Haddonfield Knocks off Camden… Again

Got there about 6:10 pm…. My Bro, Gene Lett came through! He made sure I had a ticket for the game… You had to have a plan or a hook up… Couldn’t show up and buy a ticket… Naaah…Not that night…

The South Jersey Group 2 title game between Camden and Haddonfield on Monday night at Cherry Hill East High School was HUGE!

The line to enter the game was a couple hundred deep over an an hour before tip-off… Keep in mind, these were people with tickets in their hand…

There were ABSOLUTELY no tickets available for purchase… Every square inch of the gym was accounted for… Here is a quick pan of the energetic and considerably swollen crowd…

 

 

Literally, this was the hottest ticket in town…

The meager number allotted to the respective schools were swallowed within minutes of release. And then… Shit got a lil’ weird.

At Haddonfield High School, you had to present a driver’s license with a Haddonfield address to purchase a ticket to a basketball game… If you had an acceptable address, you were allowed to purchase exactly one ticket…

RULES… Conceived, drafted and implemented in a day… Intended to advantage some and disadvantage others…

Some complained… strongly… Haddonfield, clearly, wanted to ensure that it’s fans were taken care of… I don’t blame them… With a suitable venue, between the two schools, they could have easily sold in excess of 4,000 tickets for this contest.

The Camden and Haddonfield communities support their basketball programs in a very big way!

Haddonfield also has a Championship team. Now… Here is where you say predictable things about a predominantly white basketball team… Shit like, they are well coached and unselfish… They play a structured, disciplined and patient brand of basketball. They avoid turnovers.

All true… The team possesses those characteristics… and more. They can really fuckin’ play…

They entered the game with a record of 28-1. They defeated Camden last year for South Jersey Group 2 title… Haddonfield ain’t new to this.

As Camden faithful perform the autopsies, various causes of defeat are bandied about… For example, the Xs and Os of first year coach Vic Carstarphen have been openly discussed as the reason for the loss. Some question his decisions to switch defenses at key junctures. Others point to a perceived lack of focus among the high talented core group of players and fault the head coach.

It is worth noting that Lett, Brewer and Woodley never wore purple and gold before this season. Carstarphen had to integrate these players into a lineup featuring established starters Lance Ware and Ethan Tarte. On top of that, the volatile Woodley was unavailable for a couple stretches. Overall, Carstarphen did a solid job of blending disparate parts into a functioning unit over the course of the season. They just ran into a well-prepared and determined Haddonfield squad.

With his rookie campaign under his belt, one would expect to see Carstarphen continue to evolve and improve as a head coach.

Another frequently cited reason was the referees. Objectively speaking, the refs must bear some weight… In my estimation, over the first three quarters, the refs missed a LOT of calls… but they – more or less – missed ‘em on both ends.

As the game wound down to crunch time, they started calling fouls away from the basket…

Huh? What the fuck?

You didn’t see that aggravated assault under the other basket ’bout 7 minutes ago. There’s no denying it… There were some very bad calls. Nakedly so… More significantly, in the latter stage, the whistle was only blowing one way. The refs were a factor in the game… The refs did not determine the outcome.

There were other factors of equal or more significance.

For Camden, Nasir Lett cramped up and Ethan Tarte fouled out.

Subsequently, several Camden players repeatedly made poor decisions with the ball… They were in a hurry… They wanted the game to be over… There was no effort to milk the clock. Camden almost played as if they were down 10 instead of up 10.

Also, missed free throws were very costly. Especially by your best players… your stars.

All of the aforementioned played a role… But, what stood out to me was the fact that these white boys could play.

Haddington’s Mike DePersia ’19 (committed to D1 IUPUI) effectively dealt with relentless full court defensive pressure applied by El-Khana Hidalgo ’19. DePersia was heady and savvy while controlling the offense for Haddonfield. His leadership kept them together and within striking distance.

DePersia kept coming and coming… Behind, but determined.

Haddonfield hung around all night… While it felt like Camden was in control for three quarters, Haddonfield never let them out of their sight. More importantly, Haddonfield was “long” enough, “athletic” enough and competed hard on every play.

Lance Ware ’20, TaQuan Woodley ‘21 and Jerome Brewer ’21 give Camden a formidable Division 1 front court. These guys are skilled, long and very extremely athletic.

Didn’t matter… Haddonfield matched ’em…

So… What happened? How do we explain IT?

Camden was up by 11 with less than two minutes to play and lost the game.

Was it Carstarphen’s coaching? Was it the refs? Was it Tarte fouling out?

I watched every minute of the game… Here’s what I saw… This is what I will remember going forward…

Haddonfield’s Dan Fleming “bussed dey ass!”

Straight up… His fifth 3-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation forced the overtime. Fleming scored 16 of Haddonfield’s final 20 points.

Please… Take a moment and view some the highlights of Fleming’s magnificent  performance…

 

That said… Camden still had multiple opportunities to win the game. Good clean shot attempts to win and or tie the ball game. They just wouldn’t fall.

Here you can watch the final minute of the game. It was a memorable and intense high school game.

 

I heard a lot of the chatter about Vic’s coaching… I’ve also heard how the refs “stole” the game from the Panthers.

Truth be told, if anyone asks me what happened… I’m gonna say Dan Fleming bussed dey ass…

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Haddonfield Senior, Mike DePersia

 

 

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Roman Catholic vs Camden High: Preview

Why Roman Catholic SHOULD win their matchup with Camden High School tonight…

Let’s look at the matchups…

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Lance Ware, Camden’s Junior Power Forward

Lance Ware vs Seth Lundy – Ware is a highly skilled 6’9” PF. He is a very capable rebounder, ball-handler, shot blocker and shooter. Lundy is a 6’6” SF/PF that plays with a great deal of intensity. Lundy is a tenacious rebounder with range that extends well beyond the the high school 3 point line. EVEN

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Seth Lundy, Roman Catholic SF/PF

Taquan Woodley vs Jalen Duren – This is a matchup between the two most talented underclassmen in the region. Both rely heavily upon intimidation and athleticism. Both are excellent rebounders and shot blockers. Duren at 6’9” is a tad longer than Woodley who comes in at 6’7.” Right now, it appears that Woodley may be one of the strongest players in the region regardless of class. The X factor here could be composure. Woodley has demonstrated a tendency to allow his emotions to get the best of him. He has to remain even keeled for Camden to have a real chance. They need Woodley’s presence on the block. EVEN

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Taquan Woodley, Camden High School

Jerome Brewer vs Hakim Hart – Brewer has emerged as one of finest underclassmen in the region. He is a very long sophomore, standing 6’7.” He has a nice jump shot that extends beyond the 3 point line and he is a very capable rebounder. Hart is one of the best player in the area. Along with Isaiah Wong, he is a leading contender for the Catholic League MVP honor. He plays a very nuanced and subtle game. He rebounds, he passes, defends in the post and he SHOOTS. His shot is extremely soft and his range extends beyond the NBA 3 point line. Hart is one of the most cerebral players you will see… He very rarely makes poor decisions. ADVANTAGE HART.

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St. Joseph’s commit Hakim Hart, Roman Catholic

Ethan Tarte, Orlando Hildago and Nasir Lett vs Louis Wild, Lynn Greer and Justice Williams – The Camden backcourt is solid. Tarte is a big-bodied combo guard. He is effective attacking the defense off the bounce and capable of finishing through contact. Hildago is a good ball-handler and a fierce competitor. Let just doesn’t make mistakes. He is like an extension of Coach Vic Carstarphen on the floor. He consistently works to get his teammates involved and makes winning plays. The Roman Catholic backcourt features 2 high major prospects and a warrior. Louis Wild is a jack of all trades for Roman Catholic. He’s a very good shooter, strong rebounder and tough defender 1 through 4. Williams is a supremely gifted freshman combo guard and one of the top 100 players in the nation in his class. Greer is very well-rounded high major point guard prospect and also one of the top 100 players in his class. ADVANTAGE ROMAN.

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Ethan Tarte, Camden’s Senior Combo Guard

In what is sure to be an exciting action-packed contest, Roman Catholic’s advantage in the backcourt should give them a slight edge over a tough but young Camden squad.