Thursday night was an exhibition in what can be accomplished in a short period of time. For instance, the West Deptford High School boys’ basketball team was able to hold Haddonfield scoreless for the first two minutes, 30 seconds of its Colonial Conference Liberty Division rivalry game against Haddonfield.
The Bulldawgs did something a little more spectacular with the final 2:30 of the first half. They scored 17 unanswered points.
Haddonfield turned an eight-point deficit into a nine-point halftime lead over the final 2:30 of the first half and pulled away in the second half for a convincing 67-40 win.
“It was just a lot of energy plays that got us going there,” said Haddonfield forward Chris Biddle, who had seven points in that span. “We started shooting the ball well and made shots when it mattered. That was a big-time run for us.”
West Deptford took its biggest lead of the game when reserve guard Luke McKeown hit a jumper to give the Eagles a 22-14 advantage with 2:34 left in the second quarter. The Bulldawgs switched to a full-court press right after and forced the Eagles to turn the ball over three times down the stretch, which resulted in easy baskets on the other end.
“The first time around we got down big against them and we pressed them in the second half, man-to-man, full court,” Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said. “This time I said, 'I have to be smarter than that’ and I started (the press) in the second quarter. We are fortunate that we got some steals and got some baskets because they are a very good half-court team.”
West Deptford, which got 10 points from Justin Hansen, entered the game with a bunch of intensity and a fired up home crowd. The Eagles took the Bulldawgs to overtime on the road earlier this season and hoped to pull off a big upset to firm up their place in the Group 2 playoff race. Once the Bulldawgs went on their run, the air seemed to come out of the West Deptford players’ sails and also the home crowd.
“I just think they stopped believing,” West Deptford coach Don Clark said. “The last time we played them we were up 14 and they came back and beat us. I guess they looked at it like, ‘Now we are down by nine, how are we ever going to come back?’”
Clark said there are lessons to be learned from both losses to Haddonfield.
“It was a playoff-type of game,” Clark said. “You can learn from a game like that. I told them, ‘You were beating them in the first half, just like you were the last time, but there comes a time where we have to be more disciplined on offense. We can’t just chuck the ball up and that’s the lesson you learn.’ It’s going to look like we lost by 27, but anyone that was here saw that we were up on them for most of the first half.”