By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today
After what was, from all reports, an exciting game on the court, with some additional excitement in the stands, Sunday, 1/9, when the Dawgs pulled out a 50–46 OT win against St. Joseph’s High School (Hammonton) in the Seagull Classic, the team had no time to savor it. Monday night, 1/10, they were back on the (home) court hosting their Colonial nemesis, the Garnets of Haddon Heights. It would be the first of the week’s trio of games, which also included another Colonial home matchup Wednesday, 1/12, versus Lindenwold and a nonleague contest Friday, 1/14, at Gloucester City High School.
No matter where the teams are in the conference standings, games between the Dawgs and the Garnets are always highly anticipated. Monday night, that may have been the case at the outset, but by the end of the first quarter, the outcome seemed pretty apparent. Senior Matthew Guveiyian got the offense rolling with a nice drive up and in to put the Dawgs on top 2-0 a minute and 40 seconds into the game after both teams had not scored during their first possessions. Heights quickly tied the game at 2, but after senior Tom Mooney picked off the ball after Haddonfield’s next shot had not gone in and Heights pulled down the rebound, he was fouled in the act of shooting. His two shots from the foul line were good and put the Dawgs back up by 2, 4–2, at the 5:28 mark.
The Garnets did not score, Mooney secured the board, and senior Matt Leming swooshed the ball into the net for 3, pushing the Dawgs’ lead to 5, 7–2, with 4:35 on the clock. Mooney and Leming combined for a pickoff, but the ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield. This time Guveiyian pilfered the ball and took it cross-court for a slam. The Dawgs were now on top 9–2 with just about 3:30 left in the quarter.
The Garnets lost the ball again, this time on a steal by senior Dante Del Duca. Leming’s shot did not find the net, but he stole the ball before the Garnets could get a shot up and was fouled on his scoring attempt. His two foul shots made it 11–2, Dawgs, with 2:40 showing on the scoreboard. The Garnets finally did get a basket—from the foul line—to put another point on the board. A nice defensive shot block by the Garnets gave them back the ball, but they were still cold from the field. Guveiyian grabbed the board, passed it to senior Carson Wolff, who had come in a few plays earlier for Del Duca. Wolff made a nice move to give the ball back to Guveiyian, who got his second basket of the quarter, which gave the Dawgs’ a double-digit, 13–3, lead with about 90 seconds remaining in the first. Still, Heights could not hit a shot, and this time on the Dawgs’ end, Mooney got fouled. Both his shots dropped in, making it 15–3, Haddonfield, with 1:24 to go.
Heights’ drought from the field ended on a 2-pointer at the 1:15 mark, but the Dawgs would score two more times off a pair of foul shots by Leming after another steal, and a basket by Del Duca after Heights had turned the ball over on a double dribble. After 8 minutes, it was all Dawgs, who were up 19–5.
In quarter 2, the Dawgs’ scoring (12 points) slowed a bit and the Garnets’ (9) picked up. The Dawgs’ 12 came on an outside 3 and two foul shots by Guveiyian, a 3 by sophomore Daire Roddy, a field goal by Roddy’s fellow “soph” Sam Narducci, and a pair of foul shots by Leming. When the teams trapsed off to the locker rooms at halftime, the Dawgs were up 31–14.
The third quarter proved to be the most competitive 8 minutes of the game, as Heights put up 14 to Haddonfield’s 19. However, the Garnets were doomed by the fact that they were down by 17 when the second half began. The Dawgs would have had to have gone bone dry from the field in order for the Garnets to make up enough to get back into the game. Still, it was a fun quarter to watch, as the teams traded baskets much more evenly. Even so, after 3 and then a 2 by Heights, at the 4:26 mark, the Dawgs had twice as many points—42—as their opponents’ 21.
The play of the quarter, probably of the game, came right before the Garnets’ 3. It began with a poach of the ball by Del Duca and ended with Guveiyian stunning the crowd—my travel buddy Vic Wiedeman was still talking about it on the drive home—with a 360-degree reverse slam. Guveiyian would have another reverse layup with 2:07 left in the quarter that gave the Dawgs a 47–24 lead. Also in the 3rd, Mooney hit a pair of treys, Roddy hit one, as did Leming, who also got 2 from the foul line. At the end of the quarter, the Dawgs were taking the shine away from the Garnets and were up by 22, 50–28.
It was more of the same in the 4th. The Dawgs’ held the Garnets to 7 points while adding 16 more to their total. Guveiyian had 2 more under the bucket, Narducci got a 3 and a 2, as did senior Sean Beane, and Mooney and Leming each got another pair from the line. When the final buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had tarnished the Garnets by a score of 66–35. Guveiyian finished with 20, Leming had 16, and Mooney had 12.
In this odd Monday–Wednesday week of conference play, the Lindenwold Lions next came into the Dawgs’ den. It should be noted that the visitors seemed to be missing several players from the varsity squad. Haddonfield has been without Teddy Bond for a few games, but the other 14 Dawgs all made it into the 1/12 game. That being said, the Lions managed to get 9 points compared to the Garnets’ 5 in quarter 1. The Dawgs, got 22, with four out of their five starters contributing. Dante Del Duca got the Dawgs rolling with a 2. Matthew Guveiyian followed with a bucket under the basket, and his fellow Matt, Leming, hit a 3. When he stole the ball down at the other end, it led to a 2 by Tom Mooney, and with not even 3 minutes gone in the 1st, the Dawgs had jumped out in front 9–0.
Leming would get another 2 off a nice bounce pass from Guveiyian before Lindenwold got its first bucket of the game. At the 3:42 mark, the Dawgs were up by 9, 11–2. Leming hit another 3, the Lions got another basket, and then Mooney hit one from behind the arc. After a blocked shot by Guveiyian, Leming cut loose with another 3, and with 1:53 on the clock, the Dawgs were having no trouble keeping the Lions at bey and were on top by 16, 20–4. Lindenwold would get 5 in a row on a 3 and a 2 before the Dawgs’ scoring for the quarter ended as it had begun: with a 2 from Del Duca. The Lions put one more up and in, and when the quarter ended, it was a 22–9 lead for Haddonfield.
The Dawgs defense kicked into a higher gear in the 2nd, and the Lions only “mane”-aged to get two field goals in the next 8 minutes. Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman began inserting his non-starters into the game in the 2nd as well. Senior Carson Wolff, who is almost always first in off the bench, began the quarter on the court and finished with 5 points and added a lot of intensity into the mix. Sam Narducci and senior Jon Bucci also made their presence felt on the court, as the two each contributed a pair of field goals. Mooney had the hot shot in the 2nd, with 3 2’s and 2 from the foul line. At the half, the Dawgs had 44 points, twice as many as the Lions.
The third quarter was the last time any of the five starters saw any action. Guveiyian got three buckets in the paint plus a foul shot, and Mooney kept up his scoring with 3 more buckets as well. Leming got one more 3 and one more from the line. Wolff got his third field goal of the night and Daire Roddy got his first. This nice, even display of offense added up to 21 points, so going into the last quarter, the Dawgs were up by 43, 65–22
Even though the Lions were losing by quite a bit, it is worth noting on their behalf that they did not roll over and play dead. Instead, the team played as if the score was much closer, and they showed off some nice moves throughout the game. It would have been interesting to see how much more competitive the game would have been if Lindenwold had been sporting a full bench.
In the 4th, while the starters cooled their paws, their teammates kept up the offense and defense. Eight different players got the ball in the net. Narducci and Beane added 4 apiece. Sophomore Patrick Ryan hit 1-2 from the line and scored in the paint after an offensive rebound. Sophomore Jack Walters nailed a 3, Bucci and fellow senior Evan Rohlfing each hit 2, as did sophomore Zack Langan. And another soph, Nate Rohlfing, added 2 from the foul line. When it was all over, the Dawgs had kept the Lions out of the hunt with an impressive 87–30 victory.
Despite the very lopsided score, only Tom Mooney, with 18, and Matt Leming, with 15, reached double digits for the Dawgs This was due in large part to the way Paul Wiedeman, like his dad Dave before him, coaches. He wants his players to excel, to play hard, to learn from and help each other every game. If he had kept his five starters in and just interspersed his other few players who often come in off the bench, the Dawgs could easily have reached 100, probably more. Losing by 57 was not a fun experience for the Lindenwold Lions, but Paul Wiedeman made sure it wasn’t a humiliating one either. That’s one of the reasons he is such an exceptional coach and so well-respected in and out of the Colonial Conference.
Friday, 1/14, the Dawgs left the confines of their court to travel to Gloucester City High School to take on another pack of Lions. I watched from the comfort of my desk, but was having trouble getting the stream to come up, so I missed the initial possessions of both teams. When I joined the game, it was tied at 2. My sideline reporter, Mike Guveiyian, told me that Haddonfield got its first two points from the foul line courtesy Dante Del Duca. The Dawgs got another basket from the foul line by Mike G’s kid Matthew to take a 1-point, 3–2, lead with about 5:20 on the clock.
Both teams seemed a bit flat—and for the Dawgs, that was understandable, as this was their fourth game in 6 days. Almost 4 minutes went by before anyone got the ball in the net again. Luckily for Haddonfield, it was Del Duca’s shot, which made it 5–2, Dawgs, with 1:47 to go. The Lions answered with a basket at their end to tighten the game back to 1-point, 5–4, at 1:28. The Lions then picked-off the ball and went up and in to take the lead, 6–5, with 1 minute remaining in the quarter. Haddonfield did not score, and Gloucester City ran down the clock before taking and making another basket. However, they left just enough time for Del Duca to hit a 3 ahead of the buzzer, tying the game at 8.
Gloucester City inbounded the ball to start the 2nd quarter and did not score. The Dawgs missed at the other end but got the offensive board. The Lions almost got a steal but instead were charged with a foul, which sent Tom Mooney to the line. He made both shots to break the tie and put the Dawgs up by 2. Good “D” got the Dawgs back the ball and Guveiyian went up and in on a feed from Mooney to make it 12–8 with 5:46 on the clock. The two teams traded buckets, with the Dawgs’ coming on a nice drive by Mooney, which made it 14–10, Dawgs with 5 and change left in the half.
At the other end, Guveiyian and Carson Wolff applied good pressure but the ball went out of bounds off the Dawgs, and the Lions were able to get a basket to cut the Dawgs’ lead down to 2, 14–12, with 4:14 left in the half. Another ball that went out of bounds off Haddonfield gave Gloucester City possession. This time, the Lions hit a 3 to retake the lead 15–14, but a nice move by Mooney en route to the hoop flipped the edge back to Haddonfield, 16–15, with 2:45 on the clock. Under the Lions’ basket, Haddonfield blocked a shot but then failed to score.
Matt Leming elevated enough to just tip a shot from the Lions that was behind the arc, keeping it from going in. Haddonfield had two chances at their end but couldn’t get the ball in the net; Gloucester City had no better luck and then lost the ball out of bounds. Mooney’s shot did not drop, Wolff pulled down the offensive board, passing the ball back to Mooney, who this time hit a 3 with 55 seconds left in the half, which put the Dawgs up by 4, 19–15.
More tight defense from the Dawgs prevented the Lions from scoring, but the Lions returned the favor under the Haddonfield basket, causing the Dawgs to lose the ball out of bounds with 2.3 seconds left. Gloucester City ran a quick, effective play off the inbounds to score, so the half ended with the Dawgs only out in front by 2, 19–17.
The 3rd period possession arrow favored the Dawgs. Their first shot attempt was no good, Guveiyian tipped the ball back out to a teammate, but the Dawgs could capitalize on the second chance to score. However, a loose ball sent the teams diving to the floor, and Haddonfield came up with it. Del Duca got his own rebound after a missed basket, handing it off to Mooney, who drove in for a bucket. His shot made it 21–17, Haddonfield, and Mooney would add 2 more points from the foul line a few plays later. (One play featured a backcourt violation being called on Haddonfield that absolutely was not.) With 5:28 left in the 3rd, the Dawgs were up by 6, 23–17.
The Lions were playing stall ball because they were having a difficult time moving past the perimeter into the paint. However, a ball from behind the arc found the net, which made it a 23–20 game with 4:26 on the clock. Although the Dawgs did not answer with a basket, they got a group effort steal and Leming hit a 3 to get that 6-point lead back, 26–20, with 4:02 remaining in the period. Del Duca got a defensive board, Haddonfield did not score, then got a non-shooting foul assessed on them. The Lions got off another shot that did not drop, and Leming snatched the rebound, then helped to prevent a near-steal by the Lions. That allowed Del Duca to sink a 3, and with 2:04 to go in the 3rd, the Dawgs had their biggest lead of the game, at 29–20.
The Dawgs were caught off-guard thanks to a very nice backdoor drive by the Lions to make it a 7-point, 29–22, game with 1:22 on the clock. Haddonfield lost the ball on a bad pass, but Del Duca and Guveiyian combined for a pick-off with 37 seconds left. The Dawgs kept moving the ball until the clock was almost wound down, when Mooney hit a 2 to reclaim that 9-point lead and put the Dawgs up 31–22 as the 3rd ended.
Clearly this had not been exactly an offensive barrage for the Dawgs, who had beaten Haddon Heights by 31 and Lindenwold by 57. After scoring 8 in the 1st, 11 in the 2nd, and 12 in the 3rd, the Dawgs only got 5 points, all by Mooney, on the board in the 4th. After his opening basket to start the 4th, Mooney would get 3 from the foul line, going 1-2 in three trips. It was also the lowest-scoring quarter for the Lions, who got all 4 of their points from the foul line. When the buzzer (mercifully) sounded, the Dawgs had come away with a 10-point, 36–26 W.
Mooney accounted for 20 of the Dawgs’ 36 points. Del Duca knocked in 10. Guveiyian and Leming were the only other Dawgs to score, and each had 3.
Haddonfield will not play again until they travel to Audubon on Thursday, 1/20, for a Colonial Conference game against the Green Wave. It’s good that they have some extra days between games, as the team is looking, you guessed it, Dawg tired. Their other game of the week will take place at home, when they host Overbook on Saturday, 1/22, at 1 p.m.