South Jersey Sports

Cedar Creek girls fall to Middle in Group II quarterfinal

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, March 05, 2015 12:35 am

creek Bill LeConey/The Cedar Creek Pirates, including forward Casey Thomas (middle), talk it over during a timeout in Wednesday's Group II quarterfinal against Middle Township. MIDDLE TOWNSHIP - The Cedar Creek High School Lady Pirates won't get an opportunity to defend their South Jersey Group II state title.

In a rematch of last year's sectional final, the Pirates lost to Middle Township, 45-33, in a Group II quarterfinal Wednesday night at Middle.

Bridget Ruskey scored 20 points and fellow sophomore Jenna Herlihy added 14 for the fourth-seeded Panthers, who battled back from an early six-point deficit with a 12-2 second quarter, then took control with an 8-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarters.

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March Madness for handful from area

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 04, 2015 04:22 pm

Stephanie Agger-Carideo Stephanie Agger-Carideo has brought so much success to the Penn State Abington women’s basketball team this season that the school’s athletic department had to organize a roughly 2700-mile road trip to Oregon this week.

Agger-Carideo, a Lower Cape May Regional graduate, led Abington to a surprise run through the North East Athletic Conference tournament, resulting in the program’s first-ever conference championship. Abington won the title with a 78-46 win over Morrisville State last weekend.

The victory gave the Nittany Lions their first NCAA Division III Tournament berth in program history. They’re scheduled to play undefeated George Fox University in the opening round on Friday in Newberg, Ore. George Fox (27-0) is ranked third in the nation by D3Hoops.com.

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Feraco on brink of 700 wins

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 04, 2015 04:12 pm

Certainly, many of the wins stand out.

But ask Tom Feraco about some of his most vivid memories on his way to nearly 700 career victories and the longtime Middle Township High School boys basketball coach will start talking about some of the losses.

He remembers his teams losing three times in the state playoffs to eventual NBA player Dajuan Wagner and Camden. Twice in the state playoffs to Haddonfield and Brian Zoubek, a 7-footer who eventually played at Duke. Twice in the state playoffs to Rancocas Valley and Greg and Dan Miller, who went on to play at Delaware and Maryland, respectively. Twice to Delsea and Demetrius Poles, who later played at St. Joseph University. And then there are a handful of losses to state powers St. Anthony and St. Patrick, as well as battles with South Jersey heavyweights Camden Catholic, St. Augustine, Atlantic City, Holy Spirit, Shawnee and others.

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New gym, old gym – there’s nothing like home cooking at playoff time

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, March 04, 2015 02:36 pm

homegyms Alan Dumoff/The Holy Spirit High School gymnasium was packed for a game this season against St. Augustine Prep. If these walls could talk … they might reminisce about Chris Ford swishing shot after shot from the perimeter of a court framed in blue and gold. 

Or Rob Higbee ripping down a rebound and feeding Jon Evans on a breakout in the Mainland "Corral."

Or, in more recent times, Casey Thomas and the Stefanski quads leading the Cedar Creek Lady Pirates to championship glory in a gym full of “Creek Crazies.”

Whatever the decade and whatever the age of the facility, home courts and home crowds can spell the difference in a close game.

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Power failure haunts Falcons in playoff loss to Ocean City

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Written by Bill LeConey Tuesday, March 03, 2015 11:11 pm

oak1 Bill LeConey/Oakcrest coach Frank Brown talks to his team during a fourth quarter timeout. HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – The scoreboard at Oakcrest High School’s 55-year-old gymnasium went on the fritz just before the start of the fourth quarter Tuesday in a South Jersey Group III playoff game between Ocean City and Oakcrest.

Eight minutes later, when Trevor Little’s 3-point attempt missed by a fraction of an inch at the buzzer, the lights went out on the Falcons’ season.

Ocean City hung on for a 49-46 win that earned the 11th-seeded Red Raiders a spot in the quarterfinal round against the winner of Wednesday's first-round game between No. 3 Toms River South and No. 14 Seneca.

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OCHS boys, MRHS girls advance in NJSIAA

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Written by Tom Williams Tuesday, March 03, 2015 10:23 pm

Two Cape-Atlantic League basketball teams advanced and one was eliminated Tuesday in the NJSIAA Tournament.

The Ocean City boys used a 20-point performance by Garrett Jones to defeat Oakcrest, 49-46, in Group 3. The Falcons had beaten the Raiders twice during the regular season. Vernon Burch scored 14 for Oakcrest. Ocean City will now play the winner of Wednesday night's game between Toms River South and Seneca on Thursday night.

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Defense paces Wildwood to first-round win

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, March 03, 2015 10:17 pm

photo by Jen Marra/Wildwood's Kyion Flanders looks to pass during his team's playoff win over Burlington City. WILDWOOD – This season’s Wildwood High School boys basketball team hasn’t been known for its half-court defense. The Warriors have won most of their games through their offense and a full-court trapping defense that often gets the tempo of games moving in their favor.

Wildwood employed that full-court defense from time to time in its South Jersey Group I playoff opener against Burlington City on Tuesday. But it was the team’s half-court defense – perhaps its best in a game this season – that led to a rather easy victory.

Wildwood, the fourth seed in the tournament, held the No. 13 Blue Devils to the second-lowest scoring output against the team for the season in a dominating 59-38 win.

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Pre-game ritual a winner for McCracken, Lady Warriors

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, March 03, 2015 10:14 pm

McKenzie McCracken poured in 29 points in Wildwood's state playoff win. WILDWOOD – Mackenzie McCracken gives a lot of the credit for any good game she has to a simple pregame ritual – she uses green-apple Chapstick just prior to tip-off.

It makes sense, too, because many of her shots kiss the bottom of the net.

McCracken, a sophomore who easily is the most improved high school girls basketball player in the county, poured in a game-high 29 points and gathered a game-high 17 rebounds in leading the Wildwood High School girls basketball team to tougher-than-it-should-have-been 65-57 victory over Penns Grove in the opening round of the South Jersey Group I playoffs on Tuesday.

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Clarke is clutch for Absegami girls in OT playoff win

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Written by Bill LeConey Monday, March 02, 2015 11:14 pm

gami1 Bill LeConey/Absegami's Brielle Clarke scored all 11 of her points in the fourtjh quarter and overtime of Monday's playoff win over Williamstown. GALLOWAY – Brielle Clarke had a little talk with her grandfather, Lou Polisano, before the fourth quarter of Monday’s South Jersey Group IV playoff game between Absegami and Williamstown.

It was family talk. It was colorful. And it made an impact.

“My grandpa told me to get my head out of my (derriere),” Clarke said, “so that kind of set a fire. It was pretty good inspiration there.”

Pretty good, indeed.

Clarke held her head high after she scored all 11 of her points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and fed teammate Eva Sodaitis for the tie-breaking bucket, as the eighth-seeded Lady Braves rallied for a 55-52 win in their first home playoff game in seven years.

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Both Middle teams, LCM girls advance

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, March 02, 2015 10:13 pm

Corey Greer drops two of his game-high 26 points for Middle Township in a playoff win over Lower Cape May. Three of the area’s high school basketball teams easily advanced past the first round of the state tournament Monday evening.

In boys basketball, Middle Township rolled to a 57-25 win over Lower Cape May in the opening round of the South Jersey Group II Tournament. The Panthers, seeded second in the bracket, led 28-8 at the half and by 40-12 at one point of the third quarter. Freshman Corey Greer paced all scorers with 26 points as Middle improved to 17-9. Lower Cape May finished its season at 5-20.

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Holden to play in state all-star game

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Written by Brian Cunniff Sunday, March 01, 2015 11:36 am

LAUREN HOLDEN Lower Cape May Regional basketball star Lauren Holden has been selected to participate in the NJSIAA North-South all-star game on March 22 at Rider University. The game regularly includes the best senior high school basketball players in the state.

Holden, a 5-6 senior point guard, was leading the state in scoring at a shade less than 27 points per game entering the weekend. Earlier this season, she became just the second player in Cape May County history to score more than 2,000 career points.

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EHT's Agostino wins Region 8 title; D'Arcy headed back to Hall

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Written by Mike Schultz Sunday, March 01, 2015 08:19 am

agostino1 Mike Schultz/Connor Agostino won the 195 pound Region 8 title on Saturday in his home gym. EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Unpredictability ruled the 195 pound weight bracket at the Region 8 Tournament this weekend at Egg Harbor Township High School.

When all was said and done, it was the 10th seed - EHT's Connor Agostino - who deservedly walked away with the title in his home gym.

Agostino defeated Mainland Regional's Kolin Roberts 5-0 to claim the title.

"It's a really great feeling, especially since I'm in my hometown and got to do it in front of a lot of people," Agostino said.

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Nelson, Hermits run past Spartans for CAL title

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Written by Bill LeConey Saturday, February 28, 2015 06:24 pm

newnelson Alan Dumoff/St. Augustine Prep's Sa'eed Nelson scores on the break ahead of Holy Spirit's Jordan Taylor in Saturday's CAL championship game at Stockton University. Nelson, an Absecon resident, had a game-high 27 points in the Hermits' 71-60 win. GALLOWAY – Holy Spirit’s “reward” for beating Atlantic City in a thrilling Cape-Atlantic League semifinal Friday night was a matchup with top seed St. Augustine Prep in the CAL boys final Saturday afternoon at Stockton University.

Some reward. More like a torture.

The top-seeded Hermits and silky-smooth point guard Sa’eed Nelson from Absecon blew past the Spartans, 71-60, to win their first CAL title since 2011, eighth overall, in front of a big crowd of 1,479, including plenty of “Richland Rowdies,” at Stockton.

Nelson scored 27 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed seven rebounds, three short of a triple double. If that wasn't enough, sophomore forward Justyn Mutts scored 21 points, despite spraining his ankle at the end of the first half, and Nate Aldrich sank 6-of-8 shots for 13 points.

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Ocean City claims CAL girls title

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, February 28, 2015 06:17 pm

Ocean City's Nicholl Fenton, Alexis Paone and Karissa Bourbeau celebrate winning the CAL championship game over Lower Cape May. GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – When the Ocean City and Lower Cape May Regional high school girls basketball teams met twice earlier this season, the team that got off to the best start emerged victorious each time.

That trend continued in the Cape-Atlantic League championship game at Richard Stockton University Saturday afternoon.

Ocean City, the top seed in the eight-team playoff tournament, scored the first five points, led by as many as 11 points in the second half and settled for a 34-26 victory over the Lady Tigers to win the program’s fourth overall CAL title.

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