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Haddon Township boys' basketball team enjoying strong start

Atlantic City, Shawnee, and Haddonfield are among the select few teams in South Jersey basketball with 4-0 records two weeks into the season.

Atlantic City, Shawnee, and Haddonfield are among the select few teams in South Jersey basketball with 4-0 records two weeks into the season.

So is Haddon Township.

"We've had a couple of really nice wins over Lindenwold and Sterling," Haddon Township coach Ron Wister said. "The kids are excited about the way things have started."

Haddon Township has been led by senior guard Trey Thatcher, who is averaging 18.7 points. He scored 25 in a victory over Camden Academy Charter on Saturday.

"He knows how to finish," Wister said of the 6-foot-1 Thatcher. "He's a scorer, and it's nice to have somebody like that."

Wister said balance and defense have been keys to the Hawks' fast start.

Seniors Pat Burns and Tyler Easterday, juniors Casey Boyle and Nick Marino, and sophomore R.J. McCullough have made strong contributions to the cause, according to the coach.

Quality loss. Middle Township coach Tom Feraco isn't one for moral victories. But there are exceptions.

"I know there are dumb coaches out there who say, 'I'll take it,' " Feraco said. "Put me in there with those dumb coaches."

Feraco was referring to his team's 45-32 loss to national power St. Anthony of Jersey City on Saturday.

The Panthers, the No. 6 team in The Inquirer Top 10, played the Friars in a community center in Jersey City.

"It was a great experience for our kids," Feraco said.

Bad blood. The rivalry between Paul VI and Camden Catholic is one of the best in South Jersey, in all sports.

Paul VI coaches and players believe that good, old-fashioned competition was upstaged by a situation short on sportsmanship Friday night when Camden Catholic's players declined to shake hands with Paul VI coach Tony Devlin during pregame introductions.

Devlin was left standing at half-court in an awkward scene that motivated the veteran coach as well as his players.

"I was really upset and didn't think it was the right time or place," Devlin said after his team's 67-44 victory.

The bad blood appeared to stem from the decision last summer by junior guard Ivan Robinson to transfer from Camden Catholic to Paul VI. Robinson sat on the bench in street clothes Friday night, as he won't be eligible to play until mid-January under NJSIAA transfer rules.

Camden Catholic's administration signed off on a transfer waiver form after Robinson switched schools. Had Camden Catholic officials not signed the form, the NJSIAA would have held a hearing to investigate the circumstances of the transfer.

Camden Catholic athletic director Marlene Grimes declined to comment on the school's decision to sign the transfer waiver form.

Devlin vehemently denies that Paul VI "recruited" Robinson away from Camden Catholic.

"We have nothing to apologize about," Devlin said. "The kid left the school and came here. Whatever issue that is being talked about in public is a false issue. A kid should be able to leave another school."