The players remaining from last year’s Haddonfield Memorial High School
boys basketball team remember losing to Willingboro in the South Jersey finals.
On Wednesday, they intend to return the favor.
Robby Depersia scored 22 points and Chris Biddle added 16 to lead the No. 1 Bulldawgs to a 63-45 win over No. 16 Collingswood in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.
Next up for Haddonfield is a date with No. 8 Willingboro.
“We are fired up,” Biddle said. “We want revenge from last year. It’s going to be a final-like atmosphere and it should be a great game.”
The Bulldawgs earned their way into the quarterfinals thanks to a big second-half scoring effort. Haddonfield led just 22-19 at halftime, but used a 23-12 third-quarter spurt to put pull away. The lead was 34-29 with 2:45 left in the third before Depersia and Biddle put the game away with back-to-back threes.
Haddonfield defeated Collingswood twice in the regular season, by an average of 25 points, but Biddle said at no point was the team overconfident.
“We are pretty firm believers in 'it’s hard to beat a team three times,'" Biddle said. “We know their guys; they know our guys; they know what plays we run. At the end of the day, you just have to make shots.”
Robby Depersia carried the team in the first half, scoring 15 of the team's 22 points. In the second half, his teammates took care of the rest.
“We knew we didn’t have a solid first half and that we had to pick it up and get more confidence,” said Nick Depersia, who scored all seven of his points in the second half. “Once someone makes a shot, it wakes everyone else up and gets us flowing good.”
The shots that Haddonfield didn’t hit in the second half often ended up in the hands of a Bulldawgs’ player as the team hit the glass hard in the second half.
“We just needed to rebound better, that’s what we told ourselves at halftime,” Biddle said. “We were making silly mistakes. We were fine defensively. In the second half we just made shots when it came down to it.”
Now the attention turns to getting a little payback against a Willingboro team that denied the program a South Jersey title last season.
“We are so excited,” Depersia said. “They beat us up pretty badly at their place and we just want to come in here with our home fans supporting us. We shoot well on our home court and it should be a good game.
TICKET INFORMATION: With a big crowd expected for Wednesday’s semifinal, the Haddonfield athletic program will sell advance tickets. Students will have a chance to purchase tickets during the lunch period on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the general public can secure tickets by visiting the athletic office from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday. The remaining tickets will be sold at the door.
GIRLS ELIMINATED: The Haddonfield girls team was eliminated by No. 7 Woodstown, 57-45, Monday night. Taylor Sehdev led the Bulldawgs with 11 points, while Maddie Betley had nine. Haddonfield closes the season 15-12.