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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Hammonton girls cruise in season opener

Dan Russoman/THG. Jenna Vivadelli collides with Cape May Tech’s Marley Wetzel early in last week’s game.

CAPE MAY COURTHOUSE—Overcoming a sluggish start, Hammonton High School’s girls basketball team cruised past host Cape May Tech 57-20 in its season-opener on Dec. 15.

Kiley Kozlowski scored 19 points and Angelina Virelli added 17 as the Blue Devils gave first-year head coach Ryan Staiger a win in his Hammonton debut.

“It went exactly as I thought it would go. Cape May Tech already had a game last night, and it was our first game, so we had to get those jitters out of the way,” Staiger said.

Both teams struggled in the first quarter, but Hammonton pulled away with six-point run late in the period to take a 12-6 lead.

Virelli, one of Hammonton’s few varsity veterans, fueled the run with a key 3-pointer.

“We have a young team, most of these girls never played varsity before so they were excited to play this game and I see that we got more into our game in the second quarter and you can see what kind of team we are,” Staiger said.

Kozlowski scored nine points in the second quarter, as Hammonton’s aggressive defense led to Cape May Tech turnovers and easy points in transition.

“I really like what I saw defensively. We were aggressive and that’s the kind of team I want to be, attacking the ball, attacking the boards and get into transition,” Staiger said.

Leading by 15 at the half, Hammonton sealed the win with a 18-1 fourth quarter run.

Mariah Valentin scored seven points in the first half and provided some intense defense and rebounding for the Blue Devils.

“I love her feistiness,” Staiger said.

“Every good teams needs that,” he said.

Jenna Vivadelli added six points in the win, contributing to a total team effort on the offensive end of the floor.

Staiger has said that Hammonton is rebuilding this season and a game against a similar team in Cape May Tech was a good way to open the season.

“Tonight we played the kind of game we want to play and that I want us to play.

I was telling our AD this is a perfect game for us to start with, a new coach, basically a new team so this was a perfect game for us to get out feet wet,” Staiger said.

“Beating a team on their home court, 45 minutes from home, is always a good win,” he said.

Hammonton opened play this week at Egg Harbor Twp., but that game ended too late for this edition. On Dec. 20, the Devils host Millville at 5:30 p.m.


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