Cape May County Gazette Leader Sports

Commentary: WC's best team in years

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, March 13, 2014 08:33 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 08:29 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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Former OCHS coach Tom Miller died

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Written by Tom Williams Tuesday, March 11, 2014 05:53 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 08:48 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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Lady Tigers fade in second half, lose to CCHS

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, March 08, 2014 06:04 pm

EGG HARBOR CITY – The magical ride taken by the Lower Cape May Regional High School girls basketball team through the early rounds of the state tournament came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon.

Trailing by just two points at the half, the Lady Tigers mustered only 14 points after the break and fell, 64-39, to Cedar Creek in a South Jersey Group II semifinal game.

Lower, the seventh seed in the tournament, finished its season at 17-12.

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Middle dominates top seed, reaches SJ final

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, March 08, 2014 05:40 pm

Lauryn Fields scored 17 points in Middle's playoff win over Deptford DEPTFORD – The Middle Township High School girls basketball team will return to a familiar place Monday evening.

Thanks to a dominating performance against the top seed in the section Saturday afternoon, the Lady Panthers will play in the South Jersey Group II title game for the fifth time in six seasons. Middle, the fourth seed in the tournament, will take on third-seeded Cedar Creek in Egg Harbor City for the sectional championship.

Cedar Creek won the other semifinal over Lower Cape May, 64-39, after leading by just two points at halftime.

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Crusader upset bid falls short

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, March 07, 2014 10:43 am

Eddie McWade had 17 points and 11 rebounds in Wildwood Catholic's playoff loss to Trenton Catholic HAMILTON – Jordan Robertson had what appeared to be a wide-open look at a layup that would have given the Wildwood Catholic boys basketball team a four-point lead with a little less than six minutes remaining in Thursday evening’s state playoff game.

But 6-8 Trenton Catholic center Richmond Arirguzoh bolted across the lane and blocked the shot, leading to a transition three-pointer by teammate Myles Powell. After another Trenton Catholic basket and a Wildwood Catholic turnover, Syracuse-bound forward Malachi Richardson swished another three-pointer to give the Iron Mikes a 40-34 lead.

Game. Set. Match.

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Lady Tigers stun No. 2 Sterling

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, March 07, 2014 09:51 am

Lauren Holden scored 41 points in her team's playoff upset win over Sterling Lauren Holden may have had one of the most sensational games of her already prolific high school career, but the Lower Cape May Regional High School girls basketball team’s upset victory over Sterling in a state playoff game represented the essence of a true team effort.

Holden poured in a head-shaking 41 points but the Lady Tigers were also able to get major contributions from others in a 71-61 upset road victory over Sterling in a South Jersey Group II playoff game Thursday evening.

The victory by No. 7 Lower Cape May sends the team into a sectional semifinal game with third-seeded Cedar Creek Saturday afternoon.

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Cape May County state hoops tourney results

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, March 05, 2014 09:34 am

Perhaps the most exciting week of the scholastic sports season began Tuesday evening with every area high school basketball team that qualified in state tournament action. The following are recaps from each of the games involving Cape May County teams:

BOYS

Ocean City 58, Toms River South 57: The 14th-seeded Raiders were one of three double-digit seeds in South Jersey Group III to win on the road in a game that featured an amazing 18 three-pointers between the two teams. Justin Ruggia sank 18 points and Jeremy Sullivan added 13 points to lead Ocean City (9-13). Ruggia and Sullivan also combined to make four free throws in as many attempts in the final 15 seconds. TRS, which got eight three-pointers and 28 points from Marquis Davis, made a three-pointer at the buzzer to set the final score. Ocean City plays at No. 6 Hammonton tonight.

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WCHS grad sets MAAC swim records

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, March 04, 2014 02:39 pm

RACHEL WUKO Wildwood Catholic High School graduate Rachel Wuko, a member of the Division I St. Peter’s University women’s swim team, set a pair of meet records at the three-day Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships recently.

On the first day of the meet, the sophomore won the 50 freestyle in a MAAC record time of 23.07 seconds in the event’s finals. She had previously broken the record with a time of 23.35 in her preliminary heat. Her time was just .07 seconds away from registering an NCAA B cut time.

Later, Wuko also set a new MAAC mark in the 100 freestyle. She won the event in 51.13, after posting a new record time of 50.70 in a preliminary heat.

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Previewing the sectional hoops tournament

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, March 03, 2014 11:37 am

Lauryn Fields (left) of MTHS and Naiy Saab (right) of WCHS both hope their teams can make a long run in the state tournament, which begins this week. The regular season is now complete. That means high school basketball’s version of March Madness is about to begin.

The quest for sectional and state championships was supposed to begin today, but the latest in what seems to be a never-ending string of snowstorms has pushed the start of the tournament to tomorrow.

The following is a look at each group in the South Jersey section of the boys and girls state basketball tournament:

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Lady Panthers rally for CAL title

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Written by Brian Cunniff Sunday, March 02, 2014 12:03 am


MTHS senior point guard Lauryn Fields hoists the CAL title trophy while being surrounded by teammates after beating WCHS GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Early in the second quarter, Lauryn Fields peeked up at the scoreboard and saw a 15-point deficit for her Middle Township High School girls basketball team.

That’s when the dynamic senior point guard went to work.

After making only 1 of her first 8 shots, Fields sank five of her last eight attempts and sparked an extraordinary 33-12 run that lasted from midway through the second quarter to midway through the fourth quarter. The result was a stunning 42-39 win for the Lady Panthers over rival Wildwood Catholic in the Cape-Atlantic League title game at Richard Stockton College Saturday afternoon.

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Crusaders dominate in CAL title game

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, March 01, 2014 10:36 pm

Members of the WCHS boys hoops team hold up 4 fingers in reference to their tournament seeding after winning the CAL title game over ACHS GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Kevin McWade missed a free throw with 5 ½ minutes remaining in the game. With three opponents surrounding the basketball, the junior guard hustled from the foul line, tipped the ball away, dove on the floor to retrieve it and flipped it to a teammate.

It was the kind of play that epitomized the Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team’s effort against Atlantic City in Saturday afternoon’s Cape-Atlantic League championship game at Richard Stockton College.

Out-toughing and out-defending what is traditionally the toughest and best defensive team in the CAL, Wildwood Catholic used big runs at the start of both halves to establish surprising start-to-finish dominance in a 61-33 demolition of the two-time defending CAL champion Vikings.

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Robertson's late heroics send WCHS to CAL final

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, February 27, 2014 11:06 pm

HAMMONTON – The Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team was down by two points with less than 30 seconds left in Thursday’s Cape-Atlantic League semifinal against Holy Spirit.

That’s when the best player in the Cape-Atlantic League made his biggest play of the season.

Read more: Robertson's late heroics send WCHS to CAL final

   

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