By Phil Anastasia
He was "playing on one leg," according to his coach.
He also was undersized for the center spot, and largely unfamiliar with that role as well.
Brendan Gilmartin still set the tone for Haddonfield's 59-53 victory over Camden Catholic on Monday night in one of the showcase games of the Butch McLean Invitational at Haddon Heights.
"He's a warrior," Haddonfield coach Paul Wiedeman said of Gilmartin. "He brings that football mentality."
The burly 6-foot-2 Gilmartin scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds and played his best in the fourth quarter before a near-capacity crowd in the fourth of five games in the showcase event.
Senior guard Rich Bond scored 15 and freshman guard Mike DePersia added 13 for Haddonfield (3-0).
"It's a huge win for us," Gilmartin said. "That team is one of the best programs in South Jersey. To beat them, it means a lot for our confidence."
Senior guard Jamal Parker scored 15 with five assists and freshman forward Baba Ajike scored 18 for five rebounds for Camden Catholic (1-3).
"We're going through some growing pains," Camden Catholic coach Matt Crawford said. "I feel like we're getting better but we're not there yet."
Gilmartin's gritty play epitomized Haddonfield's hard-edged effort in a matchup of two of South Jersey's premier programs.
"Great effort," Wiedeman said of his team. "There were times when I thought they were getting the rebound and our guys were ripping the ball away."
Gilmartin said he's always played the "three or four" position in his career but has been forced to take over the "five" spot for Haddonfield.
"We don't have a lot of height," Gilmartin said. "I've been told to get rebounds and I'm trying my best."
Gilmartin said he missed three recent practices with a bone bruise near his left knee.
"I wasn't sure he was going to be able to go," Wiedeman said. "But I guess adrenalin kicked in."
Gilmartin scored four points and dished three assists in a frantic fourth quarter, as Haddonfield held off a Camden Catholic rally.
Gilmartin's two free throws at the 0:31 mark gave the Bulldogs a 57-53 lead. His clever pass led to the game's final points.
"To be 3-0 at the end of 2015, it's a great start for us," Gilmartin said.
Camden Catholic 8 17 14 14 -- 53
Haddonfield 16 13 15 15 -- 59
CC: Jamal Parker 15, Dom Dunn 9, Terrance Harris 7, Baba Ajike 18, Garry Brown 4.
H: Mike DePersia 13, Rich Bond 15, Brendan Gilmartin 10, Matt Fell 5, Greg Gibson 5, Will Bond 11.
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