CAL boys, girls basketball finals set for Saturday at Stockton

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The Cape-Atlantic League boys and girls high school basketball championship games are set for Saturday, Feb. 23, at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

In the girls championship at noon, fifth-seeded Sacred Heart (19-6) will face No. 3 seed Holy Spirit (19-5). The boys championship, scheduled for 2 p.m., will pit No. 2 seed Middle Township (19-4) against top seed Atlantic City (22-1) in a rematch of last year’s final, won by Atlantic City, 40-37.

Atlantic City has won 29 straight games against CAL opponents. Last year, the Vikings moved on from their victory over Middle in the CAL final to win Group IV South Jersey and state championships. The Vikings’ combination of size, athletic ability and aggressive man-to-man pressure defense has been a lethal recipe against opponents this season.

Middle Township reached Saturday’s final with a dramatic double-overtime victory over St. Augustine in the semifinal round. Tom Feraco (14.4), Darrell Shelton (11.8) and Tom Catanoso (11.5) all average double-digits in scoring for the Panthers.

On the girls side, both Sacred Heart and Holy Spirit advanced with upsets in the semifinal round. Sacred Heart beat top seed Ocean City, and Holy Spirit beat No. 2 Cedar Creek.

Sacred Heart is the defending CAL champion. Kennedy Johnson is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 19.7 points per game along with 13.5 rebounds per game, and Mandy Buirch averages 11.9 points.

Holy Spirit guards Summer Crilley and Val Garafolo paced the Spartans in their 63-56 win over Cedar Creek in the semifinal round. Forward Gina Lewis, who is Kennedy Johnson’s cousin, contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Spartans overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Be sure to check back with on Saturday for coverage of the championship games.

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