• Dan Russoman

Hammonton boys extend winning streak


Hammonton’s John Andaloro dunks late in last week’s win against Vineland. Andaloro helped the Blue Devils extend their winning streak to four games last week. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—Two weeks after coughing up a fourth-quarter lead and losing a close game at Vineland, Hammonton High School’s boys basketball team held on for a 58-52 win against their Cape Atlantic League West Division rivals last week.


Unlike the first meeting between the two teams, when Vineland used some strong perimeter shooting to cap a come-from-behind win against Hammonton, last week’s game saw the Blue Devils fight off a late charge to notch a victory.


“They’re a very strong, athletic team and they shoot very well,” Hammonton coach Joe Martino said.


“The last time we played, they were able to hit some shots down the stretch. Tonight, I thought we did a much better job with our perimeter defense. We gave them some different looks and it worked for us,” Martino said.


Jaron Hill nailed an early 3-pointer, and John Andaloro added two buckets in the first quarter as Hammonton grabbed a 15-8 lead.


Vineland closed the gap in the second period, and trailed 26-22 at the break.


Andaloro took over in the third quarter, scoring 11 of his 21 points in the period as Hammonton opened up a 49-37 lead.


Vineland fought back in the final quarter behind baskets from Yamere Diggs and Ryan Williams, but Hill and Andaloro connected on six free throws down the stretch to help Hammonton seal the win, its third-straight.


“Jaron [Hill] has really come on the last few games and he’s playing very well. John Andaloro is still learning, but he’s developing into a strong inside player for us,” Martino said of the two juniors, who combined for 46 points in the victory.


A night after defeating Vineland, Hammonton went on the road to Millville and notched its fourth-straight win, a tight 39-34 contest.


Both teams struggled throughout the game, as neither found a rhythm offensively. Hammonton appeared in control early, leading 12-6 after one period, but Millville outscored the Devils 13-3 in the second to keep the game close.


Hill, Andaloro and Erik Pabon hit shots in the third quarter, as the game was tied 28-28 heading into the final period.


Pabon hit two key baskets down the stretch as Hammonton closed on an 11-6 run to pull out the win.


Pabon led Hammonton with 17 points and Hill and Gavin West each added six.


The win helped Hammonton clinch third place in the CAL West Division, and the top finish among public schools. Non-publics St. Joseph Academy and St. Augustine Prep hold the top two spots in the division.


“That’s huge for us. It’s a pretty tough division, so for us to be the best public school, I think is a big accomplishment for this group. Three of our four losses came to non-public schools, St. Joe and the Prep, two of the best teams in South Jersey. So, for us to finish with the best record of the public schools is impressive for a young team like ours,” Martino said.


Hammonton had opened last week with a 45-15 win against Buena on senior night.


Senior manager Nygel Waugh scored the first points of the game for Hammonton, and after Buena connected on a layup to tie the game, 2-2, the Blue Devils held the Chiefs scoreless for the rest of the half, taking a 30-2 lead into the break.


Hill finished with a game-high 12 points for Hammonton.


Earlier this week, Hammonton hosted Lower Cape May, but that game ended too late for this edition. On March 3, the Blue Devils host Egg Harbor Twp. at 5:30 p.m.