South Jersey Sports

Warriors came a long way in 17-win season

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 11, 2015 06:49 pm

It was a miserable start to the season for the Wildwood High School boys basketball team.

But even after the Warriors lost five of their first six games, head coach Scott McCracken remained optimistic.

“I still think we’re going to compete in our division,” he said in early January.

They did that and more.

Wildwood, given a boost by the eligibility of transfer Yamire McNeal in mid January, rallied mightily. The Warriors won 16 of their next 20 games, before being eliminated in the third round of the South Jersey Group I Tournament with an 82-49 loss to eventual sectional champion Paulsboro.

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Two straight 20-win seasons for WCHS girls

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 11, 2015 06:46 pm

Olivia Rulon ended her career seventh all-time in scoring for WCHS girls basketball. The Wildwood Catholic High School girls basketball program appeared to be at a major crossroads prior to the season.

Two seniors, one of whom is now playing at Michigan State, had graduated. Two freshmen who had started transferred out.

That left one returning starter and only one other player with any kind of varsity experience coming into the season.

But the Crusaders managed to enjoy their second straight successful season, ending it by giving the top seed in the South Jersey Non-Public B Tournament a major scare before an eventual 39-34 loss in the second round.

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Crusaders look forward after overachieving season

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 11, 2015 06:45 pm

Kevin McWade was the lone senior on this season's WCHS boys basketball team. There’s a natural instinct to assume a high school basketball team is going to be better the following season when it loses only one player to graduation from the current team.

Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball coach Dave DeWeese was quick to warn against that thought.

“If we’re going to win another Cape-Atlantic League title or compete for a Cape-Atlantic League title we still have to get better and the next seven or eight months are critical,” he said. “If we don’t get better over the next seven or eight months we could go backwards. If we want to compete with some of the teams we want to compete with, we have a long way to go.”

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Middle falls to eventual SJ champ

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 11, 2015 06:43 pm

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Middle Township High School boys basketball team was going to have to shoot a rather high percentage from the floor, especially from three-point range, to have a chance to beat powerful Camden in a South Jersey Group II semifinal last weekend.

The Panthers shot a decent 18 for 45 from the floor (40 percent) but were only 3 for 20 on three-points (15 percent) in what turned out to be a 53-45 loss.

Middle trailed 18-4 to start the game but eventually rallied to get to within four points. It later fell behind by double digits twice and rallied within six points on both occasions but could get no closer.

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Excellent season for young Middle team

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 11, 2015 06:40 pm

There are a lot of high school basketball coaches that have figured out that if you play good defense and rebound, you will compete.

John Leahy, however, is one of the best at making his teams execute those aspects of the game.

Strong defense and excellent rebounding, especially for a bit of an undersized team, carried the Middle Township High School girls basketball team to an excellent season during what many thought would be a rebuilding campaign.

Featuring no seniors on the roster and just one junior in the starting lineup by season’s end, Middle qualified for the Cape-Atlantic League playoff tournament and gave eventual South Jersey champion Lower Cape May a difficult game before falling in the sectional semifinal round after a pair of state playoff wins.

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Lauren Holden's magical finish

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 11, 2015 06:38 pm

ERMA – In a very rare moment, Lauren Holden actually used the word “I.”

“We’ve never lost a home game (this season) and I sure as heck wasn’t letting that happen tonight,” the star senior point from the Lower Cape May Regional High School girls basketball team said following her team’s 58-55 overtime win over Sterling in the South Jersey Group II title game on Tuesday.

Holden, the humblest of stars, turned in a performance for the ages. Lower coach Scott Douglass called it “the best game I’ve ever seen her play.”

That’s not entirely true, because Holden at one point missed 11 straight shots from the floor and finished only 9 for 31 overall. She also turned the ball over six times against a defense that was very good in the post, occasionally causing Holden problems during her many forays into the lane.

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Lady Tiger role players make their mark

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 11, 2015 06:35 pm

ERMA – Lizzy Sulecki is a three-sport athlete at Lower Cape May Regional High School, so she’s seen an awful lot in the athletic arena.

But nothing prepared the senior forward for being thrust into the starting lineup for Tuesday’s South Jersey Group II girls championship game against Sterling.

Sulecki, normally a reserve forward, was pressed into service due to an illness to Ariel Magee, who came down with a virus the night before the game.

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Lady Tigers rally for championship

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, March 10, 2015 10:12 pm

Jen Marra/The Lower Cape May Regional girls basketball team celebrates with the South Jersey championship trophy. ERMA – With wins in 27 of its first 29 games, the Lower Cape May Regional High School girls basketball team hadn’t faced a lot of adversity this season.

The Lady Tigers faced more than enough of it in Tuesday’s South Jersey Group II championship game against Sterling, however.

And conquered every last bit of it.

Playing without two productive starters for the remaining seven minutes of regulation, seeing its star player hobbled by an ankle injury and facing a six-point deficit with less than six minutes to play, Lower Cape May rallied to tie and eventually prevailed, 58-55, in overtime to win the program’s first-ever sectional championship.

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Holy Spirit's D'Arcy caps career with state wrestling title

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Written by Mike Schultz Sunday, March 08, 2015 11:23 pm

darcycelebrate Mike Schultz/Pat D'Arcy is embraced by his coach Ralph Paolone after winning the 126 pound NJSIAA state title on Sunday At Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. ATLANTIC CITY – Pat D'Arcy is the best 126 pound wrestler in the State of New Jersey.

With a chip on his shoulder and a monkey on his back, D'Arcy defeated nationally ranked (5th) Anthony Cefolo of Hanover Park 4-1 in double overtime on Sunday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City to win the 2015 NJSIAA state championship.

"It's incredible," D'Arcy said "I had to come out and make it happen. This is South Jersey, this is the state tournament, this is what I wanted."

The victory completed a three-year ascension up the medal podium for D'Arcy. In 2013, he placed third at 106 pounds. In 2014 he placed second at 113 pounds.

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Holy Spirit girls, CBA boys win Greenhead Sprints

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Written by Staff Reports Sunday, March 08, 2015 02:14 pm

greenhead1 Brett Hanson of Holy Spirit won the varsity boys competition with a time of 6:19.5. BRIGANTINE – Perennial champions Holy Spirit and Christian Brothers Academy were the big winners at the Greenhead Sprints indoor rowing regatta on March 7 at the Brigantine North Elementary School.

CBA, from Lincroft, took home the boys high school championship trophy for the fourth straight year, while Holy Spirit won the girls title.

In the event, sponsored by the Brigantine Rowing Club, high school rowing coaches each put together an eight-member crew to represent their schools in the championship competition—two athletes from their varsity, junior varsity, lightweight and freshman crews.

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D'Arcy to wrestle for 126-pound state title today

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Written by Mike Schultz Sunday, March 08, 2015 08:49 am

darcy0307 Mike Schultz/Holy Spirit senior Pat D'Arcy reached the state final for the second straight year. Holy Spirit's Pat D'Arcy will march in the Parade of Champions today.

After that, he will wrestle for the chance to be the best 126 pounder in New Jersey.

D'Arcy, a Holy Spirit senior and Galloway resident, won his quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Saturday during the NJSIAA State Championship at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

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Vikings fall to Cherry Hill East in South Jersey semifinal

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Written by Bill LeConey Saturday, March 07, 2015 10:19 pm

AC1 Bill LeConey/Atlantic City's Leon Daniels, left, was looking up at Cherry Hill East from a big deficit for most of Saturday's Group IV semifinal. ATLANTIC CITY – When it gets to this point in the season and to this heated level of playoff competition, you can throw the seedings, records, power points and just about everything else out the window.

And when a team as good as Cherry Hill East plays as well as it did Saturday, with a loud and enthusiastic fan section along for the ride, home court advantage doesn’t count for much, either.

“I thought the better team won,” said Atlantic City coach Gene Allen after his team lost to Cherry Hill East, 66-56, in a South Jersey Group IV semifinal game Saturday at Atlantic City High School.

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Fresh legs lift Mustangs past Moorestown into semifinal round

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Written by Bill LeConey Saturday, March 07, 2015 09:22 pm

main1 Bill LeConey/Mainland junior Megan Stafford scored 12 points in Saturday's playoff win over Moorestown. LINWOOD – Their "cabin fever" finally broke, and the Mainland Regional Lady Mustangs had a lot of pent-up energy to release on Saturday.

The Mustangs, rested and ready after two days off because of the late winter storm, beat Moorestown 44-20 in a South Jersey Group III quarterfinal game in Linwood.

Freshman Gabby Boggs scored 14 points and junior Megan Stafford added 12 for the third-seeded Mustangs, who hadn’t played or practiced since a first-round win over Gloucester Tech last Wednesday.

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Frosh sparks Warriors to win in playoff thriller

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, March 07, 2015 08:05 pm

Wildwood's Jahnire Coleman scores two of his 10 points in the playoff win over Haddon Heights WILDWOOD – Kyion Flanders sure picked a good time to have his best game of the season.

The Wildwood High School freshman guard knocked down seven three-point shots in nine attempts and poured in a career-high 29 points as the Warriors down Haddon Heights, 69-67, in a South Jersey Group I quarterfinal Saturday afternoon.

Wildwood, the fourth seed in the tournament, will play at No. 1 Paulsboro in a sectional semifinal game Monday at 5 p.m.

Wildwood (17-9) survived a frantic finish to beat fifth-seeded Heights. The Warriors led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter but saw Haddon Heights rally to tie with 22 seconds to play on a deep three-point shot by Lucian Brownlee. But following a timeout, Mikal Poteat caught a pass in the high post and whipped a pass to the bottom of the lane to Jahnire Coleman, whose layup with 2.3 seconds to go was the difference.

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