By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today
If you added up the Dawgs’ points and their opponents’ points for the two games Haddonfield played this past week, the first against Clearview Regional High School in the Haddonfield Invitational, the second versus Egg Harbor Township in the Haddons Showcase, and divided the totals in half, the Dawgs would have come out on top in both contests. Alas, that is not how it works. So after pummeling the Pioneers on Tuesday, 12/28, 73–39, the Dawgs never really got airborne in their matchup against the Eagles on Thursday, 12/30, and suffered their first loss of the early season, 42–59. They are now 4–1 overall and 2–0 in Colonial Conference play.
It isn’t too exciting to write up either a blowout, which the first game clearly was, nor four quarters when the Dawgs were just not getting it done offensively or even defensively. Hence, this is not going to be one of my longer articles. Instead, I’ll share the highlights of the 34-point victory that sent the Pioneers packing and then take a look at the best part of the Dawgs’ 17-point defeat against the Eagles.
The Dawgs got off to a very hot start in Tuesday’s game. Their first five baskets were from behind the arc (aka 3-point line), and I honestly can’t remember that happening very often, if at all. Teddy Bond got the 3-point barrage started after both teams missed their first scoring opportunities. After another Dawgs’ miss, Tom Mooney stole the ball and went cross-court and put up his first 3 of the game. Clearview got 2 points back from the foul line before Matt Leming nailed a 3 to put Haddonfield up by 8, 12–4 with 4:35 left in the quarter.
Another Dawg foul put the Pioneers back on the line, where both shots were again made, but Mooney’s second 3 made it 15–6, Dawgs. The Pioneers finally got a 3 of its own, and Haddonfield finally had to “settle” (think about it a second and you’ll get it) for a drive up and in by Matt Guveiyian, and with 3:31 on the clock, the Dawgs were leading by 8, 17–9. Clearview got its second 3 to cut the lead to 17–12 before Daire Roddy joined the 3-point fun to give the Dawgs back their 8-point cushion at 20–12. A pickoff by Roddy led to a 2 by Mooney, which would be the final basket by either team. When the buzzer sounded to end the quarter, the Dawgs had a double-digit, 10-point edge up 22–12.
The second quarter wasn’t as offensively explosive as the first, which had seen the Dawgs put 6 3’s in the net. However, Bond put on his own little 3-point show to start it off, hitting back-to-back-to-back 3’s while the Dawgs kept the Pioneers scoreless. After 3 number 3 dropped in, the Dawgs had gone from being up by 10 to being up by 19, 31–12, after only 2 minutes.
Clearview’s mini-drought ended with a 2 and then the Pioneers got 1 from the foul line, hitting the front end of a 1+1, to make it 31–15 with 5 and change left in the half. Another Roddy 3 and a foul shot by Jon Bucci pushed the Dawgs’ lead to 20, 35–15. Clearview would get the last 2 baskets of the half, and when the teams headed off the court, the Dawgs were still up by 16, 35–19. Ten of those 35 points came off 3’s.
Clearview had its best 8 minutes of offense in the 3rd, putting 13 points on the board to Haddonfield’s 17. This time, more 2’s (five) went in than 3’s (two). Guveiyian got three baskets in the paint and one from the foul line, while Mooney and Leming each added in a 2 and 3. That gave the Dawgs back a 20-point lead going into the last quarter of action.
In the 4th, the Dawgs saw some more action on the foul line; 7 of their 21 points were made there. Mooney and Leming again each got a 3 and a 2, with Mooney knocking in 2 from the line and Leming, 3. Roddy got a basket, and sophomore Patrick Ryan hit 2 from the line as well. When it was all over, the Dawgs had not given a very friendly welcome to the Pioneers, taking them down 73–39. Bond, who racked up 6 of the Dawgs’ 14 3’s, finished with 20 points. Leming followed with 16, and Mooney, 15.
Haddonfield went into Thursday’s game missing one of its starters and one of its first-off-the-bench players. However, it would be a discredit to Egg Harbor Township to say that’s why the Dawgs lost the game. The truth was, the Dawgs’ shots were not finding the net nearly as easily as they had two days earlier. That was due in part to how well the Eagles played defensively, as the Dawgs weren’t getting the same open looks. But when they did, not enough of those shots swooshed in.
The Dawgs fell behind by 4 to start the game, but got a bucket by Roddy before the Eagles got another basket to go up by 4 again, 6–2. A drive by Mooney and a basket by Leming tied the game at 6 with 1:41 left in the 1st. However, Egg Harbor would get a trio of 3’s to a pair of 2’s by Mooney and Bucci, giving them a 15–10 lead to finish the quarter. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t get any better the next 8 minutes. In the 2nd quarter, the Dawgs only put 7 points on the board compared to the Eagles’ 14, so at the half, they were trailing by double digits, 17–21.
But remember I said there was something to cheer about in this game. It happened in the 3rd quarter with the Dawgs behind by 24, 19–43 with just under 3 minutes left. Leming hit a 3, Egg Harbor didn’t score; then Leming hit another 3. Again, the Eagles did not score. Mooney drew a foul going up and in and hit both of his shots from the line. With 1:38 left in the quarter, the Dawgs were now within 16, 27–43. And they weren’t done their scoring run. After Egg Harbor lost the ball out of bounds, the Dawgs didn’t score, but Mooney’s steal set up Leming for another 3, and with 47 seconds to go, it was now a 13-point game, with the suddenly cold Eagles’ lead cut down to 43–30. This time Roddy picked off the ball and scored and with 8 seconds remaining in the 3rd, the Dawgs had rattled off 13 straight points to cut the deficit to 11, 32–42. A 3 on the buzzer by Egg Harbor stopped the bleeding and put them back up by 14, 46–32.
While the rally fell short and the Dawgs ended up only getting 10 more points in the last 8 minutes, losing 42–59, it still reminded the fans—and the team—that the Dawgs never give up, even when they are getting outplayed. That “keep on fighting” mentality is the reason the Dawgs won back-to-back state titles in 2018 and 2019 and how they went 25–5 in 2020, winning the Colonial Conference in what was to be a rebuilding year, and gave Coach Wiedeman his 500th career victory in the South Jersey Group 2 semi-finals versus Haddon Heights, which the Dawgs won on a steal and basket by Connor Fell 35–33.
So, you can bet that the team will have learned some valuable lessons that might just pay off as the season progresses and the playoffs loom.
COVID (and snow forecasts) notwithstanding, Haddonfield is scheduled to travel to Collingswood Tuesday, 1/4, for a 7 p.m. game and to host Sterling on Thursday, 1/6. Right now, the Collingswood school district is staring 2022 virtually, and as of this writing, I have not been able to confirm if Tuesday’s game will be played, and if so, whether fans will be allowed in the gym. You can check the Dawgs’ online schedule for updates (https://haddonfieldathletics.org/main/teamschedule/id/3589622/seasonid/4623182) and also check to see if Collingswood will be live-streaming the game by going to its YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwg3lU6Eo6oija4v2y9sDDQ. Also currently on the slate is a game on Sunday, 1/9, which is a 3 p.m. game at Holy Spirit High School versus St. Joseph High School, Hammonton, as part of the Seagull Classic.