Intriguing Rematches in South Jersey Boys’ Basketball

Intriguing Rematches in South Jersey Boys’ Basketball
With the absence of an NSIAA state tournament in this COVID-shortened boys’ basketball season, teams must set other goals. 
 
For many teams there are simple ones like winning a rematch game. Most teams are playing predominantly in their conference schedules. 
 
This past week there were two key rematches that resulted in different outcomes than the first game.
 
The first matchup was between Haddonfield and Haddon Township in the Colonial Conference. 
 
Haddonfield had its season delayed two weeks due to a positive COVID test in the program. Keep in mind, missing two weeks is losing one-third of the season, which only is scheduled from Jan. 26 to March 6. There will be no playoffs.
 
So Haddonfield opened its season after the two-week absence by losing a 38-30 decision to Haddon Township.
 
It was a signature win for the Hawks, who through research done by the school discovered their last win over Haddonfield was the 1982-83 season.
 
Sophomore Tyler Levins scored 14 points for Haddon Township, which is in its first year playing in the more competitive Colonial Conference Liberty Division, after moving up from the Patriot.
 
Last week the teams had a rematch and it was Haddonfield which scored a 44-38 victory, the fifth consecutive win for the Bulldogs.
 
Matt Guveiyian, a 6-foot-4 junior had 12 points and six rebounds to lead Haddonfield. 
 
Earlier in the year, we reported on St. Joseph Academy’s 57-51 win over St. Augustine in a battle of South Jersey powers. 
 
It was also a game with a human-interest element since St. Joseph Academy is coached by Paul Rodio. St. Augustine is coached by his father of the same name. 
 
The younger Rodio, now in his seventh season, had never beaten his father, who is one of the all-time great coaches in South Jersey history.
 
In the rematch last week, the father got the edge over the son, with St. Augustine winning, 67-56.
 
Matthew Delaney, a 6-8 forward and an American University recruit, led St. Augustine with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Fellow senior John Horner also scored 16 for the winning Hemits.
 
Guard Marcus Pierce, who scored 22 points in St. Joseph Academy’s earlier win over the Hermits, had 14 points. 
 
St. Augustine took command in the second quarter, outscoring the Wildcats, 21-10 to take a 34-19 halftime lead. 
 
With the way St. Augustine plays defense, that was too much of a deficit to overcome. 
 
This game was not only for family bragging rights, but both wanted to establish that they were the best team in the ultra-competitive Cape Atlantic League. 
 
For many years this wasn’t much of a rivalry, but since the arrival of the younger Rodio at St. Joseph Academy, the games have been much more competitive. 

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The younger Rodio said earlier that he and his father don’t like going against each other, but the players certainly do and it’s good for South Jersey basketball to have yet another emerging rivalry between quality teams.
 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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