By Phil Anastasia
It was Haddonfield's best possession of the game and it didn't end in points.
But it illustrated why the Bulldogs are 20-0 and why they were able to handle Holy Spiit by a 51-42 score on Saturday at the Cherry Hill East Invitational.
"That's who we are," Haddonfield junior forward Jake Robinson said of the two-minute-long possession early in the fourth quarter.
Robinson scored nine as part of a balanced attack that featured a season-high 17 points by senior center Abby Bah, nine points by junior guard Rob DePersia and eight points each by junior guard Nick DePersia and senior forward Ted Stavetski.
Haddonfield, the No. 2 team in The Inquirer Top 10, held No. 8 Holy Spirit to just 16 points in the second half, including just three in the fourth quarter.
"This was a huge game for us," Stavetski said. "We knew they were a very talented team and people were saying that we don't play that many good teams."
Senior forward Junior Saintel scored 18 for Holy Spirit (14-5).
"Our kids battled hard," Holy Spirit coach Jamie Gillespie said. "We just didn't make enough plays, especially in the fourth quarter."
Gillespie said one of the keys to the game was Haddonfield's work on the offensive boards. The 6-foot-5 Bah was particularly effective, scoring eight of his points on put-backs.
Haddonfield was just 4-for-14 from the foul line, but the Bulldiogs compensated with their defense and offensive rebounding.
"That's the way we have to play," Stavetski said. "Everybody gives 110 percent, guys diving on the floor. Our practices are the same way."
Haddonfield's secret to success was underscored by that endless possession early in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs missed three shots from the field, and the possession ended when Robinson missed a pair of free throws.
But in the interim, Robinson grabbed two offensive rebounds, and Stavetski grabbed one, and Rob DePersia lifted a steal from a Holy Spirit player who managed a defensive rebound.
"I remember that possession," Gillespie said. "We talked about it after the game. But it wasn't just the fourth quarter. They hurt us on the offensive glass all game long."
Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said his team's struggles at the foul line and inability to convert a two-minute-long possession into points were typical of the Bulldogs.
But so was their stingy defense, success in scrapping for loose balls and relentless work on the offensive glass.
"Our tenacity outpaces our skill," Wiedeman said.
Haddonfield 18 13 13 7 -- 51
Holy Spirit 12 14 13 3 -- 42
H: Nick DePersia 8, Rob DePersia 9, Ted Stavetski 8, Jake Robinson 9, Abby Bah 17.
HS: Junior Saintel 18, John Middleton 9, Leon Daniels 2, UUmhad Collier 11, Tyler Jones 2.
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