HADDONFIELD -- Connor Fell said it felt like the longest seconds of his life.
The Haddonfield guard earned a steal and sprinted down the court to make the game-winning layup in the 35-33 South Jersey Group 2 win over Haddon Heights.
“It was like the longest second of my life,” Fell said. “It was so long. After I made it, it was electric. It was awesome.”
The Haddonfield crowd, which was loud all game, erupted to its loudest octave as Fell placed the final basket of the contest through the cylinder.
The winning play was made possible by some defensive alterations made by head coach Paul Wiedeman, who won his 500th game.
“We thought we would mix up our defense there at the end, we went to a 1-3-1 trap that showed like a 2-3 look,” Wiedeman said. “We know Fell is so good at anticipating that next pass. He just darted right in front of that. I knew he could get the steal, but I worry about the layup sometimes. But he made it.”
“That the play worked, the defense worked and Fell usually gets that play, a loose ball or steal. He just needed to make the layup,” Wiedeman said.
Wiedeman wasn’t focused much on the milestone as he was with the performance to beat his team’s Colonial Conference rival.
“A lot of good players, good coaching staff, a lot of committed parents, a lot of committed administration,” Wiedeman said. “We’ve had a nice run. It doesn’t sink in because the biggest thing today is beating Haddon Heights.”
Haddonfield’s defensive pressure was key in disrupting the Garnets’ offense, which was held to a single field goal in the third quarter.
“We couldn’t score in the halfcourt offense,” Wiedeman said. “We had to try and do something to get an easy basket every once in a while. Something might work, something might not. We’ll try another one.”
The defense sparked an 8-0 run to take over the lead, and the Bulldawgs benefited from the momentum after that.
Now, the Haddons are off to face Camden once again in the South Jersey Group 2 final.
The destination of the squad was unknown at the start of the year, but with a similar work ethic to previous teams, Haddonfield worked its way back to the sectional championship.
“Going into the year, Who were we? Nobody knew. It was our defense that won it,” Fell said.
“We’ve been in it the last two years and made a run,” Fell said. “It’s crazy to see. Our practice last year helped them make a run to the state championship and now we’re in the shoes they are in. It’s surreal.”