It almost seems fitting that Paul Wiedeman, who has won so many games and titles as Haddonfield's boys' basketball coach, went against the grain to produce his latest milestone victory.
Wiedeman earned his 300th win at his alma mater with Tuesday's 79-74 overtime triumph over an equally scrappy West Deptford team in a Colonial Conference Liberty Division game.
What made this one a little different from many others is that Wiedeman abandoned his defensive staple after a first half of frustration.
Haddonfield, which is defined by its matchup zone defense, found itself trailing by 44-30 at halftime and went to a full-court man-to-man.
Now in his 14th year, Wiedeman didn't hesitate when asked the last time he went to a full-court man-to-man defense.
"Never," he said.
Desperate measures make a coach go against the norm.
West Deptford shot 17 for 28 in the first half and junior point guard Justin Hansen scored 17 of his 24 points in the first two quarters.
"We had to get the ball out of Hansen's hands," Wiedeman said.
West Deptford was initially happy to see the change of defense.
"He went man and I said, 'Great,' " said West Deptford coach Don Clark, whose team is 2-1. "We have worked against a man [defense] a lot and thought we would get a lot of backdoors, but give Haddonfield credit for playing so well."
Haddonfield (3-0) trailed by 68-64 after Hansen made one of two foul shots with 1 minute, 42 seconds left in regulation.
Nick DePersia then hit one of two free throws for the Bulldogs, and after a West Deptford turnover the sophomore guard drilled a three-pointer that tied the score at 68 with 53.3 seconds left.
Neither team would score again in regulation, sending the game into overtime, when Haddonfield senior Chris Biddle scored seven of his 24 points. For the game, Biddle, a fourth-year starter, hit 15 of 17 free throws.
"I've been with Coach a lot of games and it is really special to be part of this milestone," Biddle said.
DePersia led the Bulldogs with 30 points, and he and his twin brother Rob were also instrumental in forcing 20 turnovers, 13 after halftime.
"I liked the fact that we got punched in the mouth and came back," Nick DePersia said.
Actually, it's typical under Wiedeman, whose teams are relentless.
For Wiedeman, milestone victories against West Deptford are nothing new. He began his coaching career there, serving as an assistant for four years under Bob Byatt.
Then he earned his first and 100th wins over the Eagles.
"It's kind of ironic to have this come against West Deptford," said Wiedeman, now 300-78, with three state titles, five South Jersey crowns and seven conference titles. "We've had great kids, a supportive administration and I've worked with terrific coaches."
Had Wiedeman not changed defenses, we likely wouldn't be talking about No. 300.
So now the big question: Will the man-to-man be added to the Haddonfield playbook?
"We were already talking about that," Wiedeman said smiling, already thinking of how to achieve win No. 301.
West Deptford 25 19 12 12 6 – 74
Haddonfield 19 11 20 18 11 – 79
W: Justin Hansen 24, Tyler Lenhardt 4, Sean Langon 11, Marquis Owens 4, Ian MacQueen 2, Mike Gardner 8, T.J. Harcum 19, Brian Kuda 2.
H: Rob DePersia 8, Teddy Stavetski 1, Nick DePersia 30, Jake Robinson 5, Billy Griffin 11, Chris Biddle 24.