HADDON TOWNSHIP — The St. Augustine Prep basketball team survived the first 10 3-pointers Haddonfield made Saturday.
Haddonfield’s 11th basket from beyond the arc finally did the Hermits in.
Drew Gavranich sank a 3-pointer with 1 minute, 38 seconds left to propel Haddonfield to a 62-57 win over the Hermits in a Paul VI Winter Classic game. St. Augustine had the ball with a chance to tie with 20 seconds left but missed a 3-pointer.
“We played our guts out,” Hermits coach Paul Rodio said. “We played hard.”
The Hermits rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit to tie the score with 2:01 left. Gavranich’s 3-pointer gave Haddonfield a 58-55 lead it never relinquished.
Senior guard Mike DePersia led Haddonfield with 21 points. Charles Solomon scored 18 for St. Augustine. Andrew Delaney added 14 for the Hermits.
Haddonfield overcame some adversity. Senior center Dan Fleming was in foul trouble most of the game. He fouled out in the fourth quarter with just three points. Bulldawgs reserve guard Lewis Evans missed the second half with a foot injury.
But accurate outside shooting solves a lot of issues. Haddonfield has made 35 3-pointers in its last three games.
“We don’t really force bad shots,” DePersia said. “We have a lot of shooters on the team. We’re able to drive and kick and make that extra pass. We call it the Spurs pass (after the NBA team San Antonio Spurs). We take a lot of pride in that.”
The Paul VI Winter Classic continues Sunday. It features several of South Jersey’s top teams. Haddonfield (21-1) has won 11 straight and is ranked No. 3 in The Press Elite 11. The Hermits (17-3) are ranked No. 4.
Haddonfield led most of the game and built that advantage with accurate perimeter shooting.
The Bulldawgs sank five 3s in the second quarter alone. There were times the Hermits played stingy defense only to see Haddonfield make the extra pass and sink a long-range 3-pointer.
“Give them credit,” Rodio said. “They didn’t miss a shot.”
The Hermits didn’t fade away, however. Freshman guard Marko Jackson gave St. Augustine energy off the bench. The Hermits used their trapping defense to rattle Haddonfield.
St. Augustine tied the game with a 9-2 fourth-quarter run that began with a Delaney 3-pointer and ended with Solomon scoring in the lane.
“An average team could have gone away and hid,” Rodio said. “We kept fighting and fighting.”
But Haddonfield’s experience and DePersia’s leadership at point guard were the differences in the final minutes.
The game was one both teams can build off as they prepare for the state tournament, which begins Feb. 25.
Haddonfield is the top seed in the South Jersey Group II bracket, while the Hermits are No. 1 in S.J. Non-Public A.
“We found a way to win at the end,” Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said. “We need this. Both teams, it helps.”
St. Augustine;17 8 17 15—57
Haddonfield;17 15 13—62
SA— Foreman 0, Vanderslice 10, Kendrck 2, A. Delaney 14, Solomon 18, M. Delaney 2, Jackson 6
H – DePersia 21, Blake 6, Cerrato 8, Fleming 3, Heine16, Gavranich 8