Boys basketball eyes Vineland after comeback win over Bridgeton


Hammonton boys basketball (3-1) had a very tough start to the season after 66-43 loss to cross-town rival (and No.1 ranked team in South Jersey) St.Joe Wildcats in the home season opener on January

However, Hammonton quickly rebounded versus Millville in a 55-43 upset victory on Feb. 3.

The Blue Devils jumped to a 19-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. Playing great defense, they forced Millville to take shots that were not there to take, only giving up 13 points at halftime and leading 30-13 at the half.

They led 44-23 entering the fourth quarter but surrendered 22 points in the final 8 minutes and only scored 9 points in that span. They were able to secure the win, but the defense and offense plaed poorly in that final quarter.

Turnovers defined this game.  Hammonton had 19 turnovers during the game and also was 50% from the free throw line.

If the team wants to secure more wins, these stats need to improve, along with their 3-point shooting. In this game, they only had 15 points from beyond the line. The team only made 5 three-point shots the whole game: two of those came from junior Jaron Hill, who had 10 points as most of there points came from the paint.

This led two-year varsity starter  junior center John Andoloro. He had a strong game, scoring 19 points vs Millville and also had two blocks on defense, along with two defensive rebounds. However, he struggled at the free throw line, only scoring 50% from the line.

Players come and go, but one thing that has always stand is Coach Joe Martino, who is in his 20th year as the team’s head coach

From 2010 to 2020, he led Hammonton to the postseason six out of his last 10 years and also gave the team its second division title in 2008. (It’s first was in 1950.)

Coach Martino could not have beennany happier with his team’s performance vs Millville.

“Our defense play really well were able to keep Millville out of the paint making them shot jump shot or force shots out that they did not want to take thought we rebound well execute on offense in first quarter and when were able to jump out to 19-3 lead,” he said.

However, he is not satisfied still believe his team can get better.

”[I] think our rebounding especially on the weak side [needs to be better]. We need to block out better cut uor turnovers,” Martino added.

Hammonton struggles when teams run the full court trap, which led Millville to have 19 take aways.

Martino has high expectations for this year’s basketball team.

“To be competitive every game have chance to win every game  win most of our games win our division based on the public school teams.”

This year Hammonton can win the division title if they finish with better division record than Vineland (2-2) Buena (0-3) Bridgeton (1-1) Millville  (0-3).  But they still have chance to win the overall division, which well also feature Two of top 5 teams in South Jersey St. Joseph Academy (4-0)  and St. Augustine  prep (3-1).

The Blue Devils play its first road game of the season vs Buena, which is the first of only five.  Even if there are not fans to boo,  playing away from home is always a challenge:  different court, shooting on different rims, feeling comfortable.

But Martino looks to overcome those challenges,

”It will be our first road test since we did not have any scrimmage. That will be new for us being in different gym, [but what stays the same is our expectation to play our games on defense and to  execute our offense like we do in practices. Nothing really changes play with a lot of energy.”

Martino wants more from his players to set up against Vineland.

“I’m hoping we get a good amount of success from our guards and scoring guys that have not really scored from the 3-point line yet. Players like Owen Maruriello and some of our other guards that I think can shoot like Gavin West and Tyler Lowe, Eric Pabon, Declan Roeder, and other guards that we can get some scoring from.”

Owen Mauriello had the game winning 3 pointer with 4.4 seconds, along with 12 points in the game. Declan Roeder put up 3 points and Eric Pabon and Tyler Lowe both put up 6 points . West scored 17 points vs Buena but only scored five versus Bridgeton.

Hammonton looks to win its fourth game in roll against Vineland as they get closer to winning the division title in this short and young. season.