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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Men’s Basketball League returns to action

Team captains Marcus Miller, Kelvin Rivera, Anthony Barone, Lahtel Haskins, Travis Washington and Joe Umosella join councilman Thomas Gribbin (holding ball) during the opening night of the Hammonton Men’s Basketball League. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Men’s Basketball League opened its 2022 season at Hammonton High School last week, a year after the league was unable to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s great to be back. The guys are ready to play and we’re going to hopefully, have a full season,” league director Ben Castone said.

In between opening night games last week, Hammonton councilman Thomas Gribbin was recognized at halfcourt by the captains of the league’s teams as well as Castone and co-director Tony Quigley.

“We want to thank the town for supporting the league,” Castone said.

“Ben and everyone involved in the Men’s League do a great job. It’s good to see how many people are involved and playing and to have a big crowd here,” Gribbin said.

The league sports six teams this season, the most it has had in at least a decade.

“We had a lot of interest. So many guys wanted to play. This is the most teams we’ve had in the league in a while,” Castone said.

Sponsors this season include: Plagido’s Winery, West End Grill & Bar, The Alley Bar and Grille, Marinella Funeral Home, Winslow Junction and Ben Castone Landscaping.

The season opened with a thrilling game between Plagido’s and West End. Games are played each Tuesday and Thursday night at HHS, with action beginning at 7 p.m.

“Because we have six teams, we’re playing three games each night instead of two, so we had to cut the games down to two 20-minute halves instead of 25 minutes,” Castone said.

After a year of inactivity, players were eager to be back on the court.

“It’s great. We want to thank all the players and the [Hammonton] school district for letting us use the gym,” Castone said.

The Hammonton Men’s Basketball League opened its 2022 season on March 22 at Hammonton High School.

In the first game of the new season, West End Grill defeated Plagido’s Winery 58-53. Gary Harris scored 12 points in the win, while Michael Cirillo (17 points) and Isaiah Pugh (12) led a late comeback that fell short for Plagido’s.

Ben Castone Landscaping and The Alley battled in the second game of the night, with Castone’s running to a 58-47 victory. Strong shooting from 3-point range and the foul line powered the win. Joseph Handy led Castone’s with 17 points. Justin Harris scored a team-high 16 for The Alley before a nasty collision with a teammate forced him out of the game.

The final game of opening night featured Winslow Junction defeating Marinella Funeral Home 70-57.

Joe Umosella was hot for Winslow, scoring 27 points. Marinella struggled against Winslow Junction’s zone defense, and Travis Washington led the team with 22 points.

Action continues this week with games on Tuesday and Thursday night beginning at 7 p.m.


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