Boys’ Basketball: A 4-0 start to the season
By Lauree Padgett Exclusive to Haddonfield[got]Today
Except for the game versus BCIT Westampton that took place at Cherokee High School on Dec. 17, which went into overtime before Teddy Bond’s 3 sent the Dawgs home with an exciting 48–45 win, the Haddonfield boys basketball team has been downright stingy with points given up. In the team’s three other games, opponents scored 18, 24, and 34 points total. But I’m getting ahead of myself …
My plan going into this season was to provide box scores when able and to pick one game per week to write up at length. (Now that I’ve hit 61, I don’t have the vim and vigor I did back in the Zoubek or the DePersia eras. My hope is that by cutting down on the hours spent per week trying to decipher my handwriting on my notepad, where I scribble the play-by-play of each game, or making sure all the points I’ve marked on my scorebook add up before I actually start to write up each game, I won’t wear out before the playoffs.)
That being said, I must admit that my plan has already gone a bit off-course. During the first game of the year at Haddon Heights on 12/15, I let my guard down, so to speak, and forgot to put my mask on (although I’m fully vaxed and boosted, I wear masks indoors where there are crowds). That’s how COVID was “passed” onto me and why I did not get to the next three games in person. Luckily, the home Haddon Township game on 12/20 and the away matchup versus West Deptford were streamed, so I was able to watch both games, even if I didn’t see both of them “live.” (Note that all home Haddonfield boys and girls games are streamed live and can also be watched at any time after the fact on the school’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=haddonfield+basketball)
Before the Heights game, I emailed Paul Wiedeman, who is entering his 24th season (!!) as Haddonfield’s head coach (and through the 2021–22 season has won 81% of his games with a jaw-dropping record of 532–130). Since only one player, senior Teddy Bond, had a lot of time on the court last year, I asked Wiedeman if he viewed this season as a rebuilding one. His response surprised me. “I am very optimistic about this season. We have a skilled team that is highly connected with good size and who play very hard. The team looked good in scrimmages.”
As usual, the coach knew what he was talking about. Since the most exciting game was the one I couldn’t attend in person or stream online, I’m going to provide short summaries of the games I was able to watch as well as the box scores.
Haddonfield at Haddon Heights, 12/15/22
These matchups are always a bit heated on and off the court. The opposing fans don’t like each other and the players on both teams hate to lose to their longtime Colonial Conference rival. However, from the outset, when junior Zach Langan went up and in for 2 off a feed by fellow junior Daire Roddy to score the Dawgs’ first basket of the season and the game, Haddonfield was pretty much in control. After 8 minutes, Haddonfield was ahead by 8, 13–5. By halftime, it was 20–10. In the second half, the Garnets could only manage 8 points against a defense that wasn’t letting them get many shots off, let alone offensive boards. When the final buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had won by 28, 46–18.
There were a lot of new faces and names to align with jersey numbers, which was a bit of a challenge. After the game, I told my travel buddy I was most impressed with guard Matt Morris and forward Patrick Ryan, both juniors, who finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively, but also played well on both ends of the floor.
1st: Haddonfield 13, Haddon Heights 8
2nd: Haddonfield 20, Haddon Heights 10
3rd: Haddonfield 32, Haddon Heights 15
4th: Haddonfield 46, Haddon Heights 18
Matt Morris: 12
Patrick Ryan: 10
Sam Narducci: 7
Zach Langan: 5
Joe Tedeschi: 5
Nate Rohlfing: 4
Teddy Bond: 3
Haddonfield vs. BCIT-Westhampton at Cherokee, 12/17/22
This was the game I missed altogether, as I stayed home and could not find it online. I did get the box score from NJ.com. Here are a few of the stats I wrote down. Patrick Ryan led all Dawgs with 15 points and was followed by Teddy Bond, who had 11. Three of Bond’s buckets, including the winning shot, were treys. Sam Narducci grabbed eight rebounds, and Ryan secured four. The team collected 13 steals, and no one hogged the ball, as of their 48 points, 17 baskets came off of assists.
It was definitely a tight game. The Dawgs were down by 2, 10–12, after the first quarter. By the half, BCIT-Westhampton had pushed its lead up to 5, 21–16. In the second half, the Dawgs inched back, putting 12 on the board in the 3rd to BCIT’s 11, and in the 4th, outscoring them by 4, 14–10, forcing OT. In those extra 4 minutes, Haddonfield put up 6 to BCIT’s 3, capped by Bond’s 3 to break the 42–42 tie.
Haddon Township at Haddonfield, 12/20/22
I streamed this game after the fact, as I wanted to be more awake than COVID had me feeling at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. I have to say it was one of the weirdest games I’ve seen in quite a while. The final score, which I checked on before I actually watched the game, really did not tell the story of what happened on the court for 32 minutes. It was a game the Dawgs won by 30, 54–24, and though it sounded like it was a four-quarter blowout, that wasn’t the case.
Here’s why. While the Dawgs scored 10 points to the Hawks’ 5 (and all five Haddonfield starters contributed to those 10 points) in the first quarter, the Hawks came back and outscored the Dawgs by 2, putting up 8 points to Haddonfield’s 6, in the second 8 minutes. So at halftime, the Dawgs were only leading by 3, 16–13.
In the third quarter, thanks to 3’s by Sam Narducci, who also had a pair of 2-pointers, Daire Roddy, and Joe Tedeschi, the Dawgs were able to hit a double-digit lead, and were ahead by 10, 31–21 going into the last 8 minutes of play. That’s when things got crazy. Not only did the Dawgs’ defense hold the Hawks to 3 points, coming on a basket and a foul shot at the 7:09 mark, Haddonfield poured in 23 points of their own—more than they scored total (16) in the first half.
Matt Morris and Roddy each hit a 3; Teddy Bond nailed 2 of them. Morris also had 4 points on drives into the paint. Bond scored under the net as well, and Patrick Ryan added 2. Zach Langan put up 3 on a basket and a foul shot. So when the game was over, Haddonfield had beaten Haddon Township by 30, 545–24. But the match didn’t hit blowout status until that final quarter.
1st: Haddonfield 10, Haddon Township 5
2nd: Haddonfield 16, Haddon Township 13
3rd: Haddonfield 31, Haddon Township 21
4th: Haddonfield 54, Haddon Township 24
Teddy Bond: 12
Sam Narducci: 11
Matt Morris: 9
Daire Roddey: 9
Patrick Ryan: 6
Zach Langan: 3
Joe Tedeschi: 3
Nate Rohlfing: 1
Haddonfield at West Deptford, December 22, 2022
This game I was happy to watch as it was being live-streamed from the home of Eagles. But I think it proved more challenging to me at my computer as I tried to keep stats than it did to the Dawgs on the court. Let me explain …
The feed from West Deptford’s gym was spotty. It would freeze, and instead of picking up where it had stopped, it would restart live. So, if the feed froze for a second, that wasn’t too bad, but if it froze for 5 seconds, I would see that the score had changed and if I had missed a Haddonfield basket, I was left to wonder who had made it. All I knew for sure at the end of the first quarter was that the Dawgs—not necessarily which ones—had knocked in 28 points to the Eagles’ 8. In the second quarter, none of the stream freezes occurred during a Haddonfield basket, so I was pretty sure who had scored the 13 points the Dawgs had added. While 13 was almost half of what Haddonfield had put up in the first quarter, sine West Deptford only managed 6 points, it still meant that when the teams left for the locker rooms at halftime, the Dawgs had a sizable, 41–14, advantage.
With the streaming issues seemingly resolved, I was hoping for a good second half from my end. But when I looked at the score shown in the corner of the feed within what I thought was the first minute of the third, I realized it said 48–14, when I still had the score as 42–14. Apparently, more than 2 minutes had been clipped from the game and I really had no idea what had happened. When the period ended, the Dawgs were cruising, 58–16, having held the poor Eagles to 2 points over those 8 minutes. What didn’t help my confusion was that the announcers had credited the wrong Haddonfield player with more 3’s than he actually had made …
In the last quarter, the Dawgs continued their scoring barrage. Players off the bench accounted for 10 of the team’s 25. Junior Phil McFillin scored 8 on a pair of 3’s and a basket; sophomore Lear Fuller got a bucket, as did freshman Mike Douglas. The Eagles finally started landing some baskets in the net, adding 18 points, but it was all for naught, as the Dawgs were a point shy of whipping them by 50, with the final score 83–34.
The next morning, I got the player scores from Paul Wiedeman, explaining that some gaps in the streaming had left me holding the short end of the scorebook. Then I did something that would have amazed my HMHS algebra II teacher F. T. “Bud” Stack, who advised me after I barely passed his class, “Quit [math] while you’re behind.” I used an algebraic equation to figure out who got the missing points in the first and third quarters. It took several attempts, as all the scribbled out numbers on the scorepad will attest, but I finally made it all add up. Sam Narducci, with 13 points in the first and 8 in the second (and finishing with 5 treys) was high scorer with 21. Teddy Bond, with six treys and a foul shot, was right behind him with 19. Patrick Ryan, who scored 4 from the field and was 4–4 from the foul line, added 12.
1st: Haddonfield 28, West Deptford 8
2nd: Haddonfield 41, West Deptford 14
3rd: Haddonfield 58, West Deptford 16
4th: Haddonfield 83, West Deptford 34
Sam Narducci: 21
Teddy Bond: 19
Patrick Ryan: 12
Phil McFillin: 8
Matt Morris: 7
Daire Roddy: 6
Zach Langan: 6
Lear Fuller: 2
Mike Douglas: 2
The Dawgs are hosting the Haddon Showcase the week of Christmas break, with both the girls and boys playing on 12/27 and 12/29. You can read about the boys games soon! (Confession: The 12/27 game has already happened …)