P . 12 | FEBRUARY 2023 | THE HAMMONTONIAN
Fun all winter long at Bulldogs Basketball
BULLDOGS , from P . 11 we ’ re fortunate that parents continue to trust that we ’ ll teach and coach their children the right way ,” Fricke said .
The Bulldogs have always had the same goals , according to Fricke — to teach the fundamentals of the game and give players a chance to compete at a high level .
“ We believe that young basketball players will learn to play the game and , if they ’ re willing to work hard , build a foundation for success that they can bring to the high school level and beyond ,” Fricke said .
Hammonton High School boys basketball coach Joe Martino has been involved with the Bulldogs for many years and credits the organization for helping his teams at the high school level .
A REBOUND DURING THE 2022 PLAYOFFS
“ The Bulldogs are such a great group of people who are really focused on creating a learning environment where kids can work on their skills and have a lot of fun . To have a good high school program , you need a great feeder program and the Bulldogs have done a great job of preparing players to come in and do well at the varsity level ,” Martino said .
Like many youth sports organizations , the Bulldogs have seen interest go through highs and lows relative to the popularity of basketball . Recently , the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the turnout , but according to Fricke , interest is gaining again for the Bulldogs .
“ It [ COVID-19 ] hurt us . Our numbers were down for a year or two , but so far this year , we ’ re growing more than we expected and it ’ s an exciting time for us ,” Fricke said .
With young players attending Saturday morning clinics , rec games on weekend afternoons and championship-winning travel teams , the Bulldogs are as successful and exciting as they ’ ve ever been .
More than 40 years ago , Don Staiger tried to share his love of basketball with the youth of Hammonton . For decades he was successful and now a new generation of coaches and volunteers are continuing that long tradition .
At the heart of the Bulldogs ’ success is the desire to teach young players to play and love the game of basketball .
“ As a kid growing up , I saw how passionate my dad was about basketball and how important it was to coach and teach the game . I got my love for the game from him and now I want to share that with the kids I coach . Either with the Bulldogs or at St . Joe , I want them to develop the same passion for the game that my dad passed on to me ,” Ryan Staiger said . Fricke agreed . “ Sure , we want to win games and
A GROUP OF GIRLS AT A CLINIC
make our kids as good as they can be , but overall , we want them to have fun and just learn to love the game ,” Fricke said .
RYAN STAIGER AND BEN CASTONE TALK TO PLAYERS