The men’s basketball league resumes service

Team captains Marcus Miller, Kelvin Rivera, Anthony Barone, Lahtel Haskins, Travis Washington and Joe Umosella join counselor Thomas Gribbin (holding the ball) on opening night of the Hammonton Men’s Basketball League. (THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Men’s Basketball League opened its 2022 season at Hammonton High School last week, a year after the league was unable to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s great to be back. The guys are ready to play and we hope to have a full season,” league manager Ben Castone said.

Between games on opening night last week, Hammonton adviser Thomas Gribbin was recognized at half court by league team captains as well as Castone and co-manager Tony Quigley.

“We want to thank the city for their support of the league,” Castone said.

“Ben and everyone involved in the men’s league is doing a great job. It’s good to see how many people are involved and playing and to have a big crowd here,” Gribbin said.

The league sports six teams this season, the most it has had in at least a decade.

“We had a lot of interest. So many guys wanted to play. That’s the most teams we’ve had in the league in a while,” Castone said.

Sponsors this season include: Plagido’s Winery, West End Grill & Bar, The Alley Bar and Grille, Marinella Funeral Home, Winslow Junction and Ben Castone Landscaping.

The season opened with a thrilling match between Plagido’s and West End. Games are played every Tuesday and Thursday night at HHS, with action starting at 7 p.m.

“Because we have six teams, we play three games every night instead of two, so we had to cut the games to two halves by 20 minutes instead of 25 minutes,” Castone said.

After a year of inactivity, the players were eager to return to the pitch.

“It’s good. We want to thank all the players and the [Hammonton] school district for allowing us to use the gym,” Castone said.

The Hammonton Men’s Basketball League opened its 2022 season on March 22 at Hammonton High School.

In the first game of the new season, West End Grill defeated Plagido’s Winery 58-53. Gary Harris scored 12 points in the win, while Michael Cirillo (17 points) and Isaiah Pugh (12) led a late comeback that failed for Plagido.

Ben Castone Landscaping and The Alley faced off in the second game of the night, with Castone taking a 58-47 win. A hard shot from 3 points and the foul line fueled the victory. Joseph Handy led Castone’s with 17 points. Justin Harris scored a team high 16 for The Alley before a bad collision with a teammate forced him out of the game.

The final game of opening night saw Winslow Junction beat Marinella Funeral Home 70-57.

Joe Umosella was hot for Winslow, scoring 27 points. Marinella struggled against Winslow Junction’s zone defense and Travis Washington led the team with 22 points.

The action continues this week with games Tuesday and Thursday nights starting at 7 p.m.

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