WOODSTOWN—Two years ago, Hammonton High School’s boys basketball team lost to host Woodstown in the finals of the Wolverine Holiday Tournament. Last week, the Blue Devils were able to bring home the title, defeating the host school 64-29 in the championship game.
“It’s nice to get a couple of wins and championship,” Hammonton coach Joe Martino said.
“We’ve always enjoyed coming here for this tournament and this year we were fortunate enough to play well and win it,” Martino said.
Senior Declan Roeder led a trio of Blue Devils named to the All-Tournament team, scoring a career-high 21 points in the championship game.
“It feels great [to make the All-Tournament team],” Roeder said.
“I started kind of slowly this season, but today I felt good and I’m happy I could help us win,” Roeder said.
Joining Roeder on the All-Tournament team were John Andaloro, who had nine points in the championship game, and Kenny Smith, who scored seven.
Hammonton was able to put the game away in the first half, using a 17-0 run that began midway through the first quarter and extended into the second to grab a 26-6 halftime lead.
During the break, Martino urged his team to continue its strong play in the third quarter, and the Blue Devils responded with 24 points in the period.
“We had a nice lead at the half and I really pushed the kids to not have a letdown in the third quarter. We needed to play well there and I think we did,” Martino said.
“Declan came up big for us. And that’s what we need every night, someone other than John [Andaloro], Jaron [Hill] or Kenny [Smith] to have a good night,” Martino said.
With Roeder hitting shots from the perimeter, Andaloro was able to generate points in the paint after a sluggish start.
“I thought we played well defensively and locked them down. We felt we should have scored a little more in the paint. We had some shots we missed. Had a really good third quarter, which we stressed at the half, and we ran the floor well. We finally hit some corner 3-pointers, which we were hoping to do,” Martino said.
Roeder sparked the third-quarter run for Hammonton, connecting on a pair of 2-pointers while scoring11 points in the period.
With the game in hand, Martino was able to empty his bench in the fourth quarter and every Hammonton player managed to score in the game.
“This was a good win for us. When we’re playing at our best, we’re tough to beat. I feel like we can get a lot better,” Roeder said.
Hammonton opened the tournament with a 78-47 win against Camden Academy Charter.
Once again, a strong start fueled the Blue Devils, who led 22-10 after the first quarter.
Andaloro and Smith powered Hammonton in the first half. Andaloro scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the first two quarters, while Smith provided some flashy play, adding eight of his 15 points in the first half as Hammonton built a 37-24 lead.
Smith shot well in the third quarter, adding 10 more points to spark a 27-9 Hammonton run that sealed the win.
Hammonton entered play this week at 4-1, its best start since 2017.
“We needed these two wins. We have a really tough stretch coming up, starting with Egg Harbor Twp. (EHT) and it doesn’t get much easier after that,” Martino said.
Hammonton played at EHT on January 4, but that game ended too late for this edition. The Blue Devils host Lower Cape May on January 6 at 5:30 p.m.