South Jersey Sports

Middle will look to bounce back next season

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, March 13, 2014 09:49 am

Jeremiah Bland enjoyed a solid senior season for MTHS For the first time in Tom Feraco’s 33 seasons as head coach, the Middle Township High School boys basketball team finished under .500.

Last week’s second-round state playoff loss to top-seeded Haddonfield was indicative of Middle’s season as whole, in that the Panthers played a good team to the wire but couldn’t finish.

Trailing 48-43 with three minutes to play against the then-unbeaten Bulldogs, Middle saw Haddonfield score the final nine points to post what looked like a comfortable 57-43 victory.

Middle finished the season at 12-14.

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Fine season has Crusader girls seeking more

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, March 13, 2014 09:42 am

Senior Katie McCallion led the WCHS girls hoops team in assists this season Twenty-one wins, seven losses.

If you told a high school basketball team prior to a season that would be its final record, most would react joyously.

The Wildwood Catholic girls team, however, while happy with its accomplishments, was left wishing for just a bit more.

“I’d feel a lot better about it had we won the Cape(-Atlantic League) championship,” Crusader coach Steve DiPatri said, referencing the team’s close loss to Middle Township in the title game of the eight-team CAL tournament. “I know most people would be jumping up and down after 21 wins. And we did beat Washington Township, we beat Cedar Creek twice, beat St. Joe twice and we played a lot of top-level programs, but yet we don’t have a banner to hang. That kind of sticks in my craw a little. Hopefully that leads us to grow. We learned how to play big games and win big games but now we have to learn how to win championships.”

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Enjoyable 18-win season for Lady Warriors

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, March 13, 2014 09:40 am

Wildwood's JEss Freeman finished her career with 1750 points There are many people associated with South Jersey high school basketball who judge a team by its championships. They want to know if a team won its league or claimed a South Jersey championship before they’ll call it a successful season.

But that’s really a poor way to quantify a team’s effort.

Take the Wildwood High School girls basketball team, for example.

The Lady Warriors went into this season with two big injury question marks, as Jess Freeman (back) and Heydiah Farlow (knee) were hampered at the season’s outset. Freeman carried her debilitating condition through the season.

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Lady Tigers have chance to be special

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, March 13, 2014 09:36 am

Lauren Holden finished her junior season with 1690 career points Scott Douglass wants the players on his Lower Cape May Regional High School girls basketball team to understand that being a year older isn’t automatically going to make the team better.

After a strong state playoff run, the Lady Tigers are already being tabbed as a team to watch for next year, with superstar point guard Lauren Holden leading a club that featured an all-junior starting lineup, with underclassmen making up all of the reserve players as well.

“We’ve addressed it, that everyone has to work hard,” Douglass said after his team finished the season at 17-12 after Saturday’s South Jersey Group II semifinal loss to Cedar Creek. “Each individual girl is going to have to work hard. Sure, we have everyone back and some people coming in and we could have a strong year next year but nothing is guaranteed. We can’t take anything for granted. Some things fell right for us this year but we have to work.”

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Commentary: WC's best team in years

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, March 13, 2014 09:33 am

WCHS coach Dave DeWeese talks to his team during a timeout in the CAL title game The Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team won South Jersey titles in 2006 and 2007.

This year’s version of the Crusaders fell short of that goal. But you can make an argument they were a better team, maybe the school’s best boys basketball team in more than 25 years.

This isn’t to pick a fight with the players and fans of those Anthony Raffa-led clubs.

But let’s lay out some facts just for argument’s sake anyway.

The 2007 team of Raffa’s senior year didn’t have to look at a South Jersey Non-Public B bracket filled with the likes of the Patrick School, Roselle Catholic, Gill St. Bernard’s and even Holy Spirit. And the Trenton Catholic program that this year’s group lost to in the second round to end its amazing season was much more talented than the one seven seasons ago. The 2007 Crusader team also didn’t have to beat three ridiculously good teams to win a Cape-Atlantic League Tournament, since the CAL didn’t hold an eight-team playoff back then.

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LCM trio finishes at states

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, March 13, 2014 09:29 am

LCM's Cory Damiana finished his career with 123 victories The three Lower Cape May Regional wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament fell short of the ultimate goal of reaching the podium in their weight classes. But two of the three also experienced a bit of success before their seasons ended in wrestlebacks.

Senior Cory Damiana, one of the most accomplished high school wrestlers in Cape May County history, went 2-2 at 195 pounds in the last of his three career trips to the state tournament.

Damiana opened his effort with a 12-6 decision over Aaron Saavedra of Bound Brook in a preliminary-round match on Friday. He then suffered a loss by fall in 2:17 to Mike Oxley of Christian Brothers Academy in the pre-quarterfinal round, sending him into Saturday’s wrestlebacks.

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Creek’s playoff journey ends with semifinal loss to Manasquan

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:11 am

morgan Bill LeConey/Cedar Creek senior Morgan Stefanski talks to a reporter after her team's loss to Manasquan in a state semifinal. MONROE TOWNSHIP – The road to another state championship for the Cedar Creek Pirates hit a roadblock named Marina Mabrey on Wednesday night.

But for a group of girls that helped put the still-young Egg Harbor City school on the South Jersey sports map, there is plenty to be proud of.

“We definitely left a legacy,” said senior guard Mercina Stefanski after the Pirates lost to Manasquan, 65-48, in a New Jersey Group II state semifinal at Williamstown High School.

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Cedar Creek faces Manasquan tonight in state semifinal

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:11 pm

CCreekMorgan Jen Mara/Morgan Stefanski looks for an opening against the defense of Middle's Holly McKaig (31) and Lauren Legler. The Cedar Creek High School girls basketball team, fresh off its 56-50 victory over Middle Township for the South Jersey Group II championship, will face Central Jersey champion Manasquan in a state semifinal tonight (7 p.m.) at Williamstown High School.

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Former OCHS coach Tom Miller died

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Written by Tom Williams Tuesday, March 11, 2014 06:53 pm

Tom Miller, who coached the Ocean City High School girls soccer team to its only South Jersey championship in 2000, died earlier this week after a long illness.

Miller coached the Raiders from 2000 until 2005, compiling a 91-24-11 record, the best in school history. All six of his teams won championships in the Cape-Atlantic League, including two league titles, two conference titles and two division championships. Christine Jack scored what is still a school record 23 goals during the 2000 South Jersey championship season. Five of Miller's teams also were invited tio the South Jersey Coaches Tournament.

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Cedar Creek edges Middle for S.J. title

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, March 10, 2014 09:48 pm

Members of the Cedar Creek girls basketball team celebrate winning the South Jersey title EGG HARBOR CITY – The Cedar Creek High School girls basketball team is widely regarded as one of the best shooting teams in South Jersey.

So the Lady Pirates were in great shape when Monday evening’s South Jersey Group II title game against Middle Township turned into a free-throw contest.

Cedar Creek made seven straight free throws in the final minute and was 9 for 11 overall from the line in the fourth quarter en route to claiming its second sectional title in three seasons with a 56-50 win over the Lady Panthers.

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Mainland's rally falls short in S.J. Group III championship game

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Written by Bill LeConey Monday, March 10, 2014 09:40 pm

mainland1 Matt Strabuk/Mainland's Kenny Randall tries to get a shot off with 6.7 seconds left and his team trailing by a point in Monday's South Jersey final against Delsea. LINWOOD – It ended with desperate players flailing for possession of the ball, diving to the floor and lunging for one final opportunity to win a championship.

It was an exciting, draining finish – but not the perfect ending the Mainland Regional High School boys had hoped for.

The Mustangs rallied but couldn’t quite finish off an incredible comeback Monday night, losing to Delsea, 54-53, in the South Jersey Group III championship game in a loud, raucous, sold-out Mainland "Corral."

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D'Arcy falls short of state title but moves up the podium

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Written by Mike Schultz Sunday, March 09, 2014 09:33 pm

darcyfinal2 Mike Schultz/Pat D'Arcy (middle) on the podium after claiming second place at the 2014 NJSIAA State Wresling finals. ATLANTIC CITY - Holy Spirit High School wrestler Pat D'Arcy concluded a great season on Sunday with a second-place finish at the 2014 NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament.

"Coming into the season, I was looking for a state title," D'Arcy said. "I moved up a step on the podium so that is something to be proud of." Last season he placed third in the state at 106 pounds.

D'Arcy (40-3) faced Bergen Catholic's Nick Suriano in the finals. Suriano, a sophomore, is ranked number one in the state and two in the country. He defeated D'Arcy 7-0 in the 113-pound bout and claimed his second state title.

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Cedar Creek reaches SJ title game for 2nd time in 3 years

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Written by Bill LeConey Saturday, March 08, 2014 10:14 pm

Blackwellaction Matt Strabuk/Cedar Creek center Fatimah Blackwell goes up for a rebound in Saturday's playoff game. EGG HARBOR CITY - It's kind of becoming a tradition for a school and a basketball program that isn't even old enough to have a tradition yet.

The Cedar Creek High School girls basketball team is going back to a South Jersey championship game after dominating the second half of a 64-39 win Saturday over Lower Cape May Regional in the Group II semifinal.

Casey Thomas scored 15 points, while frontcourt partner Fatimah Blackwell added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the third-seeded Pirates (23-4), who will host No. 4 Middle Township in an all-Cape-Atlantic League SJ Group II final Monday at 6 p.m.

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Spirit’s D’Arcy to wrestle for state title Sunday at Boardwalk Hall

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Written by Mike Schultz Saturday, March 08, 2014 09:15 pm

darcy Mike Schultz/Holy Spirit's Pat D'Arcy (113) will compete for a state title tomorrow at Boardwalk Hall. ATLANTIC CITY - If you are wondering what Holy Spirit's Pat D'Arcy will be doing tonight, he'll take in some fluids, make sure his weight is OK, watch some video and get a good night's sleep.

There may not be much food on his plate this evening but his plate will be full Sunday when he faces Bergen Catholic's Nick Suriano to earn the right to be the best 113-pound wrestler in the state.

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