Son trying  to get dad honored in Hammonton

Ben Castone, 32, of Hammonton, stands with his father's City League basketball jerseys. The league retired No. 44 in honor of Bill ‘Stick’ Castone, who died in January at age 65 and still holds the Hammonton High School record for most points in a basketball game.

After almost 49 years, Bill "Stick" Castone still holds the Hammonton High School record for most points scored in a basketball game - that was 44 against Atlantic City Friends School back in 1965, said his son Ben Castone, 32, of Hammonton.

But Bill died suddenly in January at age 65, without realizing his dream of joining his high school's Athletic Hall of Fame. So Ben, who runs Ben Castone Landscaping in Hammonton, is trying to fulfill his dad's dream. He has talked to school officials, who will install a basketball in the athletic showcase this winter with Bill Castone's record on it, Ben said.

Recently, the Hammonton City Basketball League, which Bill Castone played in from 1967 to 2005, retired his number, 44.

Mayor Steve DiDonato said he believes it was the first time a men's basketball league in New Jersey retired a player's number. He supports Bill Castone's induction, he said.

Bill scored more than 40 points in three other games in 1965 and was also a standout football player, Ben said. He had been a long-distance runner for many years and was training for his first full marathon when he developed pneumonia and died in three days, Ben said.

A coach and teacher for 39 years, including at St. Joseph High School in Hammonton for nine years, Bill Castone has been nominated several times for the Hammonton High honor, but never inducted.

Friend Steve Salbo, of Hammonton, a former college basketball coach, feels confident it will happen.

"Hammonton always finds a way to right a wrong," he said.

Talent in Sea Isle

Mara Justine, 11, of Galloway Township, won first place and $1,500 in the third annual Sea Isle City's Got Talent contest, singing "And I am Telling You" from the musical "Dreamgirls."

Six hip-hop dancers from The JoAnne Regan Dancer Studio shared second place and $750. They are Manny Donnelly, 15; Macie Kramer, 18; and Ahmad Foster, 14, all of Cape May Court House; and Janel Concepcion,13; Nauttikka Genz, 14; and Troy Stevenson, 13, all of Cape May.

Elk honored

Victoria Watson, Past Exalted Ruler of Millville Elks Lodge 580, recently received her Jewels as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for South District Elks of the New Jersey State Elks Association, from Past DDGER Mike Thomas.

Ten lodges make up South District Elks, including those in Brigantine, Deerfield Township, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, Greater Cape May, Greater Wildwood, and Vineland. Visit

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