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HMHS Boys Basketball: Dawgs continue to roll along

The HMHS boys varsity basketball team had quite the week, playing three games between January 8 and the 13. Not only did they easily keep their winning streak alive, now 7–0 in the Colonial Conference and 13–0 overall, they did one leg of it in quite an historic fashion.

Lindenwold at Haddonfield: January 8, 2024

This was the game that would have left everyone who was rooting for Haddonfield a bit stunned in a good, but very unexpected, way. Even with two senior starters nursing minor injuries (forwards Nate Rohlfing and Zach Langan), to say that the Dawgs steamrolled the Lions would be a gross understatement.

In the first quarter, after the Dawgs got the first bucket on a 2 from senior forward Patrick Ryan, senior guard Sam Narducci knocked down a  3. The Lions got on the board with a basket to make it 5–2, Dawgs, with just under a minute gone. The Dawgs would put 17 unanswered points on the board (a 3 by senior guard Matt Morris; a 3 by Narducci; a 3 by senior guard Phil McFillin; a 2 by Ryan from Morris; a 2-point drive by Narducci followed by a foul shot; and another 3 from Morris). When the Lions got that second basket, 4:02 was showing on the scoreboard, and the Dawgs were up 22–4.

Lindenwold did not take nearly as long to get its third basket and finished the quarter with 10 points. But the Dawgs would finish with 38 points, with 21 coming off three-pointers: Morris hit 3 and Narducci and McFillin each made two.

The next 8 minutes were much more competitive. Lindenwold started making more baskets and added 18 to its total. Narducci swooshed in two more 3’s, McFillin got another, and sophomore guard Mike Douglas got his first trey of the game. Sophomore forward Chris Beane came in and made a trio of 2’s, including the last bucket of the half; Morris drove in for a pair; and Narducci made a 2 as well. At the half, the Dawgs were up by 34—more than Lindenwold had put on the board—62–28.

Five Dawgs combined for 16 baskets from the field and three foul shots in the third quarter on the way to scoring 37 points. Here’s how it broke down: Morris made 2 shots from the line, a 3, and a 2; McFillin had a trio of 2’s; Ryan kept driving into the paint, scoring five times, and added 1 from the foul line; Narducci nailed his fifth (and final) 3 and also scored three times from inside the arc; and senior point guard Daire Roddy, who is usually too busy directing traffic, actually took a shot and scored. While all this offense was going on, the Dawgs still held the Lions to 11 points, and with 8 minutes left in the game, were up by 60, 99–39.

As I’m sure most people in the stands were, I was sitting in my normal perch trying to remember what the biggest scoring game was Haddonfield had ever had. I knew one thing for sure: Never had the team started the fourth quarter a point away from 100. On those rare occasions when the Dawgs were getting close to the triple-digit mark, it was the end of the game and our coach, who would never run up the score just because he had the players who could do it, would be directing those on the court—who would most definitely not be his starters or even his first-off-the-bench players—to spread the ball and make a lot of passes before taking a shot. Usually this tactic worked and the Dawgs would exit the court without reaching 100. Monday night, this was not going to happen …

Seven players, all of whom played in the JV game beforehand, got into the last 8 minutes. Twenty-two points were scored. Mike Douglas got two more treys; freshman forward Ryan Guveiyian matched Douglas with a pair of 3’s; Beane got one more basket; and sophomore forward Jack McKeever made three 2’s. When the horn sounded to end this contest, the Dawgs had put 121 points on the board to Lindenwold’s 50, beating them by 71 points. Ironically, those 50 points are more (counting the two games that followed) than any other team has scored against Haddonfield this season.

Four Dawgs were in double digits: Sam Narducci led the way with 30; Matt Morris had 22; Patrick Ryan contributed 19; and Phil McFillin finished with 17. Before I list the quarter scores and list all of the players’ points, I want to address what the “old-timers” in the stands (including Dave and Vic Wiedeman, Tom Betley, and yours truly) were huddled together talking about afterwards: While we were 99.99% sure between us that no Haddonfield team had gotten 121 points in one game before, we were trying to remember what the biggest point total before that night had been. Dave and I were thinking around 104 or so.

When I got home, I made a beeline to my stack of Dawg scrapbooks (they go back to the 1973 state championship and go up through 2006, Brian Zoubek’s senior year; clearly, I am a bit behind, but I do have “archives” safely collected). I had a hunch that it would be the 1989 team, coached by one Wiedeman (Dave) and led on the floor by another (Paul) that would have scored more than 100 points over four quarters, and I knew I had, from the program of the year Dave went into the HMHS Athletic Hall of Fame (1999) a list of every game the team played en route to a 31–0 season that culminated with Haddonfield bringing home the school’s second boys basketball state title.

Sure enough, that year while blowing out most of their opponents by 20, 30, or more points, Haddonfield had three games (until I looked again just now, I missed the first one) in which they scored more than 100 points. First, they beat Woodbury 102–45 seven games into the season. In the last third, they put up 100-plus in back-to-back games. They outscored Eastern 104–68 (Eastern would get sweet revenge, eliminating Haddonfield in the first round of the inaugural Tournament of Champions several weeks later, but I still don’t like to talk about that game and two bad calls that cost us the win, not that I’m still bitter), and then put up 108 to Haddon Township’s 63. So, yes, Haddonfield fans, in their game versus Lindenwold, the Dawgs bested their previous best by 13 points. I think it is fairly safe to say that no other Haddonfield squad had reached 62 points by the half or 99 by the end of the third.

Well done, boys and coaches. I added “and coaches” because it isn’t a stretch to say that Haddonfield could have won by even more were our coaches the kind who like to run up the score at any cost with no regard to the opposing team.

Quarter scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield 38, Lindenwold, 10

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield 24 Lindenwold 18

Halftime: Haddonfield 62, Lindenwold 28

Third Quarter: Haddonfield 37, Lindenwold 11

Fourth Quarter: Haddonfield 22, Lindenwold 11

Final score: Haddonfield 121, Lindenwold 50

Player scores:

Sam Narducci: 30

Marr Morris: 22

Patrick Ryan: 19

Phil McFillin: 17

Mike Douglas: 9

Chris Beane: 8

Jack McKeever: 8

Ryan Guveiyian: 6

Daire Roddy: 2

Haddonfield at Gloucester City: January 10, 2024

Before I do a recap of this game, I want to apologize to any fans, like me, who did not go to the game and were trying to stream it off the Gloucester City’s Hudl page. Although it listed the game as upcoming, giving the impression it would air live, this was not the case. It took at least a day for a final score to appear, and a few days later, nothing was showing up when I would click the View button. Just now, I went to the page and finally it’s showing “highlights” of the game, and for some reason, they weren’t showing the Dawgs’ taking care of yet another group of Lions. What I discovered too late to watch it live was that Gloucester City has a YouTube channel and that’s where I was finally able to see the game a few days later.

I also want to take the time to talk about the depth of this Dawg squad. Sam Narducci missed a few games in a row, and for three games in a row, starting with the Lindenwold contest, Nate Rohlfing and Zach Langan have been on the bench nursing minor injuries. With no disrespect meant at all to these three young men, who all contribute offensively and defensively every game, I want to tip my hat to Matt Morris and Phil McFillin and the coaching staff. The two games that Narducci sat out, Morris and McFillin each took a turn starting. With both Rohlfing and Langan out, Morris and McFillin have both been in at the outset of the last three games. And there has been no downtick because these seven players, who also include Daire Roddy and Patrick Ryan, are all starter-worthy. These seniors, who have been on the court together since they were in elementary school, play hard at both ends of the court. They can score inside the paint or knock down a 3. They can cause a world of trouble defensively for their opponents. And they are unselfish. Although I haven’t gone back to verify this, I am pretty confident that a good chunk of the Dawgs’ points per game come off of assists.

The Dawgs’ coaching staff, led by head coach Paul Wiedeman, includes JV coaches Brian Stafford and Antony Parenti (another former Dawg); Scott Kupersmit, assistant JV coach; and Travis Murphy, the freshman coach. They not only work with the players on offense and defense, they teach them how to be a cohesive unit. That’s why these young men don’t just play together, they play for each other. Watch the bench sometimes during a game. Lately, I have seen Narducci, Rohlfing, and Langan engaged with what’s happening on the court, even when they haven’t been able to play. And at the end of the game, when a starter’s night is done, watch how much each one enjoys cheering on the up-and-coming players. If you want to know how and why Haddonfield has stayed a premier team in Camden County, not to mention the state, for decades, this will give you a big clue.

OK, now back to the Gloucester City game. While the Dawgs did not make it to 100, they still won handily. The first quarter begin with McFillin, Narducci, and Morris hitting three’s before Gloucester got on the board with a 2. Ryan’s offensive board led to the first 2 of the game for the Dawgs, and then on the Dawgs’ next possession, the second 2, which put the Dawgs up 13–2 with 4:32 on the clock. After another 2 by the Lions, Narducci launched back-to-back treys. McFillin then scored twice in a row, putting up a 2 off a steal and then hitting his second trey of the night. Narducci closed off the scoring for the quarter with his third 3 of the game, which put the Dawgs up 27–4.

The Dawgs’ output the second quarter dropped to three baskets, two by Morris and one by Mike Douglas. Even so, and even though the Lions put 14 on the board, going into the half, Haddonfield was still up by 15, 33–18.

And then the reverse happened in the third. Lindenwold managed 4 again, 2 from the foul line and one from the field, while the Dawgs’ offense kicked in again thanks to Morris and Ryan. The Dawgs’ first three buckets of the second half were treys by Morris. His next 5 points came from the foul line. Ryan scored four times, twice off offensive rebounds. Narducci’s 3 came in the middle of the quarter.

In the fourth, McFillin kept up the offensive pace. He hit two 3’s sandwiched in between a pair of 2’s. Chris Beane made 5 foul shots and a bucket, and Douglas hit 2 from the line and put two in the net from the field. Gloucester City had its best quarter, putting up 19, but Haddonfield still outscored them by 6 points and won 83–41..

Phil McFillin and Matt Morris combined for 43 points, scoring 22 and 21, respectively. Sam Narducci added 15.

Quarter scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield 27, Gloucester City, 4

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield 6, Gloucester City 14

Halftime score: Haddonfield 33, Gloucester City 18

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield 25, Gloucester City  4

4th Quarter: Haddonfield 25, Gloucester City 19

Final score: Haddonfield 83, Gloucester City 41

Player scores:

Phil McFillin: 22

Matt Morris: 21

Sam Narducci: 15

Patrick Ryan: 8

Mike Douglas: 8

Chris Beane: 7

Jake Dewedoff: 2

Delsea Regional High School at Haddonfield: January 13, 2024

Before I write about this game, I wanted to share a few facts from a short writeup from the NJ Advance Media boys basketball staff that Haddonfield’s topnotch play-by-play man Mark Hershberger shared in a Facebook post:

After beating Haddon Heights and Camden Catholic by single digits, 5 and 6 points, respectively, in the first two games of the season, in their next 10 games, Haddonfield has bested the opposition by an average of 36.6 points. Not only are the Dawgs averaging just under 70 points per game, they have only trailed after the first quarter twice: to Egg Harbor Township and Moorestown. Phil McFillin, Matt Morris, Sam Narducci, and Nate Rohlfing have double-figure averages. Rohlfing and Patrick Ryan have been combining for more than 20 rebounds per game.

Woof, woof, woof!!!

So, in the original schedule for the week, Williamstown was supposed to be playing at Haddonfield on Friday, January 12. I’m not sure what happened, but that game was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled (and may not be). Instead, a replacement game was quickly set up, and on Saturday, January 13, the Crusaders of Delsea Regional High School came to the Haddons Pavilion for an afternoon game. The Crusaders are in the Liberty division of the Tri-County Conference, with a 2–1 conference record. The night before, Delsea won a non-conference game to extend their overall record to 9–3 as prepared to face Haddonfield.

For the first part of the game, it appeared as if the Dawgs’ week of wide margin victories was going to put to the test. The Crusaders got the first bucket of the game, a 3, which would be their first of many, to go up 3–0. Daire Roddy got the Dawgs on the board with a 2, but the Crusaders came right back with another 3 to go up 6–2 with 5:25 on the clock. Matt Morris and Sam Narducci responded with back-to-back 3’s to put Haddonfield up 8–6 at the 4:30 mark, but Delsea tied it on a basket and retook the lead from the foul line.

Narducci drove in for a bucket, and Roddy, who I am happy to see is taking some more shots again, hit a 3, and with 3:22 left in the quarter, the Dawgs were up by 4, 13–9. Delsea got its third trey of the quarter to get to within 1, 13–12, but a basket in the paint by Morris pushed the edge back to 3, 15–12 with 1:16 left. A 3-pointer by Phil McFillin increased the lead to 6, 18–12, with about 43 seconds showing on the scoreboard. After stealing the ball and being fouled, Narducci made both shots from the line to make it 20–12, Dawgs, but Delsea got the last basket of the game to get back to within 6, 20–14.

Even though the Crusaders got as close as 22–17 with 6:27 to go in the half, the endless barrage of baskets by Ryan and Narducci in 2nd quarter (both scored four times from the field, with Narducci hitting a pair of 3’s in between two 2’s) started to wear Delsea down. A Ryan basket off a feed from Roddy made it 24–17. It was followed by a nice jumper from Narducci to give the Dawgs’ their biggest lead of the game, 9 points, at 26–17, with 5:36 to go. Narducci got his first 3 of the quarter off a Haddonfield pickoff, making it 29–17 at the 4:36 mark. Delsea got 3 straight points on a foul shot and a 2-pointer, but those points were basically erased by a 3 by McFillin. After the Crusaders failed to score, Narducci got his second trey of the quarter, and with 2:14 showing on the scoreboard, the Dawgs had extended their lead to 35–20. After pulling down a defensive rebound at one end of the court, Ryan scored at the other end off a pass from Mike Douglas, and a few plays later, Ryan would finish out the quarter scoring as Roddy picked up another assist. As the half ended, the Dawgs had broken open what had begun as a close contest and were up by 21, 411–20.

The Crusaders had their biggest offensive quarter in the third, putting up 19 points, but the Dawgs would add 23. Morris had the hot hand, swooshing in two 3’s, a 2, and a pair from the foul line. Narducci scored 5 on a 3 and a 2, Ryan had two more buckets, and Roddy scored again. Going into the last 8 minutes, the Dawgs were in Crusader control, up by 25, 64–39.

In the fourth quarter, the players who had been in a 9:30 a.m. JV game, which they won 74–36, took over after Morris, Ryan, and Narducci got their last baskets of the game. Douglas, Ryan Guveiyian, and Jack McKeever each got a 2, and Mike Feinstein hit a 3. The final score was 79–45. Sam Narducci finished with 25, Matt Morris had 16, and Patrick Ryan added 14.

Quarter scores:

1st Quarter: Haddonfield 20, Delsea 14

2nd Quarter: Haddonfield 21, Delsea 6

Halftime score: Haddonfield 41, Delsea 20

3rd Quarter: Haddonfield 23, Delsea 19

4th Quarter: Haddonfield 15, Delsea 6

Final score: Haddonfield 79, Delsea 45

Player scores:

Sam Narducci: 25

Matt Morris: 16

Patrick Ryan: 14

Phil McFillin: 8

Daire Roddy: 7

Mike Feinstein: 3

Mike Douglas: 2

Ryan Guveiyian: 2

Jack McKeever: 2

The Week Ahead

The Dawgs have an early 4:00 p.m. away game versus the Thundering Herd of Woodbury on Tuesday, 1/16, and that game will be streaming on Woodbury’s YouTube channel. Another Colonial Conference matchup follows as the Dawgs host Collingswood on Thursday, 1/18, at 7 p.m.. Saturday is another non-conference game This one, against Pitman High School is part of  Paul the VI’s Winter Classic tournament. Game time is scheduled for 5:30 but keep in mind there will be games ahead of this one, so it is likely to start a bit later.