By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today
The past several years, I have had to write about entire seasons in one article, with the articles running 20,000 words or more. This year, thanks to Haddonfield Today’s online presence, I was able to break down the 30-game season that saw the Dawgs amass a 20-10 record over 11 weeks. (The total word count of those 11 wrap-ups came in just under 29,000, but that is preferred over writing that much in one, um, shot.). So instead of rehashing the games, I’m going to do something a little different (and shorter, I hope!). I’m going to take a look at the eight Haddonfield players who saw the most minutes and pick out their best moments. I’ll also look at the best overall games from a team effort and list a few “best of” accomplishments.
The Last Four Quarters
But first, a quick review of the South Jersey Group 2 final versus Camden is in order. On Friday night, March 4 in a packed Camden gym, where student Dawg fans were squished in like sardines, these two teams played for the 5th time (not year, since 2021 did not have any playoff games due to COVID) in a row. No one was really expecting a different outcome than what came to pass, with the Panthers rather easily beating the Dawgs 78–45. However, the Dawgs shook off some first quarter jitters offensively (if a few more baskets that looked like they could have dropped in had found the net, the Dawgs might have gotten 55 points or more) and held the Panthers to what was their lowest score in the four South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.
Matt Leming went out with five of his trademark 3’s, four of which came in the 2nd quarter, to finish with 15. Matthew Guveiyian got the Dawgs first (and only) first quarter points from the foul line, picking up where he left off at the end of the Sterling semifinal game on 3/2, and finished with 12. Tom Mooney kept the team working well together on the floor with ball-handling help from Daire Roddy. Defensive tough guys Carson Wolff and Dante Del Duca helped to keep Camden from running up the score. Junior Teddy Bond had one of his best all-around games, putting 7 points on the board and looking like he will be a big piece of the 2022–23 Dawgs’ season. At the very end of the game when Sean Bean, Christian Raymond, Evan Rohlfing, and Sam Narducci came in, instead of going through the motions in the final minutes, each of them scored; Beane’s 2 came from the foul line, Raymond, Rohlfing, and Narducci scored from the floor, with Narducci’s a 3-pointer.
So while it wasn’t the ending that the Haddonfield team and their fans would have liked at Camden, I know all those who came out to cheer on and support the Dawgs were proud of not only the effort they put out during the 30th and final game of the season, but for how hard they played the other 29 games. Now, let’s take a look, in chronological order, at some of the most outstanding games either by a player or the team overall. And if you want to read more about a specific game, I’m indicating what week (1 to 11) I wrote about it, and you can find that week’s article on my Haddonfield Today page (https://haddonfield.today/?s=lauree+Padgett). To get a list of all the games and the scores, go to the Dawgs’ homepage: https://haddonfieldathletics.org/main/teamschedule/id/3589622/seasonid/4623182. You can filter out the practices to just have the actual games show up by clicking on Event Type under Full Schedule and selecting Sport.
Haddon Township, 12/7/21; Timber Creek, 12/18/21; West Deptford, 12/21/21
In the Dawgs’ first game and win of the season, senior Tom Mooney scored 18 of Haddonfield’s 39 points as they beat the Hawks 39–17.
Two games later versus West Deptford, which the Dawgs resoundingly won 82–24, three seniors, Matthew Guveiyian, Mooney, and Matt Leming all scored in double figures, putting 14, 13, and 22 points on the board, respectively.
Clearview Regional High School, 2/28/21; Egg Harbor Township, 12/30/21
The game against the Clearview Pioneers could have been called “Swoosh City.” The Dawgs sent 14 treys into the basket, 10 in the first half alone. Junior Teddy Bond let the 3-point barrage, knocking down 6; in the 2nd quarter, Bond went back-to-back-to-back and finished with 20. Mooney and Leming each had a trio of treys and contributed 15 and 16 points, respectively to Haddonfield’s 73 points. Defensively, the Dawgs held the Pioneers to 39.
While Egg Harbor Eagles would give the Dawgs their first loss, 42–59, of the early season, the Dawgs did rattle off 10 straight unanswered points to close out the 2nd quarter.
Collingswood, 1/4/22; Sterling, 1/6/22; St. Joseph’s High School Hammonton, 1/9/22
In the away game versus Collingswood, Leming’s 18, 11 of which came in the 2nd half, helped the Dawgs get back on the winning side, 56–30.
The first matchup against Sterling was at home and it was a seesaw game. The Dawgs had a 3-point, 30–27, lead going into the 4th but could not maintain that edge and lost by 3, 40–43. Senior Carson Wolff helped keep the Dawgs in the game, scoring the last basket of the 3rd, the first basket in the 4th after Sterling had tied it at 30 to put the Dawgs back in front, and then scoring the Dawgs’ final basket of the game off a pickoff.
I wish I’d seen the St. Joe’s Hammonton game that went into OT before the Dawgs pulled it out 50–46, with Leming and Mooney hitting some big foul shots at the end to secure the W.
Haddon Heights, 1/10/22; Lindenwold, 1/12/22; Gloucester City, 1/14/22
The Dawgs did not have much trouble when the Garnets came to town. By the end of the 1st, Haddonfield was up by 14, 19–5, and won by 31, 66–35. Maybe it was because his little sister Sara was using a scorebook for the first time, but Matthew Guveiyian had his best game of the season to date, with 20 points and a lot of rebounds. He had a few really nice buckets under the basket, but one had my travel buddy talking about it on the way home: Guveiyian did a 360-degree reverse slam. His fellow Matt, Leming, had 16, and Mooney contributed 12.
At the end of the week, the Dawgs took on Gloucester City Lions, the new kids in the Colonial Conference, at their den. Although it was one of our lower-scoring contests, and the Dawgs started off the first a bit slow overall, Dante Del Duca kept the Dawgs in the game, scoring 7 of the Dawgs’ first quarter points, including a 3 that tied the game ahead of the buzzer. He finished with 10. Mooney picked up the offense in the 2nd, putting 9 points on the board. He would score 11 in the 2nd half and finish with 20 of the Dawgs’ 36 points.
Audubon, 1/20/22; Overbrook, 1/22/22
These two games were quite contrasting, to put it mildly. The Dawgs jumped on the host Wave for one long ride, and when it was done, had put 15 players on the court, 10 of whom scored. Leading the way was Leming, who hit 6 3’s; five were in the 2nd quarter, and three came back-to-back-to-back. He was high scorer with 24. Mooney added 20, and Bond, who had missed three straight games due to COVID protocol, put 15 on the board, 9 coming in the 4th on a trio of treys. Altogether, the Dawgs hit 14 from behind the arc, with 10 coming in the first half.
Overbrook at Haddonfield was close from end to end. The Dawgs trailed by 3 after 8 minutes, were up by 1 at the half, were down by 2 after the 3rd, and with 1.7 seconds to go, were down by 2, 38–40. Oh, yeah, and the Rams had possession. All they had to do was inbound the ball and hold onto it. The first attempt ended in a timeout, as Bond and Guveiyian were making it hard for the Ram player to get the ball in. In the second attempt, the ball was sent high to bypass the Dawgs’ big guys. The target was a Ram waiting a few feet on the other side of the midcourt line. No one expected 5-11 Roddy to leap up and intercept the pass, but he did. And then he dribbled the ball over the line, planted his feet, and sent the ball in the air just ahead of the buzzer. It hit, as the saying goes, nothing but net. The Dawgs pulled off an improbable win, 40–41, and Roddy’s heroics made the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays the next day. Leming’s 17 were a big part of that win as well.
Woodbury, 1/25/22; Paulsboro, 1/27/22; Jeff Cooney Classic vs Rancocas, 1/29/22, canceled
The Thundering Herd of Woodbury saw a lot of lightning when they came to town, including a torrent of 3’s. 13 were unleashed in the first half. Four players hit double digits: Guveiyian had 19, Leming, 13; and Mooney and Narducci had 11 each. Narducci’s points all came in the 4th, when he lit up the board with 3 3’s and a 2. The Dawgs ran the Herd out of the gym with an 83–55 thrashing.
Haddon Township, 2/1/22; West Deptford, 2/3/22; Cherokee, 2/5/22
In the rematches of these 2 games, the Dawgs won both. Versus the Hawks, the score was actually the same, 39–27, and Mooney accounted for 19 of those 39 Dawg points off 8 field goals and 3 foul shots.
In the game against the Eagles, the Dawgs’ defense held their opponents scoreless in the 2nd quarter. Leming, who finished with 19, knocked in 9 in the first quarter and 10 in the 3rd as the Dawgs won handily, 52–27.
Collingswood, 2/8/22; Sterling, 2/10/22; Camden Catholic, 2/12/22
In the first contest between the Panthers at Collingswood, the Dawgs won by 24 points. The second meeting between these two fierce opponents was a much tougher game. After being down by 5 after the first 8 minutes, the Dawgs powered back to be up by 10, 27–17, thanks in part to 10 2nd quarter points by Mooney. Collingswood turned the tables in the 3rd and were up by 5, 36–31, going into the 4th. 3’s by Mooney and Leming got the Dawgs back in the game, but Wolff, with his dogged D and drives in the lane for 3 buckets, really helped swing momentum back to the Dawgs. After a basket by Guveiyian put the Dawgs up by 3, 48–45, with 3.5 seconds left, the game looked like it was over, but Collingswood nailed a 3 ahead of the buzzer. The Dawgs were headed to OT again. In the 4-minute mini quarter, the Dawgs scored 10, holding the Panthers to a 3-pointer. Wolff, who had 8 in the 2nd half, finished with 12. Guveiyian, who also had 8 in the 2nd half, had 10. Mooney pumped in 21.
Haddon Heights, 2/15/22; Pemberton Township, 2/17/22; Lenape, 2/19/22
This was a rough week for the Dawgs. After a scrappy win against the Garnets at Haddon Heights, the Dawgs had two non-conference games at home. They took a pounding in both, but the Lenape defeat deserves mention here because of the very hot shooting of Leming. For the second time in the season, he was on fire from behind the arc, which is where he made all 6 of his baskets. Guveiyian had 18 in the losing effort, scoring 14 in the first half.
BCIT Westhampton, 2/22/22; Kingsway Regional, 2/24/22
The game against the (oh surprise, Panthers) of BCIT was senior night, and all nine seniors—Sean Bean, Jon Bucci, Dante Del Duca, Matthew Guveiyian, Matt Leming, Tom Mooney, Christian Raymond, Evan Rohlfing, and Carson Wolff—saw playing time. Importantly, the Dawgs got a much-needed win, beating the Panthers by 12, 57–45. As they have done for most of their careers, Leming and Mooney led the way, putting up 17 and 18 points, respectively.
The Dawgs have had their share of twins take to the court during varsity games. In the late 2000s, Chris and Kevin Davis, who were nearly identical, made it very hard for me to be sure I was giving the right brother the right points in my scorebook—especially since they each shared a number in common on their uniform. From the 2011–12 to the 2014-15 seasons, the DePersia brothers, Rob and Nick, patrolled the floors, but luckily one looked like mom Janet, the other like dad Robert, and they wore numbers 3 and 12, respectively, so I was more confident in the points I gave each. (Plus I always conferred with their grandmother, Mae Batchelor, after the games to make sure our points tallied.) During the next 4 years when Mike DePersia was at the point, the Dawgs had their first set of triplets, Ben, Mike, and Chris Schroeter, although their senior year, Chris chose not to play. However, when they were all on the floor during JV games their junior year, it could get a bit confusing. Fast-forward to the final regular game of this Dawgs season versus Kingsway Regional High School. Tom Mooney started the game sporting his usual uni with the number 11 on it. At some point in the 4th, he came off the court. A short time later, I glanced up from my notepad and saw someone who looked suspiciously like Tom but who was wearing 44 on his back. Was I seeing double? Did Tom have an identical twin that no one had known about? Nope. For some reason (maybe it got ripped or bloody), his 11 top became ineligible, so to speak, so Tom had to “don” (hahaha) another uni to finish out the game. For me, that was the best part of the 4th quarter, when the Dawgs were outscored 16–6 after being tied 34–34 with Kingsway after 3.
Week 11: The NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 Playoffs:
Lower Cape May, 2/28/22; Middle Township, 3/2/22; Sterling, 3/4/22
The Dawgs’ first-round opponents, the Caper Tigers, were seeded 14th out of 16 teams, and fairly early on it was apparent why. The Dawgs were up by 19 after 2 quarters and won by 18, 54–26. Mooney had 22, scoring 13 points in the first half. Leming had 17, with 11 of his coming in the first half as well.
In the game against the, yes, Panthers, of Middle Township, the two teams were keeping the competition fairly close. With 5.8 seconds left in the half, the Dawgs were up by 4, 15–11 and had to inbound. They had a bit of trouble getting it in and then moving the ball up the court. It appeared the Dawgs weren’t going to get a shot off, but Guveiyian had other ideas. Somewhere in between the Middle Township foul line and midcourt, he let loose with a shot—that swooshed in ever so cleanly, putting another 3 on the board to make it 18–11, Haddonfield. The Dawgs went on to win 44–25. Guveiyian finished with 16 points, Mooney with 11.
I spent quite a bit of time providing the semifinal play-by-play in my Week 11 write-up, so if you missed the game, or want to relive it in your mind, feel free to go back and read my article. Here, I just want to replay the final seconds of what had literally been a neck-and-neck 31 minutes. I am picking the action up in the 4th quarter at the 47.1 mark. Sterling has just secured the rebound off a missed Haddonfield shot and is up by 1, 25–24. As Sterling begins to move the ball up court to its basket, Leming, who has already crossed midcourt, doubles back to help with the pressure defense, which pays off, as he is able to tip the ball for a steal. After a Haddonfield timeout with 36.9 on the clock, the Dawgs begin to work the floor to set up a scoring opportunity. With 22.4 on the clock, Mooney drives into the lane but is denied. Guveiyian grabs the ball and goes up hard for the basket. The ball does not go in but he is fouled. At the line with 18.5 seconds on the clock, Guveiyian’s first shot ties the game. After a timeout by Sterling, he makes his second shot, putting the Dawgs up by 1, 26–25. The Dawgs have 2 fouls to give. Del Duca is called for the first foul, and Leming gets called for the second foul with 7.1 seconds left in the game. Sterling is circling the outer edges of the lane, looking for an opening. With the clock running down, Sterling attempts to drive the ball up and in, but Mooney blocks the shot. Guveiyian closes in on the ball and clutches it to his chest. The buzzer sounds. The Dawgs have gotten redemption over the Silver Knights, who beat them twice to claim the Colonial crown. All four starting seniors made the difference in the 4th. Del Duca hit a huge 3 to tie the game at 21 early in the quarter. A Leming trey would temporarily put the Dawgs up 24–21. Leming’s steal gave the Dawgs back the ball; Guveiyian’s two foul shots gave the Dawgs the lead for the last time; Mooney’s blocked shot kept the Silver Knights from a trifecta beating of the Dawgs in one season, and Guveiyian’s rebound made sure there was no second shot.
A Few More Notes
• The Dawgs scored 80 points or more three times: 12/21 when they whipped West Deptford 82–24; 1/12, when they clobbered Collingswood 87–30; and 1/25, when they wrung out Woodbury 83–55.
• The Dawgs’ longest winning streak was eight games and went from 1/14 through 1/25.
• The Dawgs were 2–1 in OT games, coming out on top, 50–46 in the 1/9 game against St. Joe’s of Hammonton and clipping Collingswood 58–51 on 2/8. They lost to Camden Catholic by 2, 53–55, on 2/12.
• I was going to do a Top 5 Plays of the season but decided to let you readers pick your own favorites.
See everybody at the first game in December!