• Dan Russoman

Hammonton High School splits two games


Giada Palmieri (14) takes a shot against Buena last week. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—A slow start hurt Hammonton High School’s girls basketball team last week, as the Blue Devils suffered their first loss of the season, falling to Millville 56-49.


“We didn’t play well in the first half. Too many turnovers and we were really sloppy. We got down early and weren’t able to recover quickly enough. Millville is very athletic and they shot the ball well. We were down 11 at the half and we fought back in the fourth quarter, but it was too big to overcome,” Hammonton coach Michael Velardi said.


After playing even for a quarter, Millville used a 19-8 run to break the game open. The host Thunderbolts were able to maintain their advantage through the third period before Hammonton closed the gap in the final eight minutes.


“It was nice to see us fight back and play hard for four quarters, but they’re [Millville] a good team. I’m proud of them because we were down 14 and fought back into the game. It’s early in the season and we’re a young team that has some things to improve on,” Velardi said.


Sophomore Emma Peretti led Hammonton with 29 points and 13 rebounds, while Giada Palmieri added seven points in the loss.


“Emma broke out in that game. It was great to see her play so well because she’s such a big part of what we’re trying to do. And it was Giada’s first game this year, and she gave us the patience and ball-handling that we need,” Velardi said.


Hammonton was able to rebound from the loss in its next game, defeating Buena 43-24.


Much like the Millville game, Hammonton allowed the visiting Chiefs to hang around for much of the first half.


Peretti scored seven points in the first quarter as the Blue Devils clung to a 12-10 lead, and Sofia Purvis added four points in the second period as Hammonton took a 20-17 advantage into halftime.


Peretti took over in the third quarter, scoring eight of her game-high 23 points as Hammonton broke the game open with a 10-2 run. She added six fourth-quarter points for the Devils.


“Our defense was great in the second half. It was a nice bounce-back win for us. Just a great job,” Velardi said.


Earlier this week, Hammonton hosted undefeated and Cape Atlantic League West Division-leading Vineland, but that game ended too late for this edition.


On February 11, the Blue Devils will host Bridgeton at 4 p.m. and on February 13, Hammonton plays at Our Lady of Mercy Academy at 11:30 a.m.