DEPTFORD – It’s the seniors who always seem to get hit the hardest whenever a team bows out of the state tournament short of winning a championship.
For the Haddon Township High School girls basketball team three seniors, Grace Marshall, Karlee Hart and Lindsay Roche played as scholastic teammates on Friday for the last time.
Despite getting 17 points from Marshall, the Hawks dropped a 49-41 decision to Bound Brook in a state Group 1 semifinal game played at Deptford High School.
Bound Brook will now play for the state title at Toms River North on Sunday, while the Hawks will look back and reflect on a fine season in which they finished with a record of 25-5.
“Basketball is a big part of my life,” said Marshall, a 1,000- point scorer and a three-year starter for the Hawks. “It’s my whole world, and being able to play with the girls on this team has meant so much to me. We have so many great games.”
Haddon Township coach Tom Mulligan spoke about he will look back with fondness on the way Marshall played throughout her career, often assuming the role of team leader.
“When I look back, Grace had so many special moments,” he said. “She played her best especially in big games; that’s when she shows up as a scorer.”
The coach also will remember Hart as a player who stepped up production in her senior season.
“Karlee has improved tremendously on defense and handling the ball,” Mulligan said.
He referred to Roche, "as a player who has done a lot of good things,” he said. “She’s our unsung hero.”
Like, Marshall, Hart was saddened to see her high school career come to an end, especially since she said she is not likely to play in college.
“I really thought we had this game, but things didn’t go our way,” said Hart, who contributed eight points . “That’s where my emotions come. It could have been ours, but it got away.”
Hart was referring to the fact the Hawks held an eight-point lead at the half, but then wilted under Bound Brook's pressure defense.
“We could have had it,” Hart said. “But we put up some bad shots and had some bad turnovers.”
The Hawks also could find no way to contain Cameron Ward, who scored 23 points, 13 of them coming in the second half.
Down 26-18 at the half, Bound Brook turned things around very quickly in the third quarter in which they outscored the Hawks 18-7.
The got five straight points on a basket by Jordan Todaro and a 3-point goal by Ward, and then turned on the defensive pressure.
The Crusaders held Haddon Township to only one basket in the third quarter, that a 3-point goal by Marshall with 49 second left.
That basket tied the score at 33, but Ward broke the deadlock with 10 seconds left in the quarter.
Then it was all Bound Brook throughout the fourth quarter – a period of time in which the Hawks were held to only two field goals.
“Their overall team speed wore us down,” said Mulligan. “They started to hit their shots and they really put a lot of pressure on us.”
At the same time, the Hawks kept playing hard, but they found it difficult to get open looks. And when they did, they had a difficult time getting anything to fall.
“In the second half, I think we still had the same focus,” Marshall said. “They just came out a little hungry and I think they realized they had to push it up. For us, our shots just weren’t falling.”
Group 1 State Semifinal
Haddon Twp. 13 13 7 8 - 41
Bound Brook 12 6 18 13 -49
HT: Grace Marshall 17, Lindsey Getzinger 4, Karlee Hart 8, Grayson Maroney 3, Madison Bradley 7, Shannon Walsh 2.
BB: Jordan Todaro 8, Victoria Triano 3, Caitly Morris 5, Cameron Ward 23, Emily Toy 5, Ariana McLoud 5.