Hammonton tops Mainland
HAMMONTON—Searching for a much-needed win, Hammonton High School’s boys basketball team rode a strong second-half performance to defeat Cape Atlantic League rival Mainland 47-33 last week.
Senior John Andaloro led the Blue Devils with 14 points, including nine in the second half when Hammonton broke open a close matchup.
“We really needed this win,” Hammonton coach Joe Martino said.
“We’ve struggled a little the last couple of games, and to come out and beat a quality team like Mainland, it helps us a lot,” Martino said.
Both teams struggled to make shots in the first quarter, and Hammonton came out of the first eight minutes with a 7-6 lead. Erik Pabon connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the second period as the Blue Devils built a 19-16 halftime lead.
Senior forward Jaron Hill sparked the Devils in the third quarter, as he hit on three 3-point shots and scored all of his 11 points in the period, fueling a 16-10 run that put Hammonton in control.
“Jaron [Hill] has been big for us this year. When he gets going, like he did in the second half, he can carry us,” Martino said.
Mainland denied Hill the ball in the fourth quarter, and Hammonton began forcing the action inside to Andaloro, who tallied six key points down the stretch as the Blue Devils were able to close out the win.
“It’s big for us. This win keeps us in contention for a spot in the [Cape Atlantic League] playoffs,” Martino said.
Hammonton received balanced scoring on a night when freshman guard Kenny Smith, who is averaging more than 10 points per game, to just four.
“Kenny has been such an important piece for us this year. Tonight, Mainland kept him off the scoreboard, but he was able to distribute and get other guys involved. Jaron [Hill] picked us up and John Andaloro was huge in the fourth quarter. Erik Pabon hit a few shots. We’re tough to beat when we get everyone involved,” Martino said.
The win was Hammonton’s third in six games, but the Blue Devils were unable to carry the momentum into their next matchup, a 48-42 loss at Cedar Creek.
The Blue Devils led after a quarter, 13-7, but the host Pirates closed the gap to just two points at the half, 21-19.
A 12-5 third-quarter run put Cedar Creek on top, and Hammonton’s late rally fell short as the Devils fall to 7-5 entering play this week.
Smith led the Blue Devils with 14 points, while Hill added 10.
Earlier this week, Hammonton played at Holy Spirit, but that game ended too late for this edition. On January 26, the Blue Devils host Egg Harbor Twp. at 5:30 p.m. Hammonton also hosts Collingswood on January 29 at 11:30 a.m.