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Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs win 20 games, make it to SJ Group 2 final

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 ( To get a list of all the games and the scores, go to the Dawgs’ homepage: 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.

Week 1:

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.

Week 2:

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.

Week 3:

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.

Week 4:

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.

Week 5:

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.

Week 6:

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.

Week 7:

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.

Week 8:

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.

Week 9:

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.

Week 10:

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!

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs dig in for playoff time

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

The last day of February, 2/28, began that time of year for New Jersey high school hoops when every game can be the last one of the season. You win, you advance; you lose, you’re done. So, for teams and fans alike, it’s an adrenalin-filled few weeks when you can’t wait for game time and yet you have a knot in your stomach.

As the #3 seed in South Jersey Group 2, the Dawgs would be playing host to their opponents for at least the first and second rounds, as the way the brackets work, they would be going up against lower-seeded teams. On 2/28, the Lower Cape May squad, aka the Caper Tigers (which makes a lot more sense than what I thought I was hearing our play-by-play announcer Mark Hershberger saying: the Paper Tigers), seeded 14 (out of 16) came to play against the Dawgs. And let’s just say it wasn’t a caper for Lower Cape May.

Senior Matt Leming got the offense “swooshing” with a 3 with just less than a minute gone in the first quarter. A steal by senior Tom Mooney that turned into a basket made it 5–0. Lower Cape May got on the board with 2 at the 5:18 mark, but then the Dawgs went on a 7–0 run, with Leming and Mooney hitting 2’s and then Leming nailing another 3. With 2 minutes and change left in the quarter, the Dawgs were up by 10, 12–2. After the Capers got another bucket, Mooney drove up and in again and got fouled. His foul shot made it 15–4 with 1.15 on the clock.

After both teams turned the ball over, Lower Cape May got their third basket of the night, and so did Mooney, just ahead of the buzzer. Going into the second quarter, the Dawgs were sporting a 11-point, 17–6, lead.

Quarter 2 was more of the same. Mooney got another pair of 2’s; Leming knocked down another 3. Senior Carson Wolff and junior Teddy Bond got into the game and contributed to the scoring, with Wolff driving in for a basket and Bond getting 2 from the foul line and one from behind the arc. While adding 14 to their tally, the Dawgs held the Caper Tigers to 6 again, so at the half, the Dawgs were now cruising along, up by 19, 31–12.

In the second half, the Dawgs offense slowed a bit, but defensively, they continued to keep the Caper Tigers from doing much damage. When the final buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had sent Lower Cape May back to the shore for the winter, winning by 18, 54–26. Mooney and Leming combined for 22 and 17, respectively, meaning they outscored the Caper Tigers on their own by 13 points.

Next up were the Panthers (and why are there so many teams with “panthers” as their nicknames?) of Middle Township. Over the decades I have been going to Haddonfield games (back when the team’s uni bottoms were short and they were the Haddons, then the Dogs), Middle Township has ended more than one playoff run for the Red and Black, so I always have a bit of trepidation when the two teams have to face each other. The Panthers play in the Cape-Atlantic League, and when I checked their schedule, I saw that they had a similar record in and out of their division; 17–7 overall to Haddonfield’s 18–9 record and 14–3 in the league, compared to Haddonfield’s 12–3 Colonial Conference record. Both teams had also experienced a so-so last few weeks. I therefore concluded that this might be another down-to-the-wire Haddonfield–Middle Township matchup.

In this contest, the Panthers got off to a 3–0 start after the Dawgs failed to score on two chances during their first possession. However, after neither team scored in their next trips up and down the court, with Leming getting the defensive board for Haddonfield, Mooney went up and in for 2 and got fouled. His foul shot tied the game at 3 with 5:27 on the clock. Senior Dante Del Duca’s pickoff lead to another Mooney basket on a hard drive in the paint, putting the Dawgs ahead by 2, 5–3 with just under 5 minutes to go in the first quarter.

A few plays later at the 3:54 mark, Middle Township retook the lead with another 3. The lead flipped back to Haddonfield about 70 seconds later on a feed from Leming to senior Matthew Guveiyian, who also drove hard to the basket. At the other end, Guveiyian got knocked down while guarding the net, but was rewarded for his efforts by causing a Middle Township turnover. After sophomore Daire Roddy pulled down an offensive board, Mooney got his third field goal of the quarter, putting the Dawgs up by 3, 9–6, with 1:44 to go. As often happens when a team tries to hold onto the ball to get off a quarter-ending shot, the Panthers lost the ball, leaving Leming, who retrieved it, with no other choice but to make a half-court lunge ahead of the buzzer.

Guveiyian picked up where Mooney, who put 7 on the board in the first quarter, left off. He accounted for 7 of the 9 points the Dawgs put up on the board, with Leming adding 2 from the foul line. Those shots came about after a Middle Township player was assessed a technical foul after scoring a basket and taunting the Dawgs about the fete. Naturally, having the choice of who to put on the line, Dawg coach Paul Wiedeman gave the job to Leming, as he is a very reliable foul shooter. Leming completed his assignment with flying colors, or at least, sinking baskets. At that point, the Dawgs were up 15–1 with 1:41 until the half.

After a ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield, Middle Township took a timeout. Play resumed with 1:16 on the clock. While running the clock down yet again to try for another last-second shot, the Panthers nearly turned the ball over. After a missed shot, the Panthers picked up a foul with 5.8 seconds left. The Dawgs inbounded under the Panther basket and were having a bit of trouble getting the ball over the midcourt line. With about a second on the clock, Guveiyian, with his feet planted somewhere between the Panther foul line and the midcourt line, let the ball fly. It dropped in, nothing but net, to give the Dawgs an 18–11 edge as the half ended. Needless to say, Dawg fans, after they collectively picked their jaws up off the bottom of the bleachers, started screaming their heads off.

In the 2nd half, the Dawgs really began to stymie the Panthers, who just kept passing and passing the ball on the perimeter practically every possession, as they often could not find a path into the paint and were forced to take outside shots. Haddonfield’s 1973 state championship MVP and courtside analyst Tom Betley commented after the game that the experience of Haddonfield, which can put five seniors on the floor at one time, was too much for a Panthers’ team largely made up of underclassmen.

Along with the stifling defense, the Dawgs also started to heat up offensively. Roddy made it 20–11 at the 7:10 mark. The Panthers answered with a 3,which would be their only basket of the quarter, to get to within 6, 20–14, about 20 seconds later. Back-to-back 3’s by the Matts, first by Guveiyian (he was a little closer to the basket this time), then Leming, gave the Dawgs their biggest lead, 26–14, with 3:44 on the clock, causing Middle Township to call a timeout. That did not help much. Mooney got his 4th bucket of the game, and in the Dawgs’ next possession, he was fouled in the act of shooting and sent both shots into the net to make it 30–14 with 2:09 left in the quarter. The quarter ended with Del Duca launching back-to-back 3’s, giving the Dawgs a 24-point, 36–14, advantage going into the last quarter.

In the 4th, the Dawgs’ offense slowed to more of a trot than a race. Four seniors, Sean Beane, Christian Raymond, Evan Rohlfing, and Jon Bucci, got some action. The Panthers also started getting some more shots into the basket, but it was all for naught. When the buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had won by 19 points, 44–25. Guveiyian finished with 16, and Mooney added 11.

This got the Dawgs to 19–9 overall and to the Group 2 semi-finals. The question was, who would they be going up against? As it turned out, their Colonial rival Sterling eked out a 1-point, 54–53, victory over Cinnaminson. That meant the Dawgs would be taking on the Silver Knights for the third time this season, and, since the Silver Knights had been seeded #2, the Dawgs would have to face Sterling on their home court. In chatting with assistant and JV coach Anthony Parenti after the Panthers game, we both were of the mind that beating a team three straight times is never easy. Plus, we both agreed that in their first two meetings, the Dawgs could have won both games. Parenti told me, “If we play this kind of defense, I like our chances.”

Friday’s game was scheduled for 5:30. My travel buddy and I decided we should leave by 4:15, not just to give us extra time due to rush hour traffic, but because a large crowd was expected at the Sterling gymnasium. A basketball mom actually checked in with me Friday afternoon to make sure I had a ticket, as she had gotten word the game was sold out. Luckily for me, my travel buddy had secured a ticket for me when securing his own. When we arrived at Sterling, the parking area along the walkway to the gym entrance barely had any cars in it. When we got inside, the gym seemed closer to empty than full. Where was everybody? Nick DePersia (2015), now an assistant boys basketball coach at Triton (twin bro Rob is now an assistant for the Div. 1 Fordham Rams men’s team), had been at the Middle Township game. After he arrived at Sterling, Nick was wondering the same thing, as he hadn’t expected to walk right in and get a ticket. “Remember the lines at Camden games?”  he asked. We figured it was just that we had gotten to the high school extra early, but in actuality, even by 5:30, it would be pressing it to say the gym was crowded.

Speaking of former Dawgs, Andrew Gostovich, a crucial component of the Dawgs’ 2020 Colonial Conference championship team, is now playing for the Red Devils of Dickinson. Given an unexpected 3 days of remote learning last week, he got the OK from parents Theresa and Steve to come home so he could go cheer on the Dawgs Wednesday and Friday. It was nice to see the three Gostoviches both nights as well. A bit into the game, Matt Smart (2016) said hello to me as he made his way into the bleachers. It’s always great to see Dawg alums coming out to games, especially during the playoffs.

Those in attendance and those who watched on Sterling’s live stream saw a game that was close and tense for 4 quarters. (One of the announcers on the live stream said, “This has basically been a tie game for 4 quarters.” I confess to knowing this because I wanted to watch the game again and did so on Saturday night. If you missed it or also want a replay, go to Sterling’s YouTube channel, or click on this link: Just note that the stream starts with the warmups, so you have to fast-forward about 20 minutes for the game to begin.) Another confession: As I was getting my stat- and game-keeping paraphernalia out of my red-and-black backpack, I realized that instead of being a brand-new one, the steno pad on which I scribble the game play-by-play was one from a few years back and only had one blank side. The day before when I had gone into the bag where I keep extra pens, scorebooks, and pads, I hadn’t noticed that of the two steno pads inside, one was blank and one wasn’t. As I was contemplating what to do and eyeing the signs taped to the bleachers a few rows below me reserving them for the Haddonfield team, I did a quick inventory. I had the team roster taped to the inside back of my scorebook, and over it, taped only at two corners, I had the schedule, which was about a page and a half long. I decided those blank sides would get me through the game without me needing to “borrow” the signs. And they did, with about an inch to spare.

In Haddonfield’s first two games versus Sterling, the team had been in a position to win. In the home game on January 6, the Dawgs went into the 4th up by 3, 30–27, and ended up losing by the same amount, 40–43. In the more recent game at Sterling on February 10, the Dawgs had been up 15–2 after 8 minutes and were ahead by 8, 18–10, at the half. That game, the team just shut down offensively and only scored 7 second-half points, losing by 18, 25–43. The Dawgs, their coaches, and their fans were looking for a different outcome. Would the third time be the charm? It would take all 32 minutes of the game to find out.

The tipoff went to Sterling. Thirteen seconds later, Guveiyian stole the ball but Sterling returned the favor about 13 seconds later. Guveiyian created another steal at the 6:53 mark. Mooney got fouled trying to score and made 1–2 from the line to put the first point of the game on the board. Sterling answered with a 3 to go up by 2, 3–1, with 6:24 on the clock.

After the ball went out of bounds off the Silver Knights, the Dawgs failed to score and then had the ball go out of bounds off them. Both teams, who were looking a bit tight, turned the ball over again on their next possessions. Another Haddonfield steal came at the 4:22 mark but the Dawgs could not take advantage of it. After the Dawgs got called for their first (non-shooting) foul, Sterling was again kept from getting the ball into the basket. Del Duca got the defensive board and a 3 attempt from Guveiyian, which looked good, went halfway down and came back out.

Sterling still couldn’t get a basket, and after pulling down the defensive rebound, Mooney did his trademark drive down the court and went up and in for 2. His foul shot put the Dawgs back out in front 4–3 with 2:09 left in the first. A combination of good defense by Haddonfield and unsuccessful shooting by Sterling kept the Dawgs out in front. Del Duca grabbed the rebound and his shot also then went in and out. Guveiyian’s hustle for the ball caused a jump ball and gave possession back to the Dawgs with 1:23 on the clock. The Dawgs’ second shot of that possession did not drop.

At the Sterling basket, one of their shooters was left wide open and hit a 3, giving Sterling back the lead, 6–4, with 1:02 remaining. The Dawgs were running down the clock, looking for a good scoring op. The shot made with 38.3 seconds left did not go in, but Del Duca stole it back, passing it to Mooney. He was fouled again while shooting. He made both foul shots to tie the game at 6, which is how the first quarter ended.

It was hard to believe, but there was less scoring in the second 8 minutes than in the first 8. Neither team scored for more than 4 minutes. That doesn’t mean the Knights and the Dawgs weren’t going after rebounds, diving for loose balls or stealing them, and trying to open up scoring lanes in the paint or taking shots from further back. The balls weren’t dropping, and that was in part due to how well both were guarding their opponent’s ball movements.

With 3:36 to go until the half, Sterling found a way up and in to take a 2-point, 8–6, lead. At the Dawgs’ end, Sterling stole the ball and was fouled, but neither shot went in from the line. Then came more rebounds, more missed shots, more balls going out of bounds, and more travel calls. (There were more moving violations assessed in this game than I can remember in a while, but I think that’s because both teams were often playing stall ball while trying to break the other’s press.)

Another shooting foul was called against Haddonfield with 1:11 left in the half. This time, Sterling made 1–2 to push the lead to 3, 9–6. The second shot missed, and Guveiyian got the rebound. At the other end, Mooney, finding no opening, passed the ball back out to Del Duca, who was behind the arc. His shot found the net, and with 53 seconds to go, Haddonfield’s first basket of the 2nd brought the game even at 9. As long as it had taken between baskets for most of the quarter, Sterling almost immediately answered with a 3 with 21.3 seconds on the clock. Haddonfield’s last shot ahead of the buzzer did not go it the net. As the teams headed for their locker rooms, it was a one-possession game with Sterling on top 12–9.

Haddonfield inbounded the ball to start the third quarter. Leming did not score, perhaps because he was knocked to the ground. However, no foul was called. After good “D” by Guveiyian and a blocked shot by Del Duca, Leming got the rebound. A pickoff by Sterling was followed by a pickoff by Mooney.

Then with 6:57, an interesting skirmish occurred on the court at the Dawgs’ end. Even after rewatching this a few times on the Sterling feed, I’m not sure exactly what transpired, but it revolved around Del Duca and a Silver Knight both going after a rebound. Maybe some words were exchanged, but another Sterling player then stepped into the mix and pushed Del Duca. At first, it looked as if that Sterling player was being assessed a technical foul. But then Del Duca, for reasons unknown to me, also got a technical foul, which made the whole ado a wash. That resulted in a chorus of boos going up from the Dawg fans.

In a bit of irony, Sterling lost the ball off a steal by, yes, Del Duca, who my travel buddy labeled a “ball magnet,” as the whole game, he always seemed to be where the ball was on the court. Sterling was called for a foul and the Dawgs remained scoreless. A second-chance shot off an offensive board gave the Silver Knights a 5-point, 14–9, lead with 5:53 on the clock. The Dawgs really needed a score. After Leming got an offensive board and Sterling got its 4th foul of the half, Leming got that much needed basket off a feed from Guveiyian to make it 14–11, Sterling, with 5:13 on the clock.

The Silver Knights did not score, but the Dawgs lost the ball on an errant pass. Second verse, same as the first: Sterling did not score, and neither did Haddonfield. With 3:45 on the clock, Guveiyian grabbed hold of a loose ball. After a missed shot, Roddy got a big offensive board because it resulted in a 3 from Guveiyian to tie the game at 14 with 3:01 left in the quarter. A timeout from the Sterling coach earned a “Talk it over” from the Haddonfield student section, who had been going head-to-head all night with the Sterling student section. That matchup was pretty much a dead heat as well. Sterling had two chances to score after inbounding the ball, but neither shot went in the net. Del Duca got the board off the second missed shot and passed it to Mooney, who drove into the paint and scored, putting the Dawgs in front for the first time since the first quarter, 16–14, with 2 minutes and change left.

Good D, including a combo blocked shot by the Matts, kept Sterling from scoring. Under the Dawg basket, Guveiyian pulled down an offensive board and fought hard to go up and in. His basket made it 18–14, Dawgs, with 1:17 to go. Sterling shushed the Haddonfield fans in short order, however, by driving in for 2, then stealing the ball and scoring again, all within 10 seconds. On the second basket, Sterling was fouled. The foul shot put the Silver Knights back on top by 1, 19–18. It looked as if Mooney was going to get a chance on the foul line with 15.4 to go, but the refs called the foul non-shooting, which earned another round of hearty boos from the Dawg contingent. The quarter ended with the score still 19–18 in favor of the Silver Knights.

When the 4th quarter started, everyone in the gym knew in 8 minutes, one team’s season would be over. Haddonfield inbounded, with Roddy passing it into Mooney. A missed shot gave the ball back to Sterling, who scored to go up by 3, 21–18, with 6:44 remaining in the game. That is, until Del Duca launched a 3 that found the net to tie it at 21 at the 6:27 mark. That gave the team a boost as well as the fans, who had been getting a bit antsy in the stands, since Sterling had scored the last three baskets before the Del Duca trey.

The Dawgs held the Knights scoreless their next possession. After the Dawgs missed a shot and Del Duca got the offensive rebound, Sterling called a 30-second timeout with 5:45 to go. Wolff inbounded the ball, Del Duca got another board, and Leming hit a 3 as Haddonfield regained the lead, 24–21, with 5:24 showing on the board. Dawg fans were ecstatic, not knowing his 3 would be the last points the Dawgs scored for more than 4 minutes …

At the other end, what clearly did not look like a foul in the act of shooting was deemed one by the refs, putting Sterling on the line. Both shots were good, making it a 1-point game again, with the Dawgs still on top, 24–23, with 4:52 to go. A traveling call went against Guveiyian, even though it looked like he was tripped. A ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield at the 4:01 mark, and 30 seconds later, Sterling retook the lead, scoring a 2 off an offensive rebound.

The Dawgs’ shot did not go in. At the other end, two Sterling attempts failed. Leming got the board and a shot by Mooney rolled out instead of in. It was still 25–24, Sterling, and now the clock had ticked down to 2:11. Sterling kept passing the ball, looking for an opening that the Dawgs would not give them. That defense forced a loose ball, and I think four out of the five Dawgs on the court dove for the ball. Wolff came up with it. The clock was now down to 1:33.

Haddonfield was charged with an offensive foul with 1:24 left in the game. Sterling called a timeout. Off the inbounds, the ball magnet, aka Del Duca, deflected the ball and passed it to Mooney. The Dawgs whittled seconds off the clock. At the 47.1 mark, a shot went up and did not drop. The Silver Knights got the rebound. As they began to move the ball up the court, Leming, who had already passed the midcourt line, doubled back to help with the press. Leaping up, he was able to tip and then snatch the ball with 40.4 seconds left in the game. A few seconds later, with 36.9 on the clock, a timeout was called by Haddonfield.

After the inbounds, the Dawgs worked the ball to set up a play. With 22.4 on the clock, Mooney drove in the lane but was unable to get the ball to drop. Guveiyian immediately grabbed the rebound and fought to go back up and in. His shot did not drop, but he was fouled. With 18.5 seconds left in the game, Guveiyian stepped to the line. He took a deep breath and released the ball. It dropped in. The game was tied at 25. Sterling, hoping to rattle Guveiyian and to set a play up off either the rebound or the inbound, called a timeout. Guveiyian took the ball again, with his four teammates behind, rather than alongside him, and made his second shot. It went in. The Dawgs were now up by 1, 26–25.

At half-court with 14.4 seconds left in the game, Sterling called another timeout. The scoreboard showed that Haddonfield had two fouls to give before it would be a 1+1 opportunity from the foul line. Del Duca made that first foul with 10.2 seconds remaining. Leming was charged with the second with the clock down to 7.1 seconds. (I will interject here that in watching the stream last night, I wasn’t totally sure if Leming committed a foul or if Sterling used its last timeout.) Sterling maneuvered for the final shot. It was a drive to the basket. Mooney used his whole body to block it. In the dive for the ball, Guveiyian got to it first, got it in both hands, and hugged it to him. The buzzer sounded. Unlike their first two matchups, the Dawgs had stayed in the game for 4 quarters and had prevailed. They would advance to the South Jersey Group 2 championship game on Monday and prove that it really is hard to beat a team three times in one season.

In this extremely low-scoring game, no one on the Dawgs hit double digits. But every point mattered. Mooney, who accounted for all 6 of the Dawgs’ first quarter points, finished with 8 and added four steals. Guveiyian wound up with 7 points and 9 rebounds. Del Duca had 6 points off 2 3’s to go with 6 rebounds. Leming had 5 points and started what was the most crucial juncture of the game, as he took Sterling by surprise, re-crossing midcourt to help his teammates apply pressure, and causing the turnover on the steal, the shot attempt by Mooney, the rebound by Guveiyian, and the foul by Sterling the put Guveiyian on the line.

As devastating as the final seconds were for the Sterling players and their fans, the staff showed great sportsmanship, allowing the Dawgs to pose for a group shot under the scoreboard that was still on and reflecting the game’s outcome. One staff member even went over to the reporter who was still asking Guveiyian questions after the one interviewing Mooney had finished so Matthew could join his mates in the group photo.

I reached out to Guveiyian today to ask him about those final few minutes and his foul shots. He said the players were calm and knew they could work it to secure the win, noting, ‘We gave it our all.” As for the foul shots, he told me, “Oh my God. I knew these were the two biggest shots of my career.” But he forced himself to calm down and relax to get in the right mindset. Once the first shot went in, he had a sigh of relief. The timeout by Sterling was helpful rather than adding to the pressure. “I was able to collect myself” before the second shot attempt. He called Mooney’s block “huge,” as it allowed him to grab the ball and hold onto it.

The win against Sterling accomplished two things. It gave the Dawgs 20 wins for the season, something that looked inevitable midway through February and then began looking doubtful by the end of February. It also provided them with some redemption over their Colonial rival who had gotten the best of them in two games that Haddonfield had the chance to win. Well done, Dawgs!!

Tonight, the Dawgs will play yet another set of Panthers, those representing Camden High School. Ranked number 1 in the state, Camden has only lost twice all year—to out-of-state schools. In the playoffs, the team has won its three games by 54, 34, and 40 points, respectively. Game time is 7 p.m., but tickets must be procured in advance online. I am not sure if any remain, but you can check in with the Haddonfield athletic department to find out.  No matter what the odds, you can bet the Dawgs will not go down without a fight. And with a team that doesn’t give up, you just never know what can happen.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs have an up-and-down week

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today.

As the regular season wound down last week, the Haddonfield boys basketball team only had two games, both non-conference matchups at home, on the docket. The first, on Tuesday, 2/22, was Senior Night and saw the Dawgs take on the Panthers of BCIT Westampton. Two nights later, the Dawgs went up against the Dragons of Kingsway Regional High School. Both games were high-volume and entertaining, but did not result in wins. I’ll break both down momentarily.

First, I want to remind everyone that tonight (Monday, 2/28) begins the NJSIAA hoops playoffs. It offers a rare chance to catch both the girls and boys, representing South Jersey Group 2,  at home. The girls, ranked 8th, will be facing 9th-seeded Point Pleasant Boro at 5 p.m. Then, the 3rd-seeded boys will be going head-to-head against Lower Cape May, the 14th seed.  To quote our unmatched play-by-play announcer, Mark Hershberger, I encourage everyone to come out and “make some noise for your Daaaawwwwggggs!!!”

Now, back to last week’s recaps.

Senior Night is always a bittersweet game. It’s not always the last home game of the season, but it’s usually one of the final ones before the post-season. when the motto becomes “Won or done.” Almost always, it’s a chance for the seniors who don’t start or are not in first off the bench to get some well-earned recognition and extra playing time. (The way I look at it, to be willing to be part of a team—attending all the practices, making all those bus rides, and knowing that your playing time is going to be limited—shows just how much you love the game of basketball and being part of something bigger than yourself and your ego.) Also almost always, Coach Paul Wiedeman honors his seniors by having them on the court for the tip-off. This proved a bit trickier than usual, as the Dawgs roster boasts nine 12th graders, meaning Wiedeman had to leave four sitting on the bench to begin with. But he made sure that all this seniors got in the game and had a chance to shine.

Carson Wolff, Matthew Guveiyian, Dante Del Duca, Tom Mooney, and Matt Leming were the five seniors who took to the court for the opening minutes. Guveiyian tipped the ball to Del Duca, who passed it to Leming. He went up and in for 2. At the other end, Guveiyian blocked the shot, but BCIT got the rebound and a bucket to tie it with less than a minute gone in the quarter. After a missed shot by Haddonfield, BCIT got the defensive board and another basket to take the lead, 4–2.

However, a 3 by Leming, which was his first of 5 in the half, and 2 from Mooney at the foul line put the Dawgs up by 3, 7–4, with 5:12 on the clock. A steal by the Panthers made it a 1-point, 7–6, game at the 4:32 mark. Guveiyian’s 2 in the paint pushed the Dawgs’ lead back to 3, 9–6, but a Panther basket and a foul shot tied it at 9 with just under 4 to go in the quarter.

Leming’s second trey broke the tie with 3:47 to go. Neither team scored again for more than a minute, when Leming, who was standing way behind the arc for most of his 3’s, nailed another one to put the Dawgs up by 6, 15–9. This resulted in a timeout called by BCIT. When play resumed, good hustle D from DelDuca caused an out-of-bounds call against the Panthers. An offensive board by Wolff and a feed by Mooney to Leming gave the Dawgs’ their biggest lead, 9 points, of the game, putting them up 18–9, with 1:12 to go in the quarter. BCIT got the last two baskets of the quarter, a 3 and a 2, so it ended with Haddonfield on top by 4, 18–14.

At the outset of quarter 2, sophomore Daire Roddy and junior Teddy Bond entered the game joining Guveiyian, Leming, and Mooney on the floor. BCIT had possession. What looked like a good defensive board to me was called a foul on Bond. The Dawgs also missed their first shot attempt of the quarter, but got it back on a pickoff by Leming. In my notepad, I scribbled, “WOW, ML!” That was my reaction to Leming’s 4th 3 of the game that seemed to be as high-arching as I could recall. (Expert analysis by Vic Wiedeman after the game explained that the further back a player is from the 3-point line, the more of an arc the shot will have.) That high-arching shot made it 21–14, Dawgs, with 6:27 left in the half.

Under the BCIT basket, Guveiyian grabbed the rebound and then, at the other end, dropped in a “mini”-slam off an assist from Mooney. This put the Dawgs out in front again by 9, 23–14. The Panthers could not score, the Dawgs also failed on their attempt, but a steal by Guveiyian put the ball in the hands of Mooney, who was fouled going up and in. He made 1–2 from the line, and with 4:50 on the clock, the Dawgs had a double-digit, 24–14, advantage.

Senior Jon Bucci entered the game for Guveiyian and wasted no time making his presence felt. He bounced into a steal, passed the ball to Leming, and take a wild guess as to what happened next. Yup. Leming hit his 5th 3 of the half to give the Dawgs a 27–14 lead with about 4 minutes on the clock. Meanwhile, Bucci kept on displaying his good defensive moves, blocking a shot and pulling down a board. Bond pulled down a clean offensive board and then followed it up with a 3, adding to the Dawgs’ lead, which was now 16 points, at 30–14.

Senior Sean Beane, who is a good ball-handler and can steal the ball or hit a 3, came in for Roddy with about 3 minutes left in the half. BCIT finally got a shot to drop for its first points of the 2nd, but Mooney got a 3 off the backboard, giving the Dawgs a lead that more than doubled the Panthers’ score,  33–16. That lead was cut by 3 on a behind-the-arc shot by BCIT on its next possession. Senior Evan Rohlfing came in for Bucci and got into the defensive mode immediately, picking up a foul and then blocking a shot. The quarter ended with the Dawgs still keeping the Panthers at bay by 14, 33–19.

The 3rd quarter started with Mooney, Wolff, Guveiyian, Leming, and DelDuca on the court and in possession of the ball. The Dawgs did not score but DelDuca’s “dogged” D at the other end resulted in an out-of-bounds call on BCIT. After Wolff grabbed the ball off a BCIT blocked shot, he passed it to DelDuca, who hit a 3, making it 36–39, Dawgs, with about 70 seconds gone in the quarter. He then pilfered the ball, but the Dawgs could not get a pair of shots to drop. BCIT replied with a 3, but even so, the Dawgs were still up by 14, 36–22. Foul shots by Mooney make it 38–22, Dawgs, with 5:32 left in the quarter.

A lot of action that did not include the ball going into the net ensued for about 90 seconds before Mooney put 3 on the board in one motion, and with 3:53 on the clock, the Dawgs were up by 19, 41–22. About 30 seconds later, Bucci returned to the court and was joined by senior Christian Raymond. I feel inclined to “note” that while I’m not sure if he knows the accompanying floor moves or just the lyrics, I saw Raymond lip-synching to a country line-dance song a few games back at Haddon Heights during a timeout. Whether he has dance moves remains to be seen, but he definitely has 3-point moves, as he swooshed one in, to the great delight of the crowd, especially his fellow students. That made it 44–22, with 2 and change left in the quarter.

The Panthers got that 3 back at the other end, and after a bad pass by the Dawgs that turned over the ball, scored a 2, and with 1:09 on the clock, the lead was “down” to 17, 44–27. What the fans in the stands saw next was hard to describe On my notepad, I said that it resembled a slapstick Keystone Cops routine, as no player on either team seemed to be able to hold onto the ball, even after diving on top of it. Finally, BCIT came up with the ball and finished out the 3rd with a 2, and a mini-run of 7 unanswered points. Despite the run, the Dawgs were still up by 15, 42–27, going into the last 8 minutes of the game.

In the 4th, BCIT outscored Haddonfield by 3, putting 16 points on the board to the Dawgs’ 13. Seven of the Dawgs’ points came from Mooney. Of those 7, 3 came from the line. Guveiyian, Bucci, and Roddy each scored a basket to account for the Dawgs’ other 6 points. Mooney’s 4th quarter offense gave him 18 for the game. Leming, who did all his scoring in the first 2 quarters, finished with 17. All nine seniors played, seven of them scored, and all of them played hard.

That win gave the Dawgs a 17–8 record going into their game versus the Dragons of Kingsway Regional High School, who play in the Tri-County league, 2 nights later. You may have guessed by this week’s recap title that if the BCIT game was the “up” side of the week, the Kingsway game was the “down” side. It was, and it wasn’t. Let me explain.

The Dawgs started off the game down by as much as 6 in the first quarter. But they hung in there thanks to baskets by Guveiyian and Mooney. The quarter ended, in fact, with the Dawgs trailing 6–12. However, the Dawgs kept fighting. In the 2nd quarter, the Dragons only out-scored them by 1 point. Leming and Bond each hit a 3, Beane and Guveiyian each had a basket, and Wolff knocked in 3 on a basket and a foul shot. So, going into the locker rooms at halftime, the Dawgs were down by 7, but had picked up the offense.

The third quarter got the Dawgs back into the game. Although Kingsway had the possession arrow and inbounded the ball, good hustle by DelDuca led to a jump ball and Haddonfield gaining the ball. DelDuca then scored, and his basket was followed by a basket by Guveiyian after the Dragons’ pass went out of bounds. With barely a minute gone, the Dawgs had cut into the Dragons’ lead and were now within 3, 23–26.

Kingsway and Haddonfield exchanged baskets, with the Dawgs’ coming on a drive by DelDuca, and with 5:56 on the clock, it was once again a 3-point game. After Roddy procured the defensive rebound, he handed off the ball to Mooney, who scored. Now the Dawgs were within 1, 27–28, and their fans were urging them on.

Again, the teams scored at either end of the court, with Guveiyian going up and in for Haddonfield. With 4:30 on the clock, Kingsway was holding onto that 1-point, 30–29, lead. The Dragons expanded that lead to 4 on a 3-pointer at the 4:15 mark. The Dawgs lost the ball on an errant pass, but the Dragons also did not score. DelDuca secured the rebound, and Roddy secured the basket, getting the Dawgs to within 2, 31–33. A Haddonfield foul sent Kingsway to the line, where 1 of 2 shots went it. With 3 minutes left in the quarter, the Dawgs were close but needed someone to make a big shot.

On cue, Leming sent a 3 into the net—although for added drama, the ball paused on the rim before slipping in—tying the game at 34. Dawg fans roared their approval. Kingsway decided to try for the last shot of the quarter, but the tactic backfired as they lost the ball out of bounds. Although Roddy’s half-court shot with about 1 second to go hit the backboard and bounced off, the fans still cheered. The Dawgs had overcome a 7-point halftime deficit and were going into the 4th in a dead heat.

The 4th quarter possession belonged to Kingsway, but their shot missed the mark. At the other end, Haddonfield’s shot also did not drop. With 7:07 left in the game, the Dragons pulled ahead on a basket, but their lead was short-lived, as Guveiyian got an offensive board and put the ball up and in. After a Dragon miscue turned the ball over, the Dawgs had a chance to go ahead for the first time. The setup for the shot looked  good, but the ball did not go in the net. At the other end, as the Dawgs’ students were chanting “Air ball, air ball” to a Dragon who had whiffed earlier in the game, he once more obliged.

A steal by Kingsway did not result in a basket, and although the Dawgs got the rebound, they lost it out of bounds before a shot could be taken. The Dragons got their own rebound and scored, and were fouled in the process. They missed the foul shot but again got the rebound before losing the ball out of bounds on an overthrown pass.

Finally, the Dawgs scored on a feed from Guveiyian to Leming, knotting it up at 38 all with 3:29 on the clock. After a timeout, Mooney came back in the game sporting a #44 shirt, so he must have gotten blood on his #11 uni, although how and when that occurred, I am not sure.

With 3:08 left in the game Kingsway hit the first of its back-to-back 3’s; the second put them up by 6, 44–38, with 2:45 showing on the clock. The Dawgs weren’t giving up, and after both teams did not score, Wolff stole the ball and scored. With 1:42 remaining, the Dawgs were back to within 4, 40–44. However, those 2 points would be the last ones the Dawgs managed to put on the board. The Dragons scored the next 6, and when the buzzer sounded, they had won by 10, 50–40, although the game was much closer for most of the quarter. The Dawgs had fought and come oh so close, but in the end, they just could not get that tie-breaking basket to go in when they had the chances. Guveiyian was the only Dawg in double digits, finishing with 10. Leming had 8, and Mooney, 6.

It wasn’t the W that Paul Wiedeman likes to see as the regular season closes out. But it was a gut game; the Dawgs could have let the game get out of reach, but that’s not how they are coached nor how they play. Sporting a 17–9 record as the South Jersey playoff starts, they still have the ability, the tenacity, and the heart to keep on playing—and winning. So come on out tonight and show them some well-deserved support.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs get their bite back

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today.

At first consideration, going 1-3 for the week would not sound like a good stretch for the Haddonfield boys basketball team, especially as the regular season is winding down. However, even though the last game the Dawgs played this past week, on Saturday, 2/19, turned out to be a 12-point loss, it actually had a lot of positives. In this wrap-up I’m going to take a look at that game, provide a very short summary of the game versus the Pemberton Hornets that took place on Thursday, 2/17, because, well,  it really stung, and spend a chunk of time on the Dawgs’ last Colonial Conference game of the season, which started off the week on Tuesday, 2/15, at Haddon Heights High School versus the Garnets.

The Dawgs entered the game against the Garnets knowing they had, for the first time since 2012, not earned at least a share of the Colonial Liberty crown. In conference play, they were 12–3. In early January, when Heights came to Haddonfield, the game was pretty lopsided, as the Dawgs pulled off an easy, 66–35, W. I’m not sure what other Dawgs fans either in attendance or watching the live stream were thinking just ahead of tipoff, but sitting behind the boys’ bench, I was not anticipating another easy victory. This was in part because there had been a pre-game recognition of Mike Ricci, who had just become the Garnets’ winningest hoops coach, with 240 wins over his 14 seasons, which was sure to rev up his players.

However, as the first quarter unfolded, I started to rethink my pre-game concerns. The Dawgs jumped out to a 6–0 start on a basket from senior Tom Mooney and a pair from senior Matt Leming. After Heights got 2 on the board, Mooney hit a 2, and with 4:48 left in the quarter, Haddonfield was up by 7, 9–2. Mooney would put another point on the board from the foul line before the Garnets got another basket and a foul shot to make it 10–5, Dawgs. A 3 by Leming pushed the lead up to 8, 13–5, before Heights got another combo 3 from the floor and foul line to cut to it 13–8. Mooney would get the Dawgs’ next 6 points on a bucket and a foul shot and then his second 3 of the quarter, sandwiched between a pair of Garnet foul shots. That put the Dawgs’ lead up to 9, 19–10, at the 2:16 mark.

On their next possession, the Garnets had multiple unsuccessful scoring attempts until a foul was called against Haddonfield, but this time, the Garnets came up empty at the line. Senior Carson Wolff made what looked like a sideways shot that still found the net to give the Dawgs their first double-digit, 21–10, advantage, but a Heights bucket got it back down to single digits, 21–12, with about 53 seconds showing on the clock. After a missed shot by the Dawgs, the ball went out of bounds off Heights. Wolff inbounded the ball with 19 seconds to go, and after a good display of passing to run down the clock for the last shot, junior Teddy Bond hit a 3 ahead of the buzzer. That gave the Dawgs a 12-point edge, doubling the Garnets’ score. Those 12 points are what would secure Haddonfield’s win. That’s because for the next 3 quarters, even though it was never by more than 3 points, Haddon Heights outscored their guests.

The second quarter offense for the Dawgs dropped by 50%. The Dawgs only put 11 points on the board, on 3’s by Leming and Bond, a foul shot by Wolff, and a pair of drives by senior Matthew Guveiyian. Still, at the half, the Dawgs had a 10-point, 35–25 edge. The Garnets kept chipping away in the third. Although Haddon Heights only put 10 points on the board, Haddonfield managed just 7: 4 more points came off of Guveiyian buckets and sophomore Daire Roddy got in on the 3-point club. As the 4th quarter loomed, the Garnets were lurking, trailing by 7, 42–35.

The Garnets inbounded the ball to start the last 8 minutes of play. What looked like a pickoff by the Dawgs turned into a foul at the 7:31 mark. However, 11 seconds later, Wolff did steal the ball, feeding it to Mooney, who drove in the lane for 2, putting the Dawgs up by 9, 44–35. Heights would slash that down to 5 points on consecutive baskets, and with 6:20 on the clock, it was now a 2 possession game, with the Dawgs on top 44–39.

Wolff’s floater made it 46–39 with 6 minutes and change to go in the game, but Heights answered with a 2 and then after the Dawgs failed to score, nailed a big-time 3 to get to within 2, 46–44, with just under 4 minutes remaining. If I could read minds, I’m sure I would have been seeing a lot of “Oh, no, don’t tell me we’re going to blow another game in the last 4 minutes” types of comments, and I confess, I was having similar thoughts.

After a Heights timeout and play resumed, the Dawgs had another unsuccessful shot, but Wolff was fouled going after the rebound and he made both shots, to inch the Dawgs’ lead up to 4, 48–44, with 2:24 left in the game. What should have been an out-of-bounds call on the Garnets led to a foul on Haddonfield. Luckily, the Garnets missed both shots, and with 1:59 on the clock, it was still a 4-point Dawgs’ advantage.

In a very fluid play, Wolff set Leming up for a basket, giving the Dawgs a 6-point, 50–44, edge with 1:01 to go. Heights answered with a quick bucket at their end, and with 51.6 seconds left, the Garnets were within 4 again, 50–46. After a timeout, the Heights strategy became “foul the Dawgs to stop the action.” This happened four straight times until the Garnets reached their 7th foul, meaning Tom Mooney would have a 1+1 opportunity with 23.6 seconds on the clock. Mooney sank both shots, making it 52–46. That’s how the game ended. The Dawgs hadn’t shown their best offense in the second half, but their defense held of the Garnets’ 4th quarter run and took a little bite out of Mike Ricci’s pregame recognition. Mooney, who had 12 first half points, finished with 16. Leming added 12.

The win against Heights gave the Dawgs a very respectable, if not top-finishing, 13–3 Colonial Conference record for the season.

Next, the Dawgs hosted the Hornets of Pemberton Township for an oddly early Thursday game. Even for a 3:45 tipoff, there were a decent number of Dawgs fans in the stands. Unfortunately, they did not get to see a very pretty 32 minutes of high school hoops. The Pemberton players were very athletic and they used that athleticism to keep the Dawgs out of the paint. Of the 12 baskets the Dawgs made over 4 periods, only 2 were not from behind the arc. While there are plenty of Dawgs who can hit 3’s, they also rely on drives in the paint and under the basket or jump shots. The Hornets kept the Dawgs from penetrating and after a while, it seemed as if no one wanted to try to score unless someone was open for a 3. When the buzzer sounded to end the game, the Dawgs had gotten buzzed 36–56. I would not “bee” surprised if Pemberton makes a deep playoff run in Group 3, where they are the number 2 seed.

Saturday, the Lenape Indians came into Dawg country. After less than 2 minutes of action, the Dawgs were already behind 0–9 and because I am not a mind reader, I don’t know what anyone else rooting for Haddonfield was thinking, but I was pretty sure the game wasn’t going to get much better. I was very wrong. Instead of putting their figurative tails between their legs and letting the Indians run away with the game, the Dawgs got their fight back—their intensity, their determination, their confidence—and made a contest of it.

Matthew Guveiyian got the Dawgs going with a hard drive to the net to put the Dawgs on the board at the 4:46 mark. After the Indians did not score, the Dawgs got another 2 off a basket by Roddy that was set up by two nice passes. A 3 from Lenape made it 12–4, Indians, with 3:07 left in the quarter. The teams then exchanged 2-point field goals, with Haddonfield’s coming off a feed from Mooney to Guveiyian. A drive in the paint by Roddy with 1:50 on the clock got the Dawgs to within 6, 8–14, but at the other end, the Dawgs left the lane open and the Indians were back on top by 8, 16–8, with 1:20 to go.

Guveiyian, who had one of his best offensive and defensive games of the year, went hard into the paint again, and with less than a minute remaining in the 1st, the Dawgs were back to within 6, 10–16. And then on a 3 from senior Dante Del Duca, the Dawgs were within 3, 13–16, with 17 seconds on the board. That’s how the quarter ended, and from being down by 9 after 2 minutes, the Dawgs were back in the game, having closed the gap to 3.

In the 2nd quarter, both teams revved up the offense. The Indians scored 20, but the Dawgs were right behind them with 19. Guveiyian stayed hot. His 3 tied the game at 16 as the 2nd quarter started. When Lenape replied with a 2, Mooney’s 2 tied it again at 18. Leming’s first 3 of the game put the Dawgs up 21–18, with 5:27 left in the half. The Dawg fans were on their feet, cheering.

The lead didn’t last, as Lenape got 2 from the foul line and then hit a 3 to retake the lead, 23–21, with 4:27 on the clock. But a 3 from Mooney tipped the advantage back to the Dawgs, 24–23. The lead shifted by 1 again when Lenape scored another bucket. Guveiyian’s second trey of the quarter made it 27–25, Haddonfield, with 2:42 left in the half. An Indian shot from behind the arc rolled in and out, but after the Dawgs’ shot also missed, Lenape did make a 3 to go back on top by 1. After another scoreless trip down to their basket, the Dawgs committed a shooting foul. Lenape made both shots, and with 1:51 showing on the clock, were now ahead by 3, 30–27.

A resounding slam by Guveiyian got the Dawgs back to within 1, 29–20, but 2 more foul shots from the Indians made it a 3-point game again, with 1:33 on the clock. This time it was a 3 from Leming that knotted the game at 32 with 57 seconds to go in the half. In those 57 seconds, Lenape managed to get one bucket off an offensive rebound and closed out the half with a basket to go back up by 4, 36–32.

The 3rd quarter was more of the same back and forth. The Dawgs only scored 3 baskets from the field—all were from behind the arc by Leming—plus a foul shot by Wolff. But the Dawgs held the Indians to 9 points, so going into the 4th quarter, the Dawgs were still in the hunt, down by 3, 42–45. Lenape scored the first basket to start the last 8 minutes of play, but Leming’s 3 bounded off the rim and in to get the Dawgs to within 2, 45–47, with 5:52 left in the game.

After a pickoff by Wolff, the Dawgs missed a chance to tie it and then Lenape scored to push their lead back to 4, 49–45. Guveiyian answered with a 3, and the Dawgs were now within 1, 48–49, with 4:40 on the board. That was as close as the Dawgs would get the rest of the game. Their shots stopped dropping, and the Indians went on a run, scoring 10 unanswered points to take control of the game. With 2 and change to go, Lenape was now up by 11, 59–48. Mooney would get the Dawgs’ last 2 baskets of the game, with a 3 and then a 2, but when the buzzer sounded, the Indians had prevailed, winning by 12, 65–53. The Matts, Guveiyian and Leming, finished with 18 each.

Somehow, this lost seemed like a step in the right direction for the team, which had been floundering a bit the last few weeks. I heard several longtime fans, some of whom played for the Dawgs way back in the day, talking afterwards, and everyone felt like the Dawgs had gotten some of their bark back. Here’s hoping that leads to wins this coming week to close out the regular season.

Up first is BCIT Westampton on Tuesday night, 2/22, at home. This is Senior Night, so please come out to cheer on our graduating players: Sean Beane, Jon Bucci, Dante Del Duca, Matthew Guveiyian, Matt Leming, Tom Mooney, Christian Raymond, Evan Rohlfing, and Carson Wolff. Game time is 7 p.m. Then, Thursday, 2/24, also at 7, the Dragons of Kingsway Regional High School will be no doubt fired up to go up against the Dawgs. 

Looking ahead, the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs begin on Monday, 2/28. As the number 3 seed behind #1 Camden and #2 Sterling (booo! Oops. Did I type that out loud?), Haddonfield will host Lower Cape May County at 7 p.m. Come out at 5, though, to root on the girls, who are the 8th seed, and taking on Point Pleasant Boro, the 9th seed.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs have “ruff” week

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

The Haddonfield boys basketball team could have won three games this past week. Instead, they finished 1-2, with their only victory coming in a crazy contest against Colonial nemesis Collingswood. I’m going to be focusing on that game, the first one of the week, which took place at home on Tuesday, 2/8, not just because the Dawgs won it but because it truly was a yo-yo match in which both teams were in control—until they weren’t.

The second game, at Sterling on Thursday, 2/10, would decide who was going to win (or at least claim a share of) the Liberty division of the Colonial Conference. If Sterling won, the Silver Knights would spear sole possession, but if Haddonfield won, the teams would both have 12–2 records.

The game could not have started out any better for the Dawgs. Everyone in the starting lineup scored in the first 8 minutes of the game. Senior Matt Leming looked sharp with his two treys; senior Tom Mooney drove in the lane twice for field goals. Senior Matthew Guveiyian went up and in for a basket, and senior Dante Del Duca also scored in the paint. Sophomore Daire Roddy added 1 from the foul line. And except for Leming’s second 3 of the quarter, all the Dawgs’ points came before the Silver Knights made a basket. This was thanks in large part to the Dawgs’ great defensive display, which was causing turnovers and keeping Sterling from setting up plays. In their last possession of the quarter, Sterling had 8 seconds and could not get off a shot.

After putting 15 points to Sterling’s 2 on the board in the first quarter, Haddonfield only got 3 in the second while Sterling got 8. Still, at halftime, the Dawgs were up by 8, 18–10. It’s really hard to explain what happened to the Dawgs in the second half. Maybe they got out of their rhythm; maybe Sterling turned the tables on them and started making it hard for the Dawgs to run their usual offensive plays either in the paint or beyond the arc. But for whatever reason, the team stalled offensively. And instead of trying to make quick scoring attempts, the Dawgs kept passing the ball, looking for the perfect option even when players appeared to be open. If you are up by 10 and you pass the ball five or six times before a shot is made, that’s one thing. But when you are down by 10 and keep passing, it is hard to get the momentum back or cut the deficit.

In the third, Haddonfield managed one 2-point basket while Sterling took charge and put 20 on the board. When the game ended, the Dawgs and their fans looked a bit shell-shocked: Not only had Sterling had decisively won 43–25 in a game they had been trailing by 13 after the first quarter, they had also taken the conference crown for the first time in a long while. It was hard not to appreciate why the Silver Knights and their fans were so excited, but even so, it was a gut-punch loss for the Dawgs.

Saturday, 2/12, the Dawgs headed to Paul VI to go up against the Irish of Camden Catholic. A family matter kept me from the game, but Matthew Guveiyian’s Nanny, aka Debbie Vermaat, who got to the game a little before halftime, kept me posted so well, I felt like I was watching and had the same angst about it as if I were in the stands instead of in my den.

Given how the Sterling game had ended compared to how it had started, it would not have been too surprising if the Dawgs were still reeling and discombobulated. However, that was not the case. The game was close. The Dawgs were up by 4, 23–19, at the half, with the last points coming on a basket by senior Carson Wolff and 3 from the line by Leming, who was fouled behind the arc. At one point (haha) in the 3rd, 3’s by Mooney and Del Duca had the Dawgs up by 10, 34–24, but the Irish were not about to give up without a fight. They hit a few 3’s, including one at the buzzer and going into the 4th, the Dawgs were just up by 5, 36–31.

In the 4th, Camden Catholic kept chipping away. A few Dawg turnovers and another 3 helped the Irish get to within 3, 44–41, with just under 4 minutes left. (Remember, I wasn’t there; this is all from Debbie Vermaat’s texts!!) Another trey from Leming made it 49–43, Haddonfield, but Camden Catholic got the next 5 points to make it 49–46. With 28.6 seconds left in the game, the Dawgs were up by 1, 49–48 and Leming scored to make it 51–48 with 14.5 left. But the Irish swooshed in another 3 to tie the game. With only 2.8 left and having to inbound under the Irish’s basket, the Dawgs weren’t able to score.

Overtime proved the Dawgs’ downfall, as they lost by 2, 55–53. Even with the OT loss, I think this might have been a better bus ride home than the one on Thursday night. The Dawgs stayed in the game and had a chance to win it instead of being totally taken out offensively.

So now that you know how the Dawgs lost two games, let me tell you a little bit about the game versus the Collingswood Panthers that they won. Did I mention how crazy it was?

This game started out with Collingswood scoring the first two baskets. A jumper by Mooney got the Dawgs on the board, but the Panthers struck again to make it 2–6 before Del Duca made 1–2 from the foul line. Collingswood scored again, but a 3 by Mooney got the Dawgs to within 2, 6–8, with 2:54 left in the 1st. Mooney blocked a shot at the other end only to have the Dawgs lose possession on a bad pass. Neither team scored until the 42-second mark, when Guveiyian got an offensive board and went up and in, making it a 2-point game again, with the Dawgs down 8–10. Collingswood got the last basket from behind the arc to go up by 5, 13–8, as the quarter ended.

Mooney started off the 2nd with a basket to make it a 3-point game again, but after missing 2 shots from the foul line, Collingswood took advantage of a Dawg turnover to score on a slam and take that 5-point lead back, making it 15–10, Panthers, with 6:28 left in the half. But then the Dawgs went on a mini-run. Mooney hit a 3 and Wolff scored off a feed from Teddy Bond. With 5:33 on the clock, the game was tied at 15.

After a backcourt violation on Collingswood, Haddonfield gave the ball back, possibly on a travel. Then there was what I wrote down as “wild and woolly ball-handling” by both teams. The Panthers failed to score, got the rebound, and missed again. At the other end, Mooney did not miss and put the Dawgs up for the first time in the game, 17–15, with 4:11 to go in the half. A floater by Wolff after a ball went out of bounds off Collingswood pushed the Dawgs’ lead to 4, 19–15, and after good D by Bond and—hmm, what did I scribble on my notepad?—well, Bond and one of his teammates, the Panthers did not score again. And again, Mooney did, this time sinking a 3 to make it 22–15 with about 2:40 until the half.

At an angle that defied physics, Bond took a shot that somehow went in the net, giving the Dawgs a 9-point, 24–15, lead with 2 minutes on the clock. The Panthers broke their scoring drought to make it 24–17, but sophomore Sam Narducci, who had come into the game a few minutes earlier, nailed a 3 to give the Dawgs a double-digit, 27–17, edge at the half.

So, from being down by 5 after 1, the Dawgs were up by 10 at the half. I relayed this info to Vic Wiedeman, who was “stuck” in 80° weather in Florida, as he and his wife were visiting family. His comment was, “Good. Keep it up.” However, not too long into the 3rd quarter, the Dawgs were doing anything but. That was because in the first 2 minutes of the 3rd, not only did the Dawgs fail to score, the Panthers hit back-to-back 3’s and then with 5:57 on the clock, got a 2. Suddenly that nice 10-point cushion had shrunk to a 1-point, 27–26, advantage.

The Dawgs missed again, got the rebound but remained scoreless. A turnover by the Panthers gave the Dawgs back the ball and finally on a nice hesitation move off a pass from Mooney, Guveiyian got Haddonfield 2 points, making it a 4-point, 29–25.point game with 4:48 on the clock.

After a Dawg foul sent the Panthers to the line, where both shots were made, it was 29–27, Haddonfield. But not for long. The Panthers went on a run. After scoring a basket to tie it at 29 with 3:48 to go in the quarter, they scored another 2 and then a 3. In a little over a minute’s time, they had come from behind to take a 5-point, 34–29, lead. A floater from Guveiyian cut that to a 3-point, 34–31, lead, but Collingswood would get the last basket of the quarter, and going into the 4th, the Dawgs were now trailing by 5, 31–36.

Before I break down the last minutes of the game, let’s review the first 24 minutes. At the end of the 1st quarter, Collingswood was up by 5, 13–8. After putting 19 on the board in the 2nd while holding the Panthers to 4 points, Haddonfield was ahead by 10, 27–17. But by the end of the 3rd, Collingswood had literally returned the favor, adding 19 points to their total and only allowing the Dawgs, that is, Guveiyian, to score 2 baskets. As Haddonfield inbounded the ball to begin the final segment of the game, the only thing that seemed certain was that nothing was certain.

On that first possession, the Dawgs took a chunk out of that 5-point Panther lead thanks to Leming’s first basket of the game—a 3, making it 36–34, Collingswood, with 7:45 left in the quarter. And that score held for about 90 seconds before the Panthers scored off a Dawg turnover. So now the Dawgs were behind by 4, 34–38, with 6:15 to go. Another 3, this time by Mooney, with 5:50 on the clock cut the lead once more to 1, 37–38. Then another 2 by the Panthers made it a 3-point, 37–40, deficit again.

After picking off the ball, Wolff went all the way to the other end and scored. With 4:25 to go, the Dawgs were back to within 1, 39–40. Collingswood scored 2 but Wolff answered with another basket, so with 3:37 showing on the clock, the Panthers’ lead was once more down to 1, 42–41. A Haddonfield foul sent Collingswood to the line and resulted in 1 point going up on the board. However, Wolff (referred to by his initials, i.e., CW in my notepad, which is also my shorthand for Collingswood, which means things can get a bit confusing) scored his third straight basket. That meant with 3 minutes and change to go in regulation, the game was tied at 43.

After a timeout on the court, Roddy drove in the lane for a basket and was fouled. His shot from the line put the Dawgs out in front 46–43 with 2:23 to go. About 30 seconds later, Leming picked up his 5th foul, meaning he had fouled out of the game. (I don’t ever remember him doing that before. )Del Duca came in as Leming left the court. The foul sent the Panthers to the line for a 1+1 opportunity, but the first shot did not drop and Del Duca quickly got into the action by pulling down the defensive board.

After a missed shot and an offensive board, Coach Paul Wiedeman called a full timeout with 54.8 seconds left in the 4th. When play resumed, Wolff threw the ball inbounds to Guveiyian, who passed it to Mooney. He went driving into the basket and was flattened underneath. Not only was the play by Collingswood not deemed an intentional foul by the refs, it was not called a foul at all. Nobody in the Haddonfield contingency could believe that Mooney wasn’t going to the line for two shots.

Play stopped and started a few times as the Panthers had fouls to give. With 31.7 seconds left, Mooney went to the line for a 1+1. His first shot did not drop. Haddonfield committed a foul going for the rebound. Collingswood had another 1+1 opportunity and this time, made both shots. With 14.7 left, the Dawgs were now clinging to a 1-point, 46–45, edge. The Dawgs had to inbound the ball under the Panther basket. Guveiyian was set to pass the ball in, except he tossed it to Mooney, who had stepped to the sidelines as well, and then raced down the court as Mooney made a football pass. Guveiyian and the ball hooked up under the basket and he scored, putting the Dawgs up by 3, 48–45, with 3.5 seconds left. The Dawgs fans erupted. That celebration was then cut short as Collingswood hit a 3 ahead of the buzzer.

It was time for overtime, which starts with a tip-off at center court. The ball went to Collingswood, but Wolff, whose first sport may be football, but who is a tenacious presence on the hardwood, hustled and caused a jump ball, with the possession arrow favoring Haddonfield. The Dawgs gave the ball back after losing it out of bounds, only to have Collingswood do the same, and with a 1:20 off the clock, Mooney got the first basket of OT, a 3, putting the Dawgs up 51–48, with 2:40 left.

Collingswood tied it right back up with a 3 at its end, but Roddy, who had the big basket and foul shot in the 4th, got a 3 this time in one fell swoosh, and with 1:53 remaining, the Dawgs were back on top by 3, 54–51. Mooney and Roddy combined for a pickoff and Collingswood was called for a foul on Wolff, who was not able to convert the first end of a 1+1. However, he stole the ball at the other end and Mooney was fouled, which sent a Panther to the bench. Mooney also missed the front end of a 1+1, so with 19.4 left in OT, the Dawgs were still up 54–51. Wolff pulled off another steal and was fouled. He made both shots, making it a two possession, 56–51, game with 9.7 seconds left. Collingswood committed another foul to stop the clock with 3.8 remaining. Wolff inbounded the ball, sending another long pass to Guveiyian, who was on the court this time. He went up and in for a basket—but in a great display of good sportsmanship, chose not to slam the ball in the face of the Panther who was at the rim with him.

The OT buzzer sounded. After 36 minutes of a seesaw game, the Dawgs had prevailed 58–51. Tom Mooney, who had 15 of the Dawgs’ 19 2nd quarter points, finished with 21. Wolff had 12, 6 of which came in the last 12 minutes of the game. Guveiyian added 10, 8 of which came in the second half.

With the 1 win and 2 losses, the Dawgs are now 14–6 overall and 11–3 in the Colonial Conference. They have 3 games this week, all of them taking place in the afternoon. Tuesday, 2/15, they head to Haddon Heights for a 5:30 matchup against the Garnets, which will be the final Colonial Conference game of the season.  On Thursday, they host Pemberton Township for an extra early 3:45 game. Saturday, Lenape comes in for a 1 p.m. game. Looking ahead to next week, the Dawgs will host BCIT Westampton on Tuesday, 2/22, which will be Senior Night, at 7 p.m. and will close out the regular season at home on Thursday, 2/24, when they take on Kingsway Regional High School.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs bounce back in conference play

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

As the late, great Meatloaf once sang, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” It also sums up the past week of Haddonfield boys basketball. After dropping a tough home game on 1/27 to the Red Raiders of Paulsboro, the Dawgs had good wins versus Colonial Conference opponents Haddon Township and West Deptford to start off the month of February. However, in what sounds like an exciting game on Saturday at Holy Cross Academy against Cherokee, the Dawgs fell a bit short and lost by 4. I did not make it to the Cherokee game, as I was busy meeting the newest members of my family, Gwen and Ana, who debuted on 2-2-22. However, my courtside reporter Mike Guveiyian and my videographer Bill Tourtellotte, with an assist from,  provided me with some details to share.

But first, Haddonfield played host to Haddon Township on Tuesday, 2/1. This was a rematch of the Dawg’s first 2021–22 game and in some ways, it was quite similar to that game on Dec. 17. More on that shortly.

In what has become a fairly routine tipoff to start a contest, senior Matt Guveiyian jumps and tips the ball to a teammate; this time that tip went to sophomore Daire Roddy. He passed the ball to senior Tom Mooney and after a nice hesitation under the basket, Mooney went up and in to put the Dawgs on the board. A steal by senior Matt Leming prevented Haddon Township from even getting a shot off, but the Dawgs couldn’t take advantage and the Hawks got possession of the ball again. During their second possession, they were having a hard time penetrating the perimeter thanks to good D from the Dawgs and ended up turning over the ball on a travel.

This time junior Teddy Bond hit a 3 to put the Dawgs up by 5 with 5:51 on the clock. At the other end, Guveiyian blocked a shot and grabbed the ball, but the Dawgs had a miscommunication on a pass and lost the ball out of bounds. The Hawks answered with a 3 to make it 5–3, Haddonfield, with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.

Haddonfield’s next score came on a drive by Bond. Then, after a steal by Guveiyian, Leming took a step back to get beyond the arc and nailed a 3 to put the Dawgs up by 6, 9–3, with 2 and change left in the quarter. The Hawks would get the last points of the quarter on a field goal at the 55-second mark; they had a chance for more after the Dawgs had another turnover off an errant pass, but after holding the ball to wind down the clock, the shot didn’t drop.

Seniors Dante Del Duca and Carson Wolff entered the game to start the second quarter. It took more than 3 minutes before either team got a shot to go in the net, and when that happened, it was Mooney going up an in off an inbound pass. Another minute-plus ticked off the clock before another ball dropped. This time, it was the Hawks who scored, and with 1:43 left in the half, the Dawgs were up 11–7. It would be Haddon Township’s only basket—from the field or foul line—in the quarter.

The Dawgs’ next bucket came off a Guveiyian slam at the 1:14 mark. Wolff’s tenacity on defense caused a jump ball to give possession back to his team. After an off-the-mark shot under the Haddonfield basket, Mooney secured a loose ball and got fouled with 43.3 seconds to go. It was non-shooting, so play continued. The Dawgs were also working for a good shot as the seconds ticked off the scoreboard. Mooney sent off what looked like an off-balance floater that nevertheless found the net, which pushed the Dawgs’ lead to 8, 15–7, with 25 seconds to go. The Hawks had the possession and kept it after another jump ball was called. After the ball went out of bounds off Haddonfield, Mooney stole it and went cross-court for 2. When the buzzer sounded seconds later, the Dawgs had a 10-point, 17–7, advantage as they headed to the locker room.

In the third quarter, the Dawgs picked things up a bit offensively, putting 13 points on the board while holding the Hawks to 4. In these 8 minutes, Mooney powered to the basket three times and also hit a foul shot. Roddy hit a 3, Leming made a 2, and Guveiyian went 1–2 from the foul line. Heading into the last quarter, the Dawgs were up 30–11.

In the 4th, Haddon Township actually outscored Haddonfield by 7, putting 16 on the board to Haddonfield’s 9. Once again, Mooney provided most of the Dawgs’ offense, scoring another 2-point basket and sinking 4 from the line. Del Duca swooshed in a 3, and Roddy converted a foul shot. When all was said and done, the Dawgs had once again prevailed against the Hawks, winning by a score of 39–27. As the astute young man sitting next to me, who happened to be Coach Paul Wiedeman’s youngest offspring Matt, noted, this was the exact same score as the matchup in December. Also similarly, Tom Mooney accounted for most of the Dawgs’ points. In December, he put 18 on the board; this time, it was 19.

Thursday, 2/3, the Dawgs traveled down to West Deptford. It was a 5:30 game and neither I nor my travel buddy really wanted to be on 295 in the midst of rush hour when the game was being streamed by West Deptford. I know last year I gave kudos to the Eagles for providing great video and play-by-play, and I want to do it again. The added feature this year was that once I brought up the West Deptford YouTube feed, a countdown appeared showing how soon the game would start. Since I often have anxious moments ahead of games I am going to live stream when I bring up the feed and there is nothing happening on the screen, it was great to know that the game feed for the Eagles–Dawgs game was all set up and ready to go. A few minutes before the countdown clock hit 0, I pressed play and was able to see the end of the warmups (although the camera only focused on the Eagles—go figure!).

I also found out that the two men doing the play-by-play were not students, as I assumed last year. One was a former Eagle basketball player and the other was a former coach. Both did nice commentary throughout the game and weren’t afraid to talk about the kinds of teams Haddonfield always has thanks to their coaching staff. At the outset, both men said that while it had been a rough year for the team, which was going into the night with a  4–11 record, there were signs of progress. They agreed that goal in their rematch with Haddonfield was not to get blown out this time, as in their December meeting, the Dawgs had won by 58 points.

In the first quarter, thanks in part to Leming, who scored four times—on three 2’s and one trey—the Dawgs put 15 on the board. Roddy and Guveiyian each had a basket, and Mooney made 2 foul shots. The Eagles got 7 points, which was a 4-point improvement over the first quarter of their previous contest versus Haddonfield, and as the quarter ended, the Dawgs were up 15–7. As I usually do when Haddonfield is on the road, I texted Mark Hershberger, who was getting ready to call the girls home game against the Eagles. His reply was, “What??????”

If he thought that first quarter score was a bit unexpected, he hadn’t seen anything yet. In the second quarter, the Dawgs’ stifling defense held the Eagles scoreless. However, the Dawgs only got 2 baskets. One came off a nice pass from Guveiyian to Bond at the 3:12 mark; the other came off a Wolff pickoff and pass to Mooney, who went up and in. So when the halftime buzzer sounded, the Dawgs were up by 12, 19–7, even though they had not exactly lit up the scoreboard.

I’m not sure if the Dawgs just needed some extra time to warm up—it had been a pretty cold week!—or if their coaching staff gave them a pep talk and changed strategies a little, but when the 3rd quarter started, the team looked more focused under their own basket, which translated into a lot more shots being taken and going into the net. West Deptford also seemed to shake off the cobwebs and started getting shots to drop, for after Mooney got things going with 2 in the paint to start the Dawgs’ 2nd half scoring, the Eagles answered with a basket. So, with only 45 seconds gone, both teams had made shots and it was 21–9, Haddonfield.

Leming got the next bucket from behind the arc, and West Deptford ended up on the foul line their next possession, making 1–2. Guveiyian went down hard trying to score and also made 1–2 from the line. (My one minor complaint about the West Deptford feed was that while it showed the running score at the bottom, the scoreboard clock was only visible from one side of the court, so I was often having to wait until the action moved to the other basket to get an approximate time a basket was made at the other end. Sometimes, I didn’t get a chance to do the math—subtracting 3–4 seconds from the clock for the previous basket—because too much was happening.) After Guveiyian’s foul shot, Leming stole the ball and took it all the way to the hoop. He was also fouled, and with 5:47 showing on the clock, his foul shot made it 27–10, Dawgs.

The two teams exchanged buckets, with Haddonfield’s coming on a 2 by Mooney, and with 4:50 to go in the quarter, the Dawgs were up 29–12. After a Haddonfield pickoff, Leming scored on a feed from Mooney to make it 31–12 with just under 4 minutes on the clock. The next basket came from the Eagles at the 2:41 mark, and was followed by a 3 from Del Duca on the Dawgs’ next possession, which pushed the Dawgs’ lead to 20, 34–14. Sophomore Sam Narducci had not been long in the game when he knocked down a 3 off a pass from Wolff.

With 1:08 left in the period and Haddonfield up 37–14,, a ref called a timeout after a West Deptford player got an inadvertent poke in the eye. While it definitely wasn’t intentional, it still had to hurt. When play resumed, the Eagles would get one more basket, and as the quarter came to an end, they were trailing by 21, 37–17. However, since they had been down 67–18 after 3 in their previous game against Haddonfield, this definitely was an improvement.

In the 4th quarter, the Dawgs only outscored the Eagles by 4, just like in the 2nd. However, this time, they put 15 points on the board to their host’s 11. Mooney scored 6 on a trio of buckets and Narducci nailed another 3. Senior Evan Rohlfing made a pair from the foul line and senior Christian Raymond scored 4, 2 on a basket and 2 from the foul line.

The final score was still a bit one-sided: Haddonfield won by 25, 52–27. But you got the feeling the Eagles may have gotten a moral (or maybe a morale?) victory, knowing they had put up more of a fight on both ends of the court this go-round. Matt Leming led the Dawgs with 19 and Tom Mooney added 12.

These two wins put the Dawgs at 14–3 overall and 10–2 in Colonial Conference play.

While I was waiting for my two great nieces to arrive at my sister’s (their nana’s) house in Haddon Heights on Saturday, the Dawgs were doing battle with the Chiefs of Cherokee High School. From what I heard, it was a close all four quarters. The Dawgs were up after 1 by a point, 10–9; by the end of the second, the Chiefs had flipped that to a 1-point 23–22 advantage. In the 3rd, the Chiefs had edged out to a 3-point, 33–30, lead.

Mike Guveiyian gave me the last few minutes of the final quarter in short updates. While the Dawgs were trailing by 6, 35–41, with 4:13 left in the game, they had whittled that down to 3, 38–41, with 1:38 left. That was as close as the Dawgs could get, however, and when the horn sounded, the Dawgs had suffered only their 4th defeat of the season, losing 43–39. Mike said that Cherokee was “lights out” with 3-point shots, and added that he wasn’t sure they’d missed one the whole game.

Bill Tourtellotte, whom I have known since the second grade, echoed that the Chiefs hit a bunch of 3’s during the game when he emailed me videoclips of almost all the Dawgs’ scoring. He is no doubt trying to hone his camera skills since his oldest son, Ryan, is now a member of the frosh b-ball team. I watched all the clips and tallied points. When I was a few points short, I resorted to checking the box score off to figure out what I was missing. It looks like Leming and Mooney did most of the scoring for Haddonfield, knocking in 13 and 12 points, respectively. I will also note that the box score caused me some mental agitation, as the quarter scores it gave didn’t add up correctly to the final score. From Mike’s quarter scores, I was able to deduce that instead of each team putting 9 on the board in the 4th, as the box score indicated, Cherokee had outscored the Dawgs by 1.

Looking to the week ahead, the Dawgs have another trio of games lined up. Tuesday, 2/8, is a 7 p.m. home game versus Collingswood. Thursday, 2/10, the Dawgs will head to Sterling for a 5:30 contest and try to do what the Silver Knights did to them last month: beat them on their home court. Finally, on Saturday, 2/12, the Dawgs will go up against Camden Catholic in a tournament at Paul VI.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs have an up-and-down week

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield Today

Due to the forecasted snow Saturday, 1/29, the Jeff Cooney Classic, which has become a mainstay at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, had already been canceled by Thursday, 1/27, which meant the Dawgs did not have its scheduled contest against Burlington Township High School to see if they would finish 2–1 or 1–2 for week number six of the season. Instead, the Haddonfield boys had to settle for a 1–1 split which saw them score more than 80 points and beat one Colonial Conference opponent by 28 points only to see them faulter against another, losing by 6 but only hitting double digits in one out of four quarters.

The week started off with the Dawgs welcoming the Thundering Herd of Woodbury to their court. When Haddonfield’s play-by-play man Mark Hershberger was introducing the visiting squad, I found out the team was starting with a trio of sophomores and a pair of juniors. Haddonfield’s starting lineup usually (and did this game) sports three seniors, a junior, and a sophomore. The Dawgs raced out to a 12–2 lead with not even 4 minutes gone thanks to 3’s by junior Teddy Bond and senior Tom Mooney, a 2-point field goal by senior Matt Leming, and a pair of 2’s under the rim by senior Matthew Guveiyian. After the Herd hit its first trey of the game to make it 12–5, the Dawgs went on another run, scoring 13 unanswered points (a 2 from Guveiyian, a 3 from Leming, a 2 by Mooney, and 3’s by Leming and senior Dante Del Duca) and were up by 20, 25–5, after 8 minutes.

While Haddonfield hit 5 treys to Woodbury’s 1 in the first, in the 2nd, Woodbury began making shots from beyond the arc. This enabled the Herd to put 20 on the board, matching Haddonfield’s 4 3’s with 4 of their own. The Dawgs still outscored them by 4, and early in the 2nd, after a 2 from Del Duca and a pair of 3’s from the Matts, the Dawgs had amassed a 33–5 edge, which would be their largest lead of the game. Senior Sean Beane got into the scoring act in the 2nd, producing the other 2 of the Dawgs’ 3’s, as well as a 2-pointer. Fellow senior Carson Wolff, who usually plays a good chunk of the 2nd, had a pair of field goals, and a drive in the paint by Guveiyian accounted for the other basket of the 2nd. Despite the Herd’s spurt in offense, when the teams headed off the court for halftime, the Dawgs were still in command, up by 24, 49–25.

The Dawgs’ scoring tapered off in the 3rd because the team was passing more between shots. Guveiyian got 3 buckets plus a pair from the foul line to put up 8 of Haddonfield’s 13 points. Mooney added 3 on a field goal and a foul shot, and Bond got 2 on a field goal. The Herd got 12, so as the buzzer sounded to end the 3rd, the Dawgs had added 1 point to their lead and were ahead by 25, 62–37.

In the 4th quarter, it was sophomore Sam Narducci’s time to get hot. He had 3 3’s, two of which were made back-to-back, Mooney got another 3, Wolff got 3 on a basket and a foul shot, while Leming got a 2, as did sophomore Patrick Ryan. When all was said and done, the Dawgs beat a young Herd 83–55. Nine Dawgs contributed to those 83 points, including four who hit double digits.  Matthew Guveiyian, who also had 7 blocked shots and quite a few rebounds, finished with 19 points. Leming had 13, and Mooney and Narducci finished with 11 apiece.

Based on what I saw, especially from their sophomores, I’m expecting Woodbury to put up much more of a challenge (especially on their home court) when the teams meet up in 2023.

Haddonfield could have used some of those extra points 2 days later when then paid a visit to the Paulsboro Red Raiders. (And let me say thank you to one player’s family—they know who they are—for letting me claim one of the 4 tickets that were supposed to be allotted per player per team even though I was not asked who that player was when I was checked in at the admissions table.) Had I not had that option, I might have been more aggravated at home when the live feed never materialized then I was watching in person. Then again, maybe not …

The first quarter started out well enough for the guests in red and black, who got the first bucket of the game on a 3 by Leming at the 4:28 mark after neither team was able to score their first few possessions. After Paulsboro got a 2 at the other end, Mooney launched a 3 on a feed from Guveiyian. Again, Paulsboro countered with a 2, and Leming hit another 3, so with 2:44 left in the quarter, the Dawgs were looking pretty good with a 9­–4 lead. That did not hold up, as the Red Raiders got the last 5 points of the quarter, first getting a 2-pointer to make it 9–6, Dawgs, and then sinking a 3 to tie it up with about 49 seconds on the clock. The Dawgs had a few more chances to score but failed, so when quarter 1 came to an end, it was still 9 all.

The game only got more exasperating after that. Maybe it was the fatigue of playing a bunch of games over a short stretch, or maybe it was an imperfect storm in which all of Haddonfield’s usually reliable shooters had off nights. While the team played their usual good, often pressure, defense, because Haddonfield was not making shots—no one, in fact, seemed too eager to attempt them—Paulsboro was still able to pull ahead in the 2nd and took a 23–19 lead into the half, thanks in large part to the Dawgs only increasing their 9-point 1st quarter output by 1.

Nine points would have been an improvement over the 4, yes, that was not a typo, 4 points the Dawgs managed to muster in the 3rd. After Guveiyian got the first basket to get the Dawgs to within 2, 21–23, after about 20 seconds had gone off the clock, the Red Raiders would go on a 10-point run. By the time Mooney got the Dawgs’ second field goal of the 3rd, with nearly 5 minutes having gone by since Guveiyian’s, the Red Raiders were ahead 33–21 with just under 2 minutes to go in the quarter. Before the quarter ended, each team had gotten one more 2-point field goal, so going into the 4th, Paulsboro was still up by 12, 35–23.

As for that 4th quarter, it was the definition of frustration. The Dawgs started chipping away at that 12-point lead. With 3:14 (or 3:19, I can’t read my scribble in my notepad) on the clock, a basket by Guveiyian got the Dawgs to within 5, 30–35. At that “point,” I know I was not the only Haddonfield fan remembering the game almost 8 years ago to the day when Rob DePersia cut a 19-point deficit to a 16-point one as he nailed a 3 ahead of the halftime buzzer and then led the Dawgs, who were down by 11 going into the 4th, to a 68–63 comeback. Were the Dawgs going to pull off another come-from-beyond shocker on the Red Raider court?

No. In fact, the Dawgs weren’t going to score another point in those 3-plus minutes. And what was especially excruciating was that the Dawgs defense, combined with the Red Raiders going a bit cold, gave Haddonfield every chance to tighten that gap with possession. But the Dawgs just couldn’t find the net. And while the Raiders only put 1 more up on the board from the foul line, it did not matter. When the horn sounded, the Dawgs had lost by 6, 36–30, in a game in which nothing much went right. Just like in their thriller against Overbrook the week before when the whole team contributed to their 41–40 win, this lost was not on the shoulders of one or two players. As well as the team did defensively, it was not enough to overcome what was by far the Dawgs’ worst offensive showing to date. Still, after 15 games, the Dawgs have a 12–3 record overall and are 8–2 in Colonial Conference play.

Although I am sure the players would have preferred the chance to shake off that lackluster 32 minutes of shooting by playing Saturday, now the team will not take to the floor again until Tuesday, 2/1, when they start the second half of the season by hosting the Hawks of Haddon Township, who they beat 39–27 to kick off the season back in December. Game time is 7 p.m. On 2/3, the team will travel down to West Deptford to take on the Eagles for an early 5:30 start. The week’s action concludes on 2/5, when the Dawgs go to Holy Cross Academy for a nonleague matchup  against Cherokee in a game scheduled to tipoff at 12:15 p.m.

Boys’ basketball: “Daire” to believe!

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today


At the end of a 4-game stretch that saw the Dawgs defeat St. Joseph’s (Hammonton) High School in the Seagull Classic, and then three Colonial Conference opponents (Haddon Heights, Lindenwold, and Gloucester City High School—which, unbeknownst to me, became a new member of the Liberty division), the Haddonfield boys had earned a bit of time off. Their first game this past week wasn’t until a home matchup against Colonial rival, the Audubon Wave, on Thursday, 1/20.

One way to describe this contest for the Dawgs would be “easy-threesies.” That’s because in the first half alone, Haddonfield hit 9 3’s. The first came from senior Tom Mooney on the Dawgs’ first possession of the game off a feed from sophomore Daire Roddy, who grabbed the ball after senior Matthew Guveiyian’s tip from the jump ball. After a 2 from junior Tommy Bond, Audubon got 3 back, but senior Matt Leming answered with a 3. Mooney got 2 from the foul line before the Wave got 2 field goals in a row, and with 5:17 left in the first, the Dawgs were up by 5, 12–7. Mooney’s second trey of the quarter would make it 15–7. Back-to-back jump shots by Leming and Mooney pushed the lead up to 12, 19–7, with 2:02 remaining.

Audubon ended its dry spell with a nice drive but a bounce pass from one Matt (Guveiyian) to the other (Leming) made it 21–9 with just over a minute to go in the 1st. Audubon would pick up one more point from the foul line and the Dawgs would get 2 more on a nice drive by Roddy, and as the first quarter came to an end, Haddonfield was up by double digits, 23–10.

In the second 8 minutes, the Dawgs would put 26 on the board thanks to Leming, who knocked down five shots from behind the arc. But he had help with the offense. Mooney began the scoring making 2 foul shots and Roddy followed with a floater to make it 27–10. Sophomore Sam Narducci, who started the 2nd, grabbed a defensive board and went cross-court to finish with a layup, increasing the Dawgs’ lead to 19, 29–10, at the 5:42 mark. The Wave’s first bucket of the quarter made it 29–12, but a basket by Dawg sophomore Patrick Ryan got that 19-point lead back. Then Leming got smoking hot. He swooshed in three 3’s in a row between only a pair of foul shots by Audubon, and before the Wave knew what hit them, they were trailing 40-14 with 3 minutes and change before the half.

Audubon managed to get 2 unanswered field goals before Roddy hit a 3. The quarter closed out with Leming hitting another pair of 3’s (one of them rolled around the rim before dropping in). As the half ended, Haddonfield was giving the Wave a pounding, 48–18. Leming alone was beating Audubon 22–18.

Coach Paul Wiedeman already had been making substitutions in the first half, when 10 players saw action, and by the time the game ended, 15 had gotten onto the court. In the 4th quarter, Bond picked up where Leming left off and made back-to-back-to-back 3’s. The final score was Haddonfield 79, Audubon 37. 13 of those 79 points came from the bench. Not surprisingly, Leming led the Dawgs’ scoring barrage with 22 but was closely followed by Mooney, who had 20. Bond added 15.

Saturday, the Dawgs welcomed former Colonial Conference Liberty rival, the Rams of Overbrook, who are now in the Tri-County conference. As we were leaving the stands on Thursday night, Dave Wiedeman predicted this was going to be a tough game. Never doubt what Dave Wiedeman says.

The first thing I thought when the game actually started was how small the Overbrook starters made Haddonfield ‘s look, and that’s with two of our players being 6-4 (Guveiyian) and 6-5 (Bond). The Dawgs started out with a 3 from Matt Leming, but the Rams answered with a 3 and then got one of several they would make during the game off an offensive rebound to go up by 2, 5–3.  Tom Mooney’s 2 foul shots tied it up. The Dawgs lost a defensive board this time and the Rams’ second shot went in, making it 7–5, Rams, with 4:19 left in the quarter.  A nice pass from Daire Roddy to Mooney tied the game at 7 but a steal from behind, also the first of many that Overbrook would inflict on our usually good ball handling guards, broke the tie. Leming’s second 3 of the quarter gave the Dawgs their first lead of the game, 10–9, with 2:24 on the clock. A Haddonfield foul sent Overbrook to the line, but only one shot dropped, bringing the game even at 10. Senior Dante Del Duca was fouled behind the arc and made 1-3 to inch the Dawgs back out in front 11–10 with just under 2 minutes left in the quarter. However, the Rams would get the last 2 buckets of the first to go up by 3, 14–11, going into the second.

Those first 8 minutes set the tone for the next 24. Neither team could go up more than a few points and neither team could hold whatever lead they had. Leming started the 2nd the way he started the first, with a trey, which made it 14–14 with just over a minute gone. A floater by Mooney gave the Dawgs’ back the edge, 16–14, but Overbrook got the next two baskets to take a 2-point lead with 5:04 on the clock. Neither team could get a basket for almost 2 minutes, then Roddy was fouled at stepped to the line with 3:19 left in the half. His shots tied it at 18. Senior Carson Wolff, who almost always starts in the 2nd quarter, brings a lot of energy, especially defensively, onto the court. His steal was capped by a 3 from Teddy Bond, and with the Dawgs up by 3, 21–18, with 2 and change left in the half, Overbrook called a timeout.

After the inbounds, Overbrook lost the ball off a rebound, but the Dawgs couldn’t capitalize, even after getting an offensive board. Haddonfield was assessed a foul, even though the Overbrook player slipped on the court, and the Rams ended up hitting a 3 to knot the game at 21 with 45 seconds on the clock. Roddy’s basket made it 23–21, Haddonfield, but a foul, called just ahead of the buzzer on the Dawgs gave the Rams 2 shots at the foul line. One went it, and when halftime officially started, the Dawgs had the slimmest of leads at 23–22.

The 3rd quarter began with Overbrook having possession. The Dawgs immediately started pressing, which was having a good effect of blocking the entryways into the lane. So instead, the Rams shot from behind the arc and successfully regained the lead, 25–23, with 7:33 on the clock. Mooney went up and in on a reverse layup and tied the game at 25 about 70 seconds later. Leming, who was still channeling the 3’s, hit another to give the Dawgs’ a 3-point, 28–25, lead, but the Rams pulled down an offensive board and got a basket to cut that edge to 1, 28–27, with 5:19 left in the quarter. A pass went off Haddonfield under the basket. At the other end, good “D” by the Dawgs got a jump ball call, but Overbrook had the possession arrow and held onto the ball. Both teams exchanged a bad trip down to their respective baskets, and then the refs missed a clear backcourt violation on Overbrook (when I see it, you know it’s a no-doubter). Luckily, a blocked shot by Matthew Guveiyian kept the Rams from getting points off the missed call, and then a nice pass from Bond to Leming resulted in another 3 swooshing in, which gave Haddonfield its biggest lead, 31–27, of the game with 4:12 to go in the 3rd.

Neither team would score of their next few attempts. Then at the 2:21 mark, Overbrook turned yet another offensive board into a basket to make it a 31–29 game. After the Dawgs’ next shot did not find the net, the Rams got 2 on an uncontested layup to make it 31 all with 1:38 showing on the scoreboard. After getting an offensive board, it looked like Guveiyian was fouled trying to get the ball up and in under the basket and would be heading to the line, but the refs didn’t see it that way. Instead, the Dawgs had to inbound the ball and misfired, which put the ball back in the hands of the Rams, who scored to retake the lead 33–31. The Dawgs had 6.3 seconds to set a play but were charged with a travel. The buzzer sounded with the Rams finally missing a second-chance shot and the Dawgs looking uncharacteristically rattled.

The Dawgs had more trouble trying to inbound to start the 4th quarter and lost the ball. At the other end of the court, the Dawgs were pressuring the Rams under the basket, and more than 90 seconds ticked off the clock before the Rams found a path into the paint and the basket to go up by 4, 35–31, with 6:02 left in the game. Wolff got trapped in the corner with the ball and made a smart move, deflecting the ball off a Ram player so it went out of bounds. However, the Dawgs could not score. Overbrook gave the ball back on a traveling violation, and just back into the game, Bond fired off a 3-point attempt that just rimmed in to get the Dawgs back to within 1, 34–35, with 5:07 on the clock.

Wolff snuck in for a steal and Haddonfield made three attempts to get the ball in; none dropped. Overbrook gave the ball back after getting called for an offensive foul, and with 4:32 on the clock, Paul Wiedeman called a 30-second timeout. The Dawgs got the ball in this time under the Rams’ basket, and Leming got his own rebound but did not score. He pulled down a bigtime board defensive board at the other end and was fouled. Again, the Dawgs faltered trying to inbound the ball. This time, Overbrook called a timeout with 3:42 to go.

After a near pickoff by Mooney, it looked like the Dawgs did pull off a steal, but the refs called a double-dribble on Leming that no one in my section of the stands seemed to see or agree with. Overbrook had gone a bit cold but its missed shot went out of bounds off Haddonfield. However, the Rams were assessed with another moving violation, which their fans did not agree with. (A longtime Haddonfield fan who has probably seen even more high school games than I have remarked afterwards that the game was too fast-paced for the referees to keep up with, and I think she was absolutely right, as the refs got a lot of jaw from both sets of fans throughout the game.) With 2:49 on the clock, the Dawgs managed to successfully inbound the ball and Leming got fouled in the act of shooting, which sent him to the line with 2:39 remaining. His shots put Haddonfield up by 1, 36–35, and a timely pickoff by Guveiyian gave the Dawgs back the ball. Wolff passed the ball to Del Duca, who went up and in, giving the Dawgs a 3-point edge, 38–35, with 1:59 left in the game. That didn’t last for long as Overbrook “rammed” in a 3 to make it a dead heat again, 38 all, with 1:36 left in a very exciting, back-and-forth game.

After Guveiyian had to make a quick move to save the ball from going out of bounds, and with the clock down to 1:36, Coach Wiedeman thought this was a good time for a huddle on the sidelines with his players. After the Dawgs inbounded, the ball went out of bounds off a kicked ball by the Rams. The Dawgs ran a good play but the ball did not drop. At the other end, the Rams got their shot to roll in to take the lead back, 40–38, with 9.4 seconds left. Haddonfield called another timeout to discuss the last play. Things did not go as planned and not only did the Dawgs not score, they fouled the Rams trying to get the offensive rebound. 

With 2.7 left, the Rams inbounded the ball under Haddonfield’s basket, and it went out of bounds off the Dawgs. Now there was 1.7 seconds left. Wiedeman put the Dawgs’ tallest players, Guveiyian and Bond, on the Ram who was trying to inbound. With no players open, Overbrook had to call at timeout so it wouldn’t lose possession. In the stands, the Haddonfield faithful were not feeling too optimistic, as it looked like time had run out for a Dawgs’ comeback.

But Dawgs players do not quit. Ever. Odds don’t faze them. Clocks running down don’t make them wave the white flag. As the Ram player inbounding the ball threw it higher up, over the heads of Bond and Guveiyian, aiming for his player on the other side of the half-court line, 5-11 Roddy, who was also positioned on the other side of the line a bit in front of the much taller Overbrook player, leapt up and intercepted the ball before it could reach its intended target. 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. As the scoreboard registered the shot and it registered with the fans and players in the gym that Haddonfield once again had stared down what seemed like a sure defeat to pull out a win, the place went nuts. Overbrook players could not believe what had happened, hung their heads (even though they had played their hearts out for 31 minutes and 58.3 seconds), and walked off the court. Dawg fans started screaming, and there was a big pile-up of Dawgs on the court. Somehow Roddy did not end up on the bottom, which was probably a good thing, but Mooney, officially listed at 6-2, and Guveiyian did, and they were both slow to get up once the bodies of their teammates were pulled off them. I was a bit worried when Guveiyian very gingerly stepped off the court, but a check-in later with his dad, Mike, eased my concern, as I got the “all clear.”

Roddy’s amazing leap and basket got into the hands of the people at ESPN who create the Sports Center Top 10 Plays, and it ranked as number 4. During the Sunday 6 o’clock Action News broadcast (ABC being affiliated with ESPN), sportscaster Jamie Apody also showed the clip and marveled at Roddy’s one-two punch to upend the Rams. If you missed being there in person or were there but would like to watch it a few more times, here is the LINK to the whole Top 10 countdown:

This was a game for the books. Every point mattered. Every rebound mattered. Every steal, every block, every denied basket kept the Dawgs in the game for 32 minutes, including the last 1.7 seconds. Leming, with his 5 3’s and 2 foul shots, one again was high scorer for his team, putting 17 on the board. Mooney had 8; Bond, 6; Del Duca, 3; and Roddy, 7. From now on, I’m going to call this super soph “Double Daire” because not only did he dare to try for that steal, he dared to go for that improbable 3. If he hadn’t, the Dawgs would have played hard and lost 40–38 to a really good, athletic team. But because Roddy believed the Dawgs still had a “shot” to win, that’s just what they did.

Haddonfield now has an 11–2 overall record and is 7–1 in conference play. Next up is a Tuesday, 1/25, 7 p.m. home game against the Thundering Herd of Woodbury. On Thursday, 1/27, the Dawgs head down to what is almost always a tough game against the Red Raiders of Paulsboro. That is also a 7 p.m. start. The week wraps up in what has become an annual appearance in the Jeff Cooney Classic at Rancocas Valley Regional High School. The Dawgs are slated to go up against Burlington Township High School in a 6:15 game that in all probability will not start on time.

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs have a winning week. No ‘Lion’!

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.

Boys’ Basketball: A Sandwich Week

By Lauree Padgett. Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

Dawgs Have a Sandwich Week: Two Wins on Either Side of a Loss

The Haddonfield boys basketball team played three games this past week. The first two, on Tuesday, 1/4 and Thursday, 1/6, were against Colonial Conference rivals Collingswood and Sterling. The third was a nonconference match-up against St. Joseph High School (Hammonton) and took place at Holy Spirit High School on Sunday, 1/9 as part of the Seagull Classic.

The first contest, at Collingswood, was ugly, but we got a 26-point W out of it, and it wasn’t really close after the first half. The next two games went down to the wire. One even went into OT. The Dawgs nearly pulled out a win in one and did hang on to win in the other. Of course the game I didn’t get to was the game that the Dawgs eked out the victory … But thanks to a “court” reporter at the Holy Spirit game, I can give you a bit of a recap, including highlights of the last 4 minutes.

The Collingswood game I got to watch from the comfort of my desk, as almost all of the away conference games are being live-streamed. The Dawgs got the first point of the first quarter on a foul shot by senior Tom Mooney, but Collingswood got 2 on the Panthers’ first possession.

A nice feed from Mooney to fellow senior Matthew Guveiyian put the Dawgs back on top by 1 again, but another basket by Collingswood put them up 1, 4–3 with 5:46 on the clock. Neither team scored for a few trips up and down the court. Two minutes would go by, in fact, before junior Teddy Bond’s shot seesawed the lead back to the Dawgs, 5–4; 20 seconds later, sophomore Daire Roddy made it 7–4, Haddonfield.

However, a 3 by the Panthers tied it at 10 with 1:40 to go in the quarter. With just under a minute left, Collingswood got 2 from the foul line to push ahead 9–7. After a near turnover by the Dawgs, senior Matt Leming launched a 3 to give the Dawgs back a 3-point, 10–9, lead with 24.5 seconds remaining. In what looked like a pretty empty gym, it was easy to hear the Collingswood coach’s instruction: “One shot.” That one shot, released just ahead of the buzzer, did not drop, so heading into the 2nd quarter, the Dawgs were still on top 10–9.

At the 7:12 mark of the 2nd quarter, Collingswood went to the foul line. That in and of itself was not unusual; what made it so was the fact that this trip to the line was a 1+1 opportunity, meaning that in less than 9 minutes of action, Haddonfield had committed seven fouls. One-and-ones don’t generally happen until the end of a half, but less than 60 seconds into the 2nd quarter, the Panthers converted both ends to slip back into the lead, 11–10.

Sophomore Sam Narducci’s bucket put the Dawgs back up 12–11, but not for long, as the Panthers scored on an uncontested shot to make it 13–12, Collingswood, with 6:11 left in the half. A floater by Carson Woolf flipped it back to a 14–13 Dawgs’ edge. A technical called on Collingswood sent Bond to the line, and he made both shots to put his team up by 3, 16–14. The Dawgs maintained possession of the ball but did not score.

Another Dawg foul set up another 1+1. This time, Collingswood got the first shot but not the second, making it 16-14 Haddonfield with 4:57 on the clock. Collingswood finally picked up its fourth foul of the game (to Haddonfield’s 8, not that anyone was counting) at the 4:55 mark. About 40 seconds later, senior Sean Beane’s 2 gave the Dawgs a 4-point, 18–14, lead.

After the Dawgs picked up foul #9, Collingswood stepped to the line once more. This time, both shots were good and the Dawgs’ lead was back to 2, 16–14. A pickoff by Collingswood resulted in—you guessed it—a 10th foul called against Haddonfield. I scribbled down, in all caps, I might add, “THIS IS UNREAL,”  and with 2 and change until half-time, Collingswood made 2 more foul shots to tie the game at 18. Bond broke that tie with a 3, which was followed by a 2 by Narducci and then a 3 by Narducci. And just like that, with 39 seconds left on the clock, the Dawgs had taken an 8-point, 26–18, lead, and that’s what was on the scoreboard as the half came to an end.

Mooney started the second half the same way he started the first: making 1–2 from the foul line. After Guveiyian took a charge and the Dawgs got the ball back, a 2 by Leming gave Haddonfield its first double-digit lead of the game, at 29-18, with 50 seconds gone in the 3rd. A drive by Mooney made it 31–18 with 6:05 on the clock. The Panthers didn’t get a basket until nearly 3 minutes had ticked off the clock, but the Dawgs answered with a 3 from Leming, as with 4:48, the Dawgs were up by 14, 34–20. Another basket by Collingswood made it 34–22 with 4:38 to go.

The Dawgs had gotten a little sloppy and after that Panther basket, the Dawgs committed two fouls on either side of a bad pass that resulted in a turnover. This time, Collingswood did not get any points from the foul line, and with 2:29 left in the 3rd, the score remained 34–22. At the other end, sophomore Patrick Ryan hit 2 from the line to make it 36–22, Haddonfield, with 1:53 on the clock. A few plays later, Ryan showed good hustle to keep the ball in the Dawgs’ possession, which enabled Leming to score to make it 38–22, Dawgs, with 35 seconds to go. The Panthers got a basket and a foul, but didn’t convert the shot from the line, and Leming ended the 3rd with a 3. Going into the last 8 minutes, the Dawgs had stretched an 8-point halftime lead into a 17-point, 41–24, lead.

The Dawgs would score another 15 points in the 4th and hold the Panthers again to 6 points. Guveiyian, Mooney, and fellow senior Evan Rohlfing each had a basket. Narducci had a pair, and Leming had another 2 and another 3. The final was 56–30. Leming led all Dawg scorers (10 players each had at least one basket) with 19. I am giving Haddonfield’s coach Paul Wiedeman an assist, which was his trademark while a Haddonfield player, as I had to ask him for a box score the next day. The lighting for the live stream was not great, so it was not always easy to read the numbers on the jerseys. (Even after I stopped the feed and rewound it a few times during the game, I wasn’t sure if I had given the right player credit for a shot, and apparently, more than once, I hadn’t.) Plus, with a few exceptions, most of the Dawg players have dark hair. Leming usually wears a headband, and it took me until the end of the 3rd quarter to realize he was wearing a dark blue one, which is why I had short-changed him 4 points.

Two days later, the Dawgs welcomed the Silver Knights of Sterling to their home turf. I was informed by a regular in the stands, former head coach Dave Wiedeman, that Sterling was good and it was going to be a tough game. The elder Wiedeman, as always, knew what he was talking about.

The game started off with neither team scoring during its first possession. Matthew Guveiyian, who went in for a “gentle” dunk, got the Dawgs’ on the board, but Sterling quicky answered, and with 6:22 on the clock, it was 2 all. Guveiyian was fouled his next attempt and made 1–2 from the line, and with a little more than 2 minutes gone in the quarter, it was 3–2, Haddonfield,.

After a scuffle on the floor for a loose ball, Sterling came away with it and scored. Haddonfield lost the ball on a travel. The Dawgs had good “D” under their basket to deny the Knights, but a bad pass turned the ball over, and this time, Sterling found the net to push the lead to 3, 6–3, with 4:25 on the clock. Mooney’s bucket made it a 1-point game, but after a foul called against the Dawgs, the Knights scored again to put them back up by 3, 8–5, with 3:36 to go in the 1st.

Guveiyian, who is more known for his points in the paint and his offensive and defensive boards, took Sterling by surprise with a 3 to tie it at 8. Sterling got the lead right back with a basket, and after neither team scored during a few trips up and down the court, Sterling took advantage of another Dawg turnover to go up by 4, 12–8, with 5.7 on the clock. A missed shot on the buzzer by Haddonfield kept the Dawgs trailing by 4 going to the 2nd quarter.

In the initial 2:57 of the 2nd, the two teams only mustered 3 points, all coming from the foul line. Sterling got 1 to go up by 5, 13–8, and then a pair by Mooney cut the lead down to 3, 13–10, with 5:58 on the clock. The first field goal of the quarter came from Wolff, to get the Dawgs to within 1, 12–13, at the 5:03 mark. Sterling got its first bucket down at its basket to go back up by 3, 15–12. The Dawgs had two shots fail to find the net, Sterling also failed to score, and then the Dawgs lost the ball on a traveling violation.

Another basket by Sterling put the Knights up by 5, 17–12, with 4 minutes to go until the half. Mooney made a nice weaving move to get to the basket and his shot did everything but drop. Sterling was having no trouble at all getting the ball in the net and scored its third unanswered basket to increase its lead to 7, 19–12, with 3:18 to go. A few plays later, Mooney secured a defensive board then went down the other end for a shot that did go in. A few seconds later, he went in for another 2 off a quick steal, and with 25 seconds remaining in the half, the Dawgs had gotten back to 3 and were down 16–19, which is how the half ended.

When play resumed in the 3rd quarter, Haddonfield came out looking energized. The Dawgs inbounded the ball and got the offensive board after a missed shot. That gave Teddy Bond the chance to let loose behind the arc and tie the game at 19 just 29 seconds into the 2nd half. Neither team scored, and then Sterling got called for a travel. Matt Leming got his first basket of the game, also a 3, to put the Dawgs out in front 22–19 with 6:48 on the clock. Again, the teams were not able to score for a few possessions. An offensive foul called on the Dawgs gave the Knights the ball back, and a 3 at their end tied it a 22 with 2:58 on the clock. Mooney was fouled in the act of shooting and made 1–2 from the line to push the advantage back to Haddonfield, 23–22, at the 2:18 mark.

A foul sent a Knight over the back of Mooney but since it wasn’t during a scoring attempt, the Dawgs had to inbound the ball. In a nice play, Bond passed the ball into Guveiyian, who went up and in to put the Dawgs up by 3, 25–22, with just under 2 minutes showing on the scoreboard. Sterling got a quick bucket and was fouled in the process. The foul shot was good and once again, the teams were knotted, this time at 25 all with 1:32 to go.

The Dawgs missed a shot, but Guveiyian, in an amazing feat (feet?) of balance, saved the ball from going out of bounds, and with 44.2 remaining, put the Dawgs back up by 2, 27–25, with another basket. Sterling drew even with 15 seconds to go. Senior Dante Del Duca (known as D3 in my notepad) was fouled attempting to score. With 6 seconds left, he made the first shot and missed the second, but Wolff got the rebound and scored, and the Dawgs were up  by 3, 30–27, going into the 4th.

Both teams were showing the weight of 24 minutes that had been a constant battle, as neither managed to score for the first 1:59 of the final quarter. Sterling’s 3 at 6:01 brought the teams even yet again at 30 all. At the other end, Wolff pulled down an offensive rebound and then sent the ball into the net to give the Dawgs a 2-point edge, 32–30, and with 5:43 left in the game, Coach Paul Wiedeman wanted a timeout.  Play-by-play announcer and DJ Mark Hershberger took that break to play a few strains of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” which I always thought was a great basketball song. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what  Sterling did to make it 32–32, but could not go up by one on the follow-up foul shot.

The Dawgs picked an especially bad time to have a turnover, as it resulted in Sterling going up by 2, 34–32. After the Dawgs did not score, Sterling was fouled attempting to do so. Both foul shots were made, which gave the Knights a 4-point, 36–32, lead with 4:54 on the clock. 90 seconds would go by before Haddonfield got to the foul line with a 1+1 chance. The first shot did not go in, and after getting the rebound, Sterling scored to take a 6-point, 38–32, lead with a little less than 3 minutes to play.

Leming caused a jump ball and the Dawgs had the possession arrow. A Sterling foul sent Mooney to the line, again with a 1+1 in play. He made both shots to make it 38–34, Knights, with 2:43 left in regulation. Unfortunately for the Dawgs, Sterling hit a 3 and the Dawgs lost the ball on a travel on a bit of slippery court. Del Duca picked off the ball, the Knights were called for a foul, and Leming stepped to the foul line for a 1+1. He made both, and with 1:45, the Dawgs were still in the hole by 5, 36–41.

Wolff stole the ball but couldn’t quite hold onto it. Sterling kept possession on a jump ball call with 1:31 on the clock. But Mooney caused one of his own to get the Dawgs back the ball, only to have the Dawgs give it back to the Knights on an offensive foul call. Del Duca picked off the ball again … and again the Dawgs couldn’t hold onto it. Instead, a foul sent Sterling to the line with a 1+1 chance. Both shots went in, and with 45.1 seconds to go, the Dawgs were down by 7, 36–43.

Now, at about this “point,” it wasn’t looking too good for the Dawgs. However, the Dawgs never give up and concede a loss. After a full-time out by Sterling, Mooney got a 2 on a feed by Guveiyian. Now it was 43–38, Sterling, with 22.7 remaining. Haddonfield called a full time out. Off Sterling’s attempt to inbound the ball, Guveiyian intercepted it, passed it to Wolff, who went up and in. With 14.1 to go, Sterling’s lead was down to 3, 43–40.

This time the Knights got the ball in play and were fouled, bringing into play yet another crucial 1+1. With 8.4 on the clock, Sterling missed the front end, and Guveiyian grabbed the rebound.  Two times, the ball went out of bounds off Sterling. With 2.1 on the clock, Sterling called a full time out. The Dawgs had to inbound and were having trouble finding an open man. But Sterling committed a foul to help the Dawgs out. After Leming uncharacteristically missed both shots, the Dawgs tried for a rebound and lost it out of bounds.

All Sterling has to do is inbound the ball and the game is over. In trying to make a long pass into Sterling territory, the ball hits the rafters. It’s now Haddonfield’s ball again, and there is still 1.1 seconds on the clock. There is time for a very quick shot. It looks like Mooney is going to be the man to launch it, but … Haddonfield loses the ball. “WTF?” I demand on my notepad. (Everyone knows this translates into “What the foul??”) Sterling gets the ball back and this time makes a short pass to inbound the ball. The buzzer sounds. The Knights have swash-buckled their way to an intense, often crazy, 43–40 victory. Tom Mooney finished with 13 for the Dawgs, Matthew Guveiyian with 10.

After the game, I turn to—who else—the man in the know, aka Dave Wiedeman, for an explanation. He tells me in that last play by the Dawgs, they were called for an illegal screen. The fourth, Dave adds, of the game. On the way home, my driving buddy Vic Wiedeman says, “Paul’s been teaching his players that screen for 23 years …” Apparently, if that screen is now illegal, the Dawgs’ coach never got the memo.

On Sunday, 1/9, the Dawgs traveled down to Absecon and Holy Spirit High School to take part in the Seagull Classic. Their opponents was St. Joseph’s High School of Hammonton. I was hoping to find a stream of the game, but after many attempts, I had to give up. Luckily, I had a man on the scene, Mike Guveiyian, dad of Matthew. His first update was at the half, when the Dawgs were up by 1, 21–20, which was pretty amazing since Mike said 12 or so of St. Joe’s points were from the foul line. Since this was supposed to be another really tough opponent, I was heartened to hear the team was hanging in there. My next update was after the 3rd period. The Dawgs were now on top by 5, 33–28, which was sounding pretty good. The next update was not what I had hoped: At the end of regulation, the teams were tied at 37 and were headed to a 4-minute OT. “Aagghh!” I replied. The next message read,” 46–42 us with 1 minute left in OT. Other team hit a 3—we were up 7.” I was hoping the Dawgs would hang in for those last 60 seconds … With 19 seconds left, Mike reported that the Dawgs were ahead 48–44 and had possession. St. Joe’s was fouling. A short time later, I was told, “48–46. 6.7 left, our ball.” Jeez, this was getting too close again! After what seemed like a long time and wasn’t, I got the good news: The Dawgs had prevailed and won 50–46. Mooney and Leming made big foul shots at the end. I asked about the Guveiyian on the court and was told he pulled down a lot of rebounds. My last question to my reporter was, “Any illegal screens called on us?” “Zero” I was told.

So, in a long week the Dawgs managed to win 2 out of 3 games. They are now 6–2 overall and 3–1 in the Colonial Conference.

The week ahead has a bit of a scheduling oddity, as the Dawgs are playing conference games on Monday, 1/10 and Wednesday, 1/12. Both are home games, the first against Haddon Heights and the second versus Lindenwold. Friday is an away game at Gloucester City at 5:30. I am not sure what the status is as far as fans in the stands, but the game will be streamed live. Go HERE to watch it.