By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA – It’s safe to say the Lower Cape May Regional High School boys basketball team will be working on attacking zone defenses in upcoming practices.
After jumping to a 13-0 lead to start Tuesday’s game, Lower Cape May found trouble when Hammonton switched from man-to-man to a 1-3-1 zone defense. The Blue Devils went on to outscore the Tigers 50-28 the rest of the way to post a 50-41 road victory.
“All year zones have been hurting us,” Lower coach Scott Holden said. “We have young guys not used to pressure situations and not having a lot of big-time ball handlers hurts us. With man-to-man, we can put guys where they’re most effective. When teams go zone against us, we’re missing that third good ball handler. We’re trying to develop that.”
The loss dropped Lower to 5-12. Hammonton moved to 8-7.
The result marked the second time this season that Lower held a double-digit lead on the Blue Devils, only to lose the game. Lower lost, 41-40, at Hammonton in early January after leading by 13 points in the third quarter.
“It’s very frustrating,” Holden said. “Both times, Hammonton went to zone.
“At the very least, our kids came to play and they played as a unit. If we don’t have to worry about that, then we can get into coaching the zone stuff and trying to fix this.”
Archie Lawler led all scorers with 23 points in the loss. But Lower’s next highest scorer was Jacob Bey with just six points.
Jaron Hill led Hammonton with 18 points. He hit the game’s biggest shot with 2 minutes, 17 seconds remaining, making a three-pointer to increase his team’s lead to four after a 7-0 Lower Cape May run cut an eight-point deficit to a point.
John Andoloro added 13 points for Hammonton.