Cape May County Gazette Leader Sports

Crusaders to play in first CAL final

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 26, 2014 09:39 pm

RICHLAND – The Wildwood Catholic High School girls basketball team made history Wednesday evening.

The Crusaders punched their ticket to their first-ever Cape-Atlantic League championship game with a 61-52 victory over Cedar Creek in a semifinal game at St. Augustine Prep.

Wildwood Catholic, the fourth seed in the tournament, trailed 6-0 to start the game and trailed by eight late in the second quarter before outscoring Cedar Creek 21-7 from late in the second quarter through the entire third period to take a 41-35 lead into the fourth quarter. The Pirates, the top seed in the tournament, never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

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Defense sends MTHS into CAL final

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 26, 2014 07:33 pm

RICHLAND – The Middle Township High School girls basketball team continues to prove it is one of the best defensive teams in South Jersey.

The Lady Panthers limited Holy Spirit to only 17 points through three quarters en route to a dominating 51-37 victory in a Cape-Atlantic League playoff semifinal at St. Augustine Prep Wednesday evening.

The win sends Middle (20-5) into the league championship game, which will be played Saturday at noon at Richard Stockton College.

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Legler relishes one last chance

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 26, 2014 09:38 am

Lauren Leger recently returned to the Lady Panther lineup after missing 7 weeks due to an ankle injury CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Twice during this season, Lauren Legler was told by doctors she might never play another high school basketball game.

The first occurred when she suffered a chip fracture in her left foot during a late December game. Doctors informed the Middle Township High School senior that she might not get healthy enough to play until after the season was complete. But she healed faster than expected and was set to come back earlier this month.

Then, four days after she was cleared to play but before she could suit up for a game, Legler was involved in a minor car accident and sustained a shoulder separation. Again, doctors initially told Legler she could be out long enough that the rest of the season would pass her by.

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First-half defense propels Crusader girls

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 26, 2014 09:31 am

Danielle Sanderlin of WCHS snatches a rebound against St. Joseph in Monday's CAL playoff game NORTH WILDWOOD – Steve DiPatri coached the Wildwood Catholic High School girls basketball team Monday evening while battling a rough case of bronchitis.

After the way his Crusaders played, the coach, if superstitious, might not mind if his condition lasts for the rest of the season.

After spotting St. Joseph the first four points of the first-round Cape-Atlantic League playoff tournament game, Wildwood Catholic scored 18 unanswered points to close the first half and went on to post a 41-32 victory.

The fourth-seeded Crusaders are scheduled to take on No. 1 Cedar Creek in a semifinal game tonight at 7 at St. Augustine Prep. The winner of that contest will have earned a berth in Saturday’s league title game at Richard Stockton College at noon against Middle Township or Holy Spirit.

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Crusaders win wild CAL playoff over Millville

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, February 25, 2014 02:51 pm

NORTH WILDWOOD – A game that had more twists and turns than a multiple runs of the Nor’Easter roller coaster on the Wildwoods Boardwalk took one last wild twist and turn with a second to play.

A layup attempt that bounced twice on the rim before falling off just prior to the final buzzer led to agony for Millville and euphoria for Wildwood Catholic as the Crusaders survived a quarterfinal Cape-Atlantic League boys basketball playoff, 55-54, Monday evening.

The win sends Wildwood Catholic, the fourth seed in the eight-team tournament, into Thursday’s semifinal round against top-seeded Holy Spirit, which was an easy winner over Oakcrest in another quarterfinal. That game will be played at 7 p.m. at Hammonton High School, after St. Augustine Prep takes on Atlantic City in the other semifinal at 5 p.m.

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Damiana, Gallagher secure D32 titles

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Written by Brian Cunniff Sunday, February 23, 2014 11:52 am

LCM's Cory Damiana GALLOWAY – Lower Cape May Regional’s Cory Damiana and Ocean City’s Cooper Gallagher each secured championships to lead the effort by Cape May County wrestlers at the District 32 Tournament at Absegami High School on Saturday.

Damiana and Gallagher were among the stars of the tournament.

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Bomb threat postpones high school hoops game

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, February 21, 2014 11:22 pm

High school junior varsity and varsity boys basketball games between visiting Millville and host Middle Township were postponed Thursday evening due to a bomb threat, Middle Township athletic director Scott Lodgek confirmed.

Lodgek said a threatening note was found inside in a lavatory in the high school a few minutes after the freshmen game between the two schools had concluded. The lavatory was not located near the gymnasium. Lodgek said the building was evacuated immediately after the note was found.

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CAL playoff tournament seedings released

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, February 20, 2014 01:04 pm

The selections and seedings for the Cape-Atlantic League boys and girls basketball tournaments have been released by the league in the wake of the seeding committee’s meeting Thursday morning at Absegami High School.

Holy Spirit (boys) and Cedar Creek (girls) are the respective top two seeds.

The tournaments begin with quarterfinal games on Monday evening in the home gymnasiums of the higher-seeded teams. Girls semifinals will be played at St. Augustine Prep on Wednesday. Boys semifinals will be played at Hammonton next Thursday. The championship doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday, March 1 at Richard Stockton College, with the girls at noon and the boys at 2 p.m.

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Surging Lady Tigers hope for CAL berth

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 19, 2014 05:51 pm

Ariel Magee scored 12 points in Lower's win over Willingboro earlier this week ERMA – The Lower Cape May Regional High School girls basketball team has been one of the Cape-Atlantic League’s hottest teams over the past three weeks. Whether that hot streak can carry the team into next week’s Cape-Atlantic League Playoff Tournament will be determined Friday at the league’s seeding meeting.

The Lady Tigers suffered a couple of losses early in the season to league teams that put a dent in their chances. But with wins in nine of the last 10 games, one of which came over conference rival Ocean City last week, Lower is certainly proving it is one of the CAL’s better teams as the regular season winds down.

Lower beat Our Lady of Mercy Academy on Tuesday to finish out its conference slate, one day after what early in the contest looked to be a blowout win in a non-league game against Willingboro got tight late before the Lady Tigers settled for a 57-52 win. The team takes a record of 13-8 overall into Friday’s CAL crossover game against Atlantic City. The Lady Tigers finished CAL National Conference play at 9-3, tied for second with Ocean City, although Ocean City would hold an edge on tiebreakers.

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Middle seeks district success

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 19, 2014 05:47 pm

MTHS junior John Mooers went 23-7 for the Panther wrestling team during the regular season An injury depleted Middle Township High School wrestling team is in its final preparations ahead of this weekend’s District 32 Tournament at Absegami High School.

Most high school wrestlers throughout will have their seasons ended at this weekend’s tournament. The Panthers hope at least a few of their wrestlers can compete into next week.

The District 32 Tournament begins Friday evening at Absegami High School, with preliminary and quarterfinal matches. Quarterfinal winners move on to Saturday morning’s semifinals. Those qualifying for semifinals are guaranteed two more matches, with semifinal winners obviously moving on to championship bouts and losers wrestling for third place. The top three place winners in each weight class qualify for next weekend’s Region 8 Tournament.

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Tigers confident difficult schedule will pay off

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 19, 2014 05:42 pm

LCM's Eric Pruszinski went 26-6 during the regular season and is expected to perform well at the District 32 Tournament The Lower Cape May Regional High School wrestling team finished its dual match season at just 9-18 after losing all three matches of a quad at Toms River South last weekend.

But if you’re going to judge the individual wrestlers from the Caper Tigers by the team’s overall record, you’d be making a big mistake.

As in recent past seasons, Lower wrestled against an extremely difficult schedule, one the wrestlers hope pays off when the District 32 Tournament opens this Friday at Absegami High School.

Past history says it will. Last season, after going only 11-14 in dual matches, Lower wrestlers won two championships and sent four other wrestlers through districts and into the region tournament. Later, for the first time in program history, Lower had three wrestlers qualify for the state tournament.

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MTHS senior has scored at prolific rate

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 19, 2014 05:36 pm

MTHS senior Lauryn Fields could finish her career as one of the top five scorers in Cape May County high school girls basketball history The first thing that strikes you when thinking about the career point total of Lauryn Fields is that she’s collected this many despite missing 12 games during her career.

Fields is on the brink of becoming the highest scorer among girls basketball players to ever wear a Middle Township High School uniform.

The 5-3 point guard exited Tuesday’s 69-26 win over Oakcrest with 1,579 career points, leaving her 11 away from eclipsing 1985 graduate Jen Snyder’s career total of 1,589.

Technically speaking, Fields will not be considered the all-time leading scorer at Middle Township when she surpasses Snyder’s total, since Fields played her freshman season at Cape May Tech. But after sitting out the first 11 games of her sophomore season due to NJSIAA transfer rules after arriving at Middle, Fields has scored at a very high rate. She could possibly finish her career as one of the top five scorers in Cape May County history.

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Tough task ahead for CAL seeding committee

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 19, 2014 05:27 pm

Kim Gawarzewski and the Wildwood Catholic girls basketball team are safely in the field for next week's CAL Playoff Tournament. The committee that selects the wild card teams and determines the seedings for next week’s Cape-Atlantic League Playoff Tournament for boys and girls basketball faces a difficult task when it meets Thursday morning (Feb. 20) at Absegami High School.

For starters, there are games scheduled for Thursday and Friday that could impact both the standings and the selections.

Middle Township athletic director Scott Lodgek, who chairs the seeding committee, said earlier this week that the committee could make selections and create seedings with contingencies in order to await the results of games being played Thursday and Friday. He said an official announcement of the full seedings and schedule could come as late as Friday evening or Saturday morning.

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Role players boost Lady Warriors

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, February 19, 2014 05:18 pm

Freshman Mackenzie McCracken provided Wildwood with 14 points and 9 rebounds vs. Salem Jess Freeman has been lighting up the scoreboard all season for the Wildwood High School girls basketball team. Teammate Leishly Reyes hasn’t been too far behind.

But on Tuesday, a pair of role players led the Lady Warriors to victory.

Sophomore forward Jillian “Bean” Freeman, Jess’ younger sister, and freshman guard Mackenzie McCracken each sank 14 points as Wildwood posted a 54-43 decision over Salem for the team’s third straight victory and fifth in its last six games.

Jess Freeman (11) and Reyes (10) still managed to score in double figures as well.

“That was the first thing that jumped out at me when I looked at the stats,” Wildwood coach Dave Troiano said. “I knew that Jillian and Mack carried us offensively, especially in the first half, on a night when our big guns were held down a little bit. That’s the first time we’ve had four kids in double figures all year.

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