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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

St. Joe boys stumble, lose three

Dan Russoman/THG. St. Joe’s Victor Rozier (left) tries to shoot around St. Augustine’s Kyle Helphenstine (right).

HAMMONTON—Looking to sweep St. Augustine Prep for the first time in head coach Paul Rodio’s tenure, St. Joseph Academy’s boys basketball team faded down the stretch and lost to the Hermits 55-47 on January 26 at Hammonton Middle School.

Trailing 41-37 with 5:13 left in the game, the Wildcats took advantage of a technical foul to grab a 42-41 lead.

After Jason Umosella was fouled on a 3-point attempt, a St. Augustine player was assessed a technical foul. Umosella stepped to the foul line and converted five-straight shots to give the Wildcats the lead.

A Paris Kinsey putback stretched St. Joe’s lead to 44-41, but the Prep scored four-straight points to take a 45-44 lead.

Will Spross tied the score with a free throw with 3:09 remaining, and the teams traded baskets until a steal and layup by St. Augustine’s Rory Friel gave the Hermits a 52-47 lead with 53 seconds to go.

Despite having a few more possessions, St. Joseph failed to score again and suffered its third loss of the week.

“They [St. Augustine] made plays down the stretch, and I think our inexperience showed,” Rodio said.

“Our kids fought, I can’t be mad, it’s been a tough week,” he said.

Umosella led St. Joe with 17 points, Spross added 14 and Victor Rozier had 11 rebounds in the loss.

The defeat was the third of the week for the Wildcats, who also dropped games to Ocean City and Wildwood Catholic.

Ocean City snapped St. Joe’s three-game win streak on January 22, defeating the Wildcats 71-40.

St. Joseph never settled in offensively in the game, as Spross led the Wildcats with 15 points and Aidan Hopson added eight.

Playing at Wildwood Catholic on January 24, St. Joseph lost 64-56. Spross was outstanding in the loss, scoring 26 points and adding six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Edwin Drummed added 16 points and 10 boards and Hopson pulled down seven rebounds.

“They [Wildwood Catholic] shot 20 more free throws than we did and that hurt us,” Rodio said.

The losing streak hit three with the loss to St. Augustine, but St. Joe bounced back a day later to defeat Delsea 58-49 at the Jeff Coney classic hosted by Rancocas Valley on January 27.

In that game, Spross had 15 points, and added 10 assists. Drummed scored 10 and had 10 rebounds and Umosella hit four 3-pointers on his way to 12 points.

St. Joseph stayed busy to start this week with back-to-back games against LEAP Academy and Absegami. Both ended too late for this edition and the Wildcats will be back on the court on February 1 at Middle Twp.

The up-and-down season is beginning to wear on the Wildcats, as St. Joe’s young team is working hard to improve every day.

“They’re beat up mentally. The worst part is we won three straight; we were really up and the last thing we needed was to lose three. We don’t have a deep bench and they’re tired at the end of the week,” Rodio said.


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