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Bulldogs back among NHC elite

For two decades, the New Haven boys basketball program has been dormant. But now the Bulldogs are back among the NHC elite.

The difference? That's easy.

When coach Al Gooden and some of his Harding refugees came over to New Haven a couple of years ago, the Bulldogs were instantly infused with coaching and playing ability the likes the school hadn't seen in a long time.

So Gooden, Notre Dame recruit V.J. Beachem and Co. have New Haven on the brink of its first NHC championship since 1991 after a 82-70 home win over Homestead on Saturday.

The teams are tied atop the NHC standings with 5-2 league records.

The win broke the Spartans' 19-game NHC winning streak.

So if New Haven can beat East Noble on the road Thursday, the Bulldogs can clinch at least a share of the conference championship.

And if Homestead, which has won or shared the last three NHC titles, would happen to slip up at Norwell on the same night, then the Bulldogs would own the league championship outright.

Gooden, who coached Harding to four state championship appearances, is 28-8 (10-3 in the NHC) in two years at New Haven.

Harding, a fellow East Allen County Schools member with New Haven, closed its doors two years ago with Gooden, Beachem and others having to find another place to play/coach.

And they have found a home.

High School Sports Editor Greg Jones on prep sports.