herd, which was saved by Narducci, he scored, but a 3 ahead of the buzzer by Woodbury meant going into the fourth, the Dawgs were only up by 3, 39–36.

That 3-point lead was washed away when Woodbury got the first basket of the fourth, not quite 2 minutes in, a 3, to tie it at 39. Rohlfing’s bucket in the paint gave the Dawgs the lead again, briefly, before the Herd thundered in another 3 with just under 5 minutes remaining in the game to go up by 1, 42–41. Ryan got fouled going in for a basket and headed to the foul line, where he converted 1–2 to create yet another tie with about 4:30 left. After a timeout, Woodbury kept passing the ball and passing the ball. When a shot was finally taken, it did not go in, and Ryan grabbed the rebound. The Dawgs were no more successful under their basket, and with 3:04 on the clock it was still a 42–42 game.

The good news for Dawgs’ fans was that Woodbury would not score again. This was partially because after another timeout, the Herd played stall ball, winding almost 2 minutes off the clock before a held ball call gave Haddonfield possession at the 1:03 mark. The Dawgs ticked a bit of time off the clock as well before Narducci nailed a huge 3 with 47 seconds left, putting the Dawgs up by 3, 45–42. At the other end, Rohlfing secured a defensive board, and this time, Haddonfield called a full timeout with 12.0 showing on the clock. Woodbury had a few fouls to give before Morris was sent to the line with 4.7 left. He calmly sent both shots through the net, giving the Dawgs a 47–42 lead, which turned into a 47–42, victory. While Narducci was the only Dawg in double figures, with 14, all the Haddonfield players who got into the game scored.

Quarter Scores;
1st: Haddonfield, 14, Woodbury, 13
2nd: Haddonfield, 23, Woodbury, 21
3rd: Haddonfield, 39, Woodbury, 36
4th: Haddonfield, 47, Woodbury, 42

Player Scores:
Sam Narducci: 14
Teddy Bond: 9
Nate Rohlfing: 7
Patrick Ryan: 5
Daire Roddy: 4
Zach Langan: 4
Matt Morris: 4

Mainland vs. Haddonfield at Paul VI, 1/21/23

I wasn’t sure that I was going to get to this game, but I was very happy when my travel buddy texted me mid-afternoon Saturday to see if I wanted a ride. Considering how crowded it has been at previous Winter Classic tournaments at Paul VI, it was quite surprising to see how empty the stands were for this 5:30 game. (The Eagles game didn’t start until 8, after all.) Fans for both teams who stayed home for whatever reason missed a really nerve-wracking but exciting game. The Mainland Mustangs were sporting a 14–1 overall record and were sitting in first place, at 8–0, atop the Cape-Atlantic League. No doubt about it: The Dawgs were going to have their work cut out for them.

The game started, and Mainland immediately hit a 3 after getting the possession off the tipoff. Haddonfield lost the ball on an errant pass, but Daire Roddy got it back on a steal. The Mustangs drew the first (non-shooting) foul of the game, but the Dawgs couldn’t take advantage of it and failed to score. Then the Dawgs really kicked into defensive high gear, showing off their trademark full press. The Mustangs were being corralled on the perimeter and couldn’t figure out how to get the ball inside. A timeout did not help. Zach Langan, who would have himself quite the game offensively and defensively, kept at his opponent and finally stole the ball. He slipped and lost the ball out of bounds, but Sam Narducci stole it right back, driving in the lane for Haddonfield’s first basket. He was fouled but his shot from the line didn’t drop, keeping it a 1-point, 3–2, Mainland lead. That lead went back to 3 with 5:33 on the clock.

Narducci was fouled again, ahead of the shot this time, and this time, both his baskets from the line were good, drawing the Dawgs back to within 1, 4–5. The defensive pressure from the Dawgs was still causing Mainland problems, especially when trying to pass the ball. After losing possession on one such bad pass, the Mustangs then lost the lead when Narducci hit a 3, putting the Dawgs ahead for the first time, 7–5, with 4:43 on the clock. Mainland still was not having a lot of luck getting the ball inside because they couldn’t get away from the Haddonfield press. But they had a few players who could shoot behind the arc, including #3, Cohen Cook (I looked him up after the game), whose trey put the Mustangs back in front 8–7, with 3:43 remaining in the quarter.

The Dawgs failed to score, got possession after a big scramble on the floor for the ball (and I do mean on the floor), but then lost it on an offensive charge. The Mustangs managed to find a path to the basket and put the ball up and in, pushing their lead to 3, 10–7, with 2:57 on the clock. Neither team scored for a few possessions. (Cook nearly had another 3, but it rimmed in and out.) After both teams traded turnovers, Nate Rohlfing, just into the game for Haddonfield, scored under the basket on an assist from Daire Roddy, getting the Dawgs back to within 1, 9–10, with a minute to go. That was the final basket of the quarter, so going into the second 8 minutes of play, the Dawgs were trailing by 1.

Mainland inbounded to start the second, and Langan pulled down the rebound from the missed shot. Narducci drove in for 2, had a chance to make a 3-point play from the line, but the ball didn’t drop for him. Still, with less than a minute gone, the Dawgs were back in front 11–10. Langan stole the ball (he would do this seven times during the game), the Dawgs could not score, but at the other end, Mainland had two chances, neither fell (hampered by the Dawgs’ continuing man-to-man defense). After the ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield, Mainland could not find an open man and turned the ball over on a travel violation. Alas, Haddonfield then committed a walk at their end, and a drive by the Mustangs seesawed the lead back to their favor, 12–11, with 4:41 left in the half.

Matt Morris, who usually starts the second quarter, whether he’s gotten into the game before then or not, drove in for a reverse layup, switching the game again to the Dawgs’ favor, 13–12. A blocked shot by Rohlfing and a rebound by Langan (he collected seven of them in the course of the game as well) set the stage for a 3 (thanks to a roll) by Langan, giving the Dawgs a 4-point, 16–12, advantage with 3 and change left in the half.

Haddonfield knocked the ball out of bounds under the Mainland basket, and then Rohlfing got another blocked shot. After a foul by Haddonfield and a near steal, Mainland got a basket and went to the foul line. The foul shot was good, so with 2:36 remaining in the quarter, the Dawgs were still up, but only by 1, 16–15. After an offensive board by Langan and an out-of-bounds call on the Mustangs, Rohlfing scored, pushing the Dawgs’ lead to 3, 18–15, with 2 and change left. After a near pickoff by Haddonfield, Mainland got a basket, and once more, the Dawgs’ lead had dwindled down to 1, 18–17.

A shooting foul by Mainland sent the Dawgs to the line, and neither shot went in. (I will interject here that I hope the Dawgs spend some extra time in their next practices working on foul shots, as in close contests like the ones against Mainland and Woodbury, when every point matters, free throws could make or break a game.) At the other end, another Rohlfing block (he is the tallest Dawg, listed at 6-8 on the team roster) set up a cross-court drive by Morris, making it 20–17, Dawgs with less than a minute left in the half. A steal by, you got it, Langan, caused a frustration foul by Mainland, giving the Dawgs a 1+1 opportunity (if you make the first shot, you get a second shot), but again, the Dawgs missed from the line. However, Morris pulled down the offensive board with 37.3 seconds until the half, and the Dawgs were passing the ball, going for the last shot. Mainland committed a foul with 5.9 to go, giving the Dawgs another 1+1 shot.

Narducci made the first but missed the second, and Mainland’s last shot attempt was no good. As the teams headed off the court, the Dawgs were up by 4, 21–17.

The third quarter, which has been the Dawgs’ bread and butter most of the season, proved to be less than stellar for Haddonfield this game. Although the Dawgs built on their lead early on, up by 6, 26–20, with 5:45 on the clock, the Mustangs weren’t about to give up and about 2:30 minutes later, had put the reins on the Dawgs to retake the lead, 27–26. After the Dawgs did not get a basket, they could not secure an offensive board, giving the Mustangs multiple chances to score, which they finally did, and at the 3:10 mark, they were up by 3, 29–26.

With 2:44 on the clock, I scribbled down how shocked a Mainland player was that after falling on Bond, he got called for a foul. The foul was non-shooting, and the Dawgs turned the ball over. After Haddonfield got charged with its fifth foul of the half, Mainland got a 3, and with 1:41 left in the quarter, was up by 6, 32–26. Narducci’s two shots from the foul line cut that to 32–28 with 1:29 on the clock, but Mainland answered with a field goal to go back up by 6, 28–34. Bond picked a great time to hit a 3, and after Mainland’s shot did not fall ahead of the buzzer, the Dawgs were behind by 3, 31–34, going into the fourth quarter, having been outscored in the third 10–17.

As the team walked out onto the court to begin the last quarter, senior captain Teddy Bond had the players in a huddle, taking the lead when the team needed to show its mettle to get back in the game. And they did. Although none of them dropped, the team got off four shots before losing the ball out of bounds at the 7:01 mark. Morris got the defense going on a steal and took the ball to the basket to make it a 1-point, 34–33, Mainland lead with 6:00 left in the game. Under the Mustang basket, Haddonfield was called for a foul, sending Mainland to the line. Neither shot went int, and with 5:44 on the clock, it was still a 1-point game.

It stayed that way after the Dawgs went to the line and missed both shots. After Mainland lost the ball out of bounds (the Dawgs were playing tougher defense again), Morris again drove into the paint and scored, putting the Dawgs on top by 1, 35–34. I was cheering too much to note what time was showing on the clock. But with 4:46 to go, Mainland got fouled again and made 1–2 from the line, and for the first time in the game, the score was tied at 35 with just under 5 minutes to go. The second shot did not drop, Narducci got the rebound, and Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman called a timeout.

Mainland stole the ball off the inbounds pass, but Morris got the defensive board and went down court and scored, giving Haddonfield back the lead, 37–35, with 4:07 on the clock. Mainland tied it again with 3:36 left in the game. The Mustangs got called for a non-shooting foul, and Morris got his biggest basket of the game, a 3, to put the Dawgs up by 3, 40–37, with 3:25 to go. Mainland responded with a 2 to cut the lead to 1, 40-39, with 3:00 on the clock. Timeout was called with 2:42 left. When play resumed, Haddonfield had possession and Mainland committed a non-shooting foul. With 2:15 on the clock, Langan knocked down a 3 on a feed from Morris, putting the Dawgs up by 4, 43–39.

Mainland called a timeout, and after scoring a field goal, making it 43–41, Haddonfield, with 1:43 remaining, yet another timeout was called by Haddonfield. This time, the Dawgs did not score on their possession. The Mustangs missed their shot, got the rebound, and got fouled. With 1:13 on the clock and the chance to pull the game even, Mainland stepped to the line. Neither shot went in, but the ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield with 1:09 left. The Mustangs were having trouble getting a shot lined up, but a Dawg foul sent them to the line again. This time, the first shot went in, making it a 1-point, 43–42, game, but the second did not, and Bond pulled down the board.

Haddonfield called timeout with 25.8 seconds to go. The Mustangs had fouls to give before the Dawgs would head to the line for a 1+1, so they fouled at the 22.1 mark. Two seconds later, after inbounding the ball, Haddonfield was called for traveling. This meant the Mustangs would have a chance for the final shot to win the game. The Dawgs mounted a final defense of the basket and the Mustangs were forced to call a timeout with 6.4 on the clock. The pressure was on Mainland to get a good shot off, but it was also on Haddonfield to not foul while protecting the net. Cook drove up and in for Mainland. His shot hit the rim and bounced off. Mainland tried to rebound and reshoot, but it was too late. The final horn sounded. The Dawgs had prevailed, winning a hard-fought, four-quarter battle against a very worthy opponent by the slimmest of margins, 43–42.

Matt Morris and Sam Narducci finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Zach Langan finished with 9 points, all coming off 3’s.

Quarter Scores:
1st: Haddonfield, 9, Mainland, 10
2nd: Haddonfield, 21, Mainland, 17
3rd: Haddonfield, 31, Mainland, 34
Haddonfield, 43, Mainland, 42

Player Scores:
Matt Morris: 13
Sam Narducci: 12
Zach Langan: 9 (7 rebounds, 7 steals)
Nate Rohlfing: 4 (plus a lot of blocked shots)
Teddy Bond: 3
Patrick Ryan: 2

Haddonfield improved its record this past week to 13–3 overall and 8–1 in the Colonial Conference Liberty Division. The team hosts Audubon on Tuesday, 1/24, and Haddon Heights on Thursday, 1/26. Both games start at 7:00 p.m. and will be streamed on Haddonfield’s YouTube channel. Saturday, 1/28, the Dawgs will continue the tradition of competing in the Jeff Coney Classic at Rancocas Valley High School, going up against Burlington Township. The game is scheduled to tip off at 3:00 p.m.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs bounce back big

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

I’m not sure if the Haddonfield boys basketball team started eating double servings of Wheaties this past week (the breakfast of champions, you know), or they just got themselves wound up after a three-game stretch in which their play looked lackluster at best. Or maybe they just started listening more to Coach Paul Wiedeman from the sidelines. Whatever the explanation, suffice to say the Dawgs got their bite back and then some on the way to collecting four—that’s right, four—dominating victories in week 5 of the high school hoops season.

Because all four games were not even that close after the first quarter, I’m not going to recap every quarter of each game. Instead, I’m going to throw out some impressive stats and then take a look at the decisive parts of each game.

Over those four games, two against Colonial Conference foes and two versus nonleague teams, the Dawgs won by an average of 25.25 points. Conversely, their opponents only averaged 29 points against what truly was a smothering Dawgs’ defense for almost all of the 16 quarters they played. Only Gloucester City broke 30, but the Dawgs put 26 more points on the board than the Lions. The team knocked down 26 3’s over this stretch, but even better, the Dawgs weren’t dependent on outside shooting to stay ahead.

Game 1: Haddonfield at Lindenwold, 1/9/22

This was the first game after the Dawgs had lost back-to-back contests against Sterling (39–47, which gave Haddonfield their first loss within the conference) and Hammonton (37–45). And it didn’t start out all that well. The Dawgs only got two buckets in the first 8 minutes, both by junior Patrick Ryan. Ryan’s first gave the Dawgs a 2–0 lead, but the Lions answered with a 3. Ryan put the Dawgs ahead again, 4–3, however, Lindenwold would get the last basket (at the 2:30 mark, which shows how poorly both teams were setting up plays and scoring to begin with) to take a 1-point lead into the second quarter. That would be the last time the Dawgs trailed at the end of a quarter for the rest of the week.

The Dawgs’ offense woke up a bit in the next 24 minutes, as they put 14, 14, and 15 on the board in the second, third, and fourth quarters, respectively. And 34 of those points came from the paint or inside the arc. Junior Matt Morris and Ryan led the way, with Morris scoring 15 to Ryan’s 12. In an “if you blinked” (or were scribbling in your notepad) moment at the end of the third, Morris drove into the lane, scored, then intercepted the Lions’ inbound pass under the Dawgs’ basket and scored again. When the buzzer sounded to end the 4th quarter, Haddonfield was on top by 21, 47–26. The Dawgs’ defense held Lindenwold to single digits every quarter.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 4, Lindenwold, 5

2nd: Haddonfield,18,  Lindenwold, 11

3rd: Haddonfield, 32, Lindenwold, 17

4th: Haddonfield, 47, Lindenwold, 26

Player Scores:

Matt Morris: 15

Patrick Ryan: 12

Teddy Bond: 6

Nate Rohlfing: 6

Sam Narducci: 4

Zach Langan: 2

Joe Tedeschi: 2

Game 2: Gloucester City at Haddonfield, 1/11/23

The Dawgs offense kicked in from the start in this game against the newest member of the Patriot division of the Colonial, also with the nickname of the Lions. In the first 5 minutes, the Dawgs went on a 14-0 run, with 2’s from Sam Narducci and Teddy Bond, 3’s from Narducci and Daire Roddy, and a pair of foul shots from Narducci, before the Lions, hit a 3. The Dawgs would get 7 more in the quarter, while Gloucester City only mustered one additional basket, a 2-point field goal, making it 19–5, Haddonfield, as the second quarter started.

The Dawgs scoring slowed a bit in the second, as they added in only 9 more points on 3’s from Matt Morris and Roddy and a 3-point play—a basket and a foul shot—from Nate Rohlfing. The Lions were held to 5 again, so going into the half, the Dawgs were up by 18, 28–10.

The third quarter saw the biggest point tally for Haddonfield. Narducci and Roddy each nailed another 3 while Bond sank a pair of treys. Ryan had a pair of field goals, Narducci added a 2, and Rohlfing, who is almost automatic on the foul line, dropped in 2. These 8 minutes were also the Lions’ best effort of the game, as they put 17 on the board. Going into the fourth, the Dawgs were up by 21, 48–27.

With most of the starters out, the Dawgs still put 14 points on the board in the 4th. Morris and Phil McFillin had 3’s, Ryan and Rohlfing went up and in for 2’s, and Morris hit two foul shots. When this game was officially over (I say “officially” because it was pretty much over by halftime), the Dawgs had sent the Lions running, upending them by 26, 62–36.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 19, Gloucester City, 5

2nd: Haddonfield, 28, Gloucester City, 10

3rd: Haddonfield, 48,Gloucester City, 27

4th: Haddonfield, 62 Gloucester City, 36

Player Scores:

Sam Narducci: 12

Teddy Bond: 11

Patrick Ryan: 10

Daire Roddy: 9

Matt Morris: 8

Nate Rohlfing: 7

Phil McFillin: 5

Game 3: Haddonfield at Pemberton Township High School, 1/12/23

This was a nonleague game I was very happy to be able to stream, since it started at 5:30 and would have been at least a 35-minute drive from Voorhees. (That’s where I live, in case you didn’t know.) At least I was happy for the first 5:10 of the first quarter …

But to begin with, after both sides had some loose play in their opening possessions, the Hornets scored after an offensive board. Junior Zach Langan got the Dawgs on the board and tied the game at 2 with 5:45 on the clock. A feed from Daire Roddy to Patrick Ryan made it 4–2, Haddonfield, but it was immediately followed by another 2 from Pemberton. Teddy Bond’s drive with 4 and change showing slid the lead back to the Dawgs, 6–4. After the Hornets did not score, Roddy picked up another assist, this time dishing the ball to Langan, who went up and in, making it 8–4, Dawgs. Roddy, who had a great overall floor game, secured the rebound at the other end of the court, and this time, Sam Narducci found the net to push the lead to 6, 10–4, with 3:04 left in the quarter.

The Dawgs almost had another steal (I had marked three for the quarter already), but it went out of bounds off Haddonfield, so Pemberton maintained possession. At the 2:50 mark, their coach thought a timeout was prudent … That timeout lasted a loooooong time. Well, the timeout didn’t but that’s when the feed froze. After a few minutes, I got a text from my traveling buddy (TB), who was also streaming the game:

            TB: Did your picture freeze?

            Me: Yes.

            TB: Ugh.

            Me: What did you do, lol?

            TB: Still frozen here (this text was sent at 5:59, so you know this was a long delay)

            Me: Yup, grrrrr …

I think most of us who were still hoping the feed would start up again (and periodically refreshing the screen) were about to give up when there was finally screen movement again. But it didn’t pick up at the 2:50 mark of the first quarter. There was now 1:12 left in the second quarter. I was thrown a bit and was quite baffled as to how we were now down 13–24, as I texted:

            Me: Back and not good … Oh, wait. We are the guests …

            TB: I was wondering …

So in fact, after the Hornets got a basket as the action picked back up, it was 24–15, Dawgs, and that’s how the quarter ended. Thanks to the commentators from Pemberton Township High, who commented that Teddy Bond had gotten 10 of the Dawgs’ 11 second quarter points, with Morris adding a foul shot, I was able to mark that info down on my scorepad. What I didn’t know at the time was whether Bond had made three 3’s and a foul shot or a pair of treys and a pair of field goals. I also now knew that if the halftime score was 24–15, and the Dawgs had put 11 on the board in the second 8 minutes, the Dawgs had gotten 13 in the first quarter. When the feed stalled, the Dawgs had 10. So, who got those other 3 points and how? Happily, the Hornet commentators would fill me in before the game was over with point totals and even telling me how many 3’s Bond had made.

In quarter 3, in what is turning out to usually be the 8 minutes when the offense really kicks in, the Dawgs scored 8 baskets. Bond hit another 3, Narducci had a trio of field goals, Ryan had a pair, and Morris and Langan each added a bucket. Going into the last 8 minutes, the Dawgs had the Hornets buzzing mad, as they down by 21, 20–241. Each team added 7 points in the final 8 minutes, so when the game was over, the Dawgs had kept that 21-point advantage with a honey of a 48–27 win.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 13, Pemberton Township High School, 8

2nd: Haddonfield, 24, Pemberton Township High School, 15

3rd: Haddonfield, 41, Pemberton Township High School, 20

4th: Haddonfield, 48, Pemberton Township High School, 27

Player Scores:

Teddy Bond: 18

Sam Narducci: 12

Patrick Ryan: 9

Zach Langan: 6

Matt Morris: 3

Game 4: Haddonfield at Overbrook, 1/14/23

Although Overbrook left the Colonial Conference a few years ago and is now in the Tri-County, the teams have still been meeting in nonleague contests. Almost 51 weeks to the day in 2022, the Dawgs, playing at home, had trailed the Rams the entire game. They were down by 2 and Overbrook was trying to inbound under their basket with 1.7 to go. (The Dawgs had knocked it out of bounds in the Rams’ first attempt.) Wiedeman had his two tallest players (Matt Guveiyian and Teddy Bond) guarding the baseline. The Ram tasked with getting the ball inbounds decided the smartest move would be a high lob pass to his teammate on the other side of half-court. He wasn’t expecting Daire Roddy to leap up in front of his teammate to intercept the ball. Borrowing from last year’s write-up, here’s what happened next: “With amazing poise, Roddy dribbled the ball into Haddonfield territory, and instead of just throwing up the ball in desperation, he set his feet and made a shot, not a heave. The buzzer sounded as the ball was in midflight. It hit nothing but net for a waaay-behind-arc 3. The Dawgs had won in stunning fashion, 41–40.”

Having checked on how the Rams had been doing so far this season before heading out to today’s game, I discovered because they had played one more conference game than the Dawgs, they had a 7–1 record to the Dawgs’ 6–1 record. Both teams were 9–3 overall. That made me think it could be another down-to-the-wire game, and I hoped Daire Roddy was at the ready! It turns out, Haddonfield would not need any last-second heroics this go-round. However, we still got a pretty darn exciting half-court basket … More on that in a bit.

That a big, game-winning shot would not be required wasn’t obvious at the outset of the game. Overbrook got the ball from the tipoff and scored, while Haddonfield failed to do so its first possession. After getting an out-of-bounds call under the Rams’ basket, the Dawgs then picked up two quick fouls. But good hustle helped the Rams get called for a backcourt violation. With 6:19 on the clock, Patrick Ryan got the Dawgs’ first bucket off a pass from Zach Langan to tie it at 2. After a near pickoff by Sam Narducci, Ryan got the defensive board, but the Dawgs’ shot missed the mark. Pressure from all five Dawgs kept Overbrook from getting its shot to drop, but the ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield. Roddy turned the tables and got the ball to go off a Ram, giving the Dawgs back the ball. Ryan was fouled trying to score and made both his shots to put the Dawgs ahead by 2, 4–2, with 4:19 left in the quarter.

The Dawgs kept pressing and the Rams kept missing shots and/or losing the ball out of bounds. Ryan blocked a shot, and Bond stole the ball off the inbound, but the Dawgs lost the ball on a dicey pass. The Rams returned the favor, also sending a bad pass out of bounds, but the Dawgs couldn’t take advantage of it and came away empty-handed. The next scoring came on a 3 by the Rams’ Devon Johnson, which put him into the 1,000-points club. Time out was called so his teammates, family, and fans (on both sides of the court) could applaud his accomplishment, which also put his team up by 1, 5–4, with 2:23 left to go.

That would be the last time Overbrook would be on top the rest of the game. After a Haddonfield travel and Overbrook being pressed into making another bad pass that went off the court, Narducci’s 3 gave the lead back to Haddonfield, 7–5, with 1:23 remaining in the quarter. Overbrook kept struggling to get shots off because the Dawgs were playing zone and in their faces. Between near pickoffs, actual steals, blocked shots, and defensive boards, the Rams had a tough time for all four quarters. With 1.4 left, the Dawgs got called for a sloppy foul that sent a Ram to the foul line. He converted 1–2.

That made foul shot would be the last point Overbrook would put on the board until the 1:57 mark in the third quarter. No, that was not a typo. Haddonfield kept Overbrook from scoring at all in the second quarter and for more than 6 minutes in the third quarter. While keeping Overbrook from getting anything into the net in the next 8 minutes of play, the Dawgs weren’t exactly on fire offensively, but thanks to a pair of 2’s from Matt Morris, a bucket in the paint from Nate Rohlfing, and a basket and a 2 from the line from Ryan, going into halftime, the Dawgs were up by 11, 17–6.

Just ahead of the start of the third quarter, Nostra“thomas” Betley said it was time for Haddonfield to blow the game open with some 3’s. The Dawgs were happy to oblige. Although the first shot of the third, an attempted 3, did not go in, the next four did. Narducci got the trey dropping with a little more than a minute gone, putting his team on top by 14, 20–6. Ryan pulled down another defensive board, and Bond nailed a 3. After Overbrook lost the ball out of bounds, Bond did it again.

With 6:28 on the clock and down by 20, 6–26, Overbrook called a timeout. It didn’t help or cool off Bond. After Langan and Narducci combined for a steal, Bond hit his third trey in less than a minute. To put it bluntly, Haddonfield was ramming Overbrook 29–6.

The Dawgs finally didn’t score, but after Narducci got a defensive board, he went cross-court and scored. In the next possession, Narducci’s attempted 3 went in and out, but after Overbrook turned over the ball again, Narducci went in for another 2, and with just under 4 minutes to go, the Dawgs were up by 27, 33–6. The Dawgs defense kept hounding the Rams, even though Haddonfield didn’t score for a few possessions. When another basket went it, it was Narducci once more, and with 2:02 on the clock, the Dawgs were up by 29, 35–6.

Finally, after nearly two quarters with nary a point, the Rams got a basket with 1:57 to go in the quarter. Rohlfing got those 2 points back from the foul line. After a steal by Morris, Narducci got the Dawgs’ fifth 3 of the third, making it 40–8, Haddonfield, with 1:23 remaining. Rohlfing got one more from the line, and with 3.0 left, so did Overbrook. That appeared to be the last point of the third, but Phil McFillin, in off the bench, did his best Daire Roddy impression and hit a half-court 3 as time expired. With 8 minutes left to play, the Dawgs were up by 35, 44–9, having put 27 points on the board in the quarter to the Rams’ 3.

Before the fourth quarter was over, all of the Dawgs who play JV but also are part of the varsity squad had come in off the bench. Several of them had seen some minutes earlier than the fourth. Rohlfing, who had his best game of the year both offensively and defensively, scored three more times in the paint. McFillin launched another 3, Jack Walters hit a 3 and a 2, and freshman Mike Douglas (except for Bond, who is a senior, the rest of the team is made up of juniors and one sophomore, Lear Fuller) notched a bucket. And after only getting 9 points through 3 quarters, the Rams got 18 points in the final 8 minutes. Those 18 points barely made a dent, as the final score was Haddonfield, 60, Overbrook, 27. Eight Dawgs scored at least one basket in this big win.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 7, Overbrook, 6

2nd: Haddonfield, 17, Overbrook, 6

3rd: Haddonfield, 44, Overbrook, 9

4th: Haddonfield, 60, Overbrook, 27

Player Scores:

Sam Narducci: 15

Nate Rohlfing: 11

Teddy Bond: 9

Patrick Ryan: 8

Phil McFillin: 6

Jack Walters: 5

Matt Morris: 4

Mike Douglas: 2

The Dawgs are now 10–3 overall and 6–1 in the Colonial Conference. Up next is a home game versus Woodbury on Tuesday, 1/17,at 7:00 p.m. and a 5:30 p.m. away game at Collingswood on Thursday, 1/19. Saturday, 1/21, the Dawgs will play Mainland Regional at Paul the VI in a game scheduled for 5:30 (but that will probably start later), as there will be games ahead of it.

Susan Baltake named Citizen of the Year

Haddonfield resident Susan Baltake has been named Citizen of the Year for 2023. She will be presented with the award during the Mayor’s Breakfast on Saturday, January 21.

Susan has served the community as a member and chair of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and currently serves as the Mayor’s designee on the Planning Board. 

She was a co-founder of the Haddonfield Farmers Market and chaired its board for many years, played a leading role in raising funds for HATCH (the dinosaur sculpture committee), is a longtime member of the Rotary Club (and editor of its weekly newsletter), and is a member of the executive committee of HOST – Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust.

Susan’s professional background includes serving as executive director of state finance agencies and organizations, marketing director for real estate companies, vice president of a marketing/branding/public relations agency, and manager for political campaigns. 

According to Joseph Murphy, one of several Haddonfield residents who nominated her, Susan is a quiet person who delivers what she promises and can be relied on for any task she undertakes. 

“I am honored,” said Susan. “It’s wonderful to live in a town where there are so many opportunities to volunteer and make a difference.”

Former Mayor Jack Tarditi, chair of the Citizen of the Year Committee, said, “We are particularly excited about this year’s event because this is the first time the name of the recipient has been announced in advance.”

The Mayor’s Breakfast, hosted by the Haddonfield Area Lions Club, will be held on Saturday, January 21 at 9am in the First Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall (20 Kings Highway East). Tickets – $15 for adults and $10 for those age 12 and under – can be purchased at the door or in advance on the Lions Club website

Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich and her fellow commissioners will give a State of the Borough report and the Lions Club will present their annual William G. Hansen Youth of the Year Awards.

The Haddonfield Area Lions Club is a service organization that supports community events and activities and assists those in need, particularly those with sight-related issues – locally, regionally, and globally. Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world.