• Dan Russoman

Egg Harbor Township tops Hammonton


Tyler Lowe (14) passes around Egg Harbor Twp. defender Aaron Bullock. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—After opening the season with a 5-2 record, Hammonton High School’s boys basketball team has slumped, dropping five of its last seven matchups, including games against Holy Spirit and Egg Harbor Twp. (EHT) last week.


Those defeats stretched the Blue Devils losing streak to three games, their longest such stretch of the season.


“We’ve run into some really good teams. I think our division [the Cape Atlantic League United Division] is one of the best in South Jersey. There are no easy games. Every night, we’re going up against a strong opponent and right now, we’re just not playing well enough to win against those caliber teams,” Hammonton coach Joe Martino said.


Depth has become an issue for the Blue Devils, as they lack experience on the bench.


“We have some very good players, but teams like EHT just have so much more depth than we do and it showed tonight,” Martino said following a 57-46 loss to the Eagles last week.


Hammonton was able to keep the score close for three quarters in that game before EHT pulled away with a 19-5 fourth quarter run.


The Blue Devils were hurt by an injury suffered by forward Jaron Hill and also lose freshman guard Kenny Smith, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter.


“Once we lost Jaron, who was able to come back but was obviously not himself, and Kenny, they were able to go on that run that put us away,” Martino said.


EHT played without its top scorer, Carlos Lopez, but the Eagles received strong games from both Anthony Colon and D.J. Germann.


“Colon had a huge game for them. He stepped up and we didn’t really have an answer,” Martino said.


The EHT guard finished with 27 points, including 16 in the second half and seven in the fourth quarter when the Eagles rallied for the win.


Germann did much of his damage in the first half, scoring 10 points before adding eight of his 26 points in the final period.


For Hammonton, a pair of 3-pointers from Hill and five points from Smith helped the Blue Devils stay close in the first quarter before five more points from Hill and four from John Andaloro gave Hammonton a 26-24 halftime lead.


“We were playing very well. I think EHT had some trouble with our zone and Jaron [Hill] and John [Andaloro] made some big shots early,” Martino said.


Egg Harbor Twp. picked up its defensive pressure in the second half, forcing several costly Hammonton turnovers and helping fuel a run that began late in the third quarter and eventually gave the Eagles the lead for good.


“Their pressure got to us and we just made too many mistakes. We tried to dribble through the pressure and then we made some bad passes that led to turnovers that just let them go on a run,” Martino said.


With Hill sidelined after landing awkwardly, Andaloro scored five points in the third quarter as Hammonton held on to a slim 41-38 lead. A Colon steal and layup sparked EHT near the end of the period and the Eagles carried that momentum through the last eight minutes, outscoring Hammonton by 14 points in the fourth quarter.


“Too many mistakes. They’re too good a team to make mistakes against,” Martino said.


Smith finished with a team-high 14 points for Hammonton, while Andaloro added 13.


Earlier in the week, Hammonton lost at Holy Spirit 71-47. The host Spartans took control of the game in the first quarter and never looked back as they cruised to the win.


Andaloro led Hammonton with 17 points and Hill added 10.


Earlier this week, the Blue Devils played at Lower Cape May, but that game ended too late for this edition. On February 3, Hammonton hosts rival St. Joseph at 5:30 p.m.