Johnson nets 1,000th point in Crusader upset victory

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WILDWOOD – Talk about a special moment.

As part of one of the most meaningful regular-season victories she’s experienced in her career, Wildwood Catholic star Kennedy Johnson netted the 1,000th point of her career in a bracket consolation game against Washington Township at the Boardwalk Basketball Classic Sunday afternoon.

Johnson, who scored the milestone point on layup early in the fourth quarter, poured in 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting and gathered 11 rebounds in the Crusaders’ 58-49 victory over a Washington Township team that is regarded as one of the very best in South Jersey.

“It’s a great accomplishment for me because this is something I’ve wanted to do since I was younger when I got to high school,” Johnson said. “It feels good doing it against a good team.”

Both teams shot the ball early, leading to a high-scoring first quarter that saw Wildwood Catholic ahead by 19-15 at the close of the period.

“It was huge for us to knock down some shots early,” Wildwood Catholic coach Steve DiPatri said. “The kids knocked down some shots early and that got our confidence flowing and it led us to a big win.”

Washington Township (1-2) is one of the premier girls basketball programs in the region. The Minutemaids have won three straight South Jersey Group IV titles.

“It’s a signature win for our program,” DiPatri said. “Four games into our season, we beat a team ranked No. 2 in South Jersey (by media polls) and a team that’s three-time defending South Jersey Group IV champs.”

Wildwood Catholic (3-1) led 25-24 at the half and went on to outscore Washington Township 14-9 in the third quarter. The Crusaders eventually built their lead to 12 points with less than three minutes to play.

“This was definitely a game that showed how much potential we have and how much more we can grow,” said senior guard/forward Katie McCallion, who added 14 points and eight rebounds in the win. “It’s definitely a confidence booster for us.”

Wildwood Catholic managed the victory despite missing Johnson and freshman Danielle Sanderlin for portions of the game due to minor injuries. Johnson sat out much of the second quarter after twisting her ankle, while Sanderlin missed almost 10 minutes of game action after a hard fall to the floor while attempting to secure a rebound.

“This was a total team win,” DiPatri said. “We were without Kennedy and we were without Danielle for a while and ‘Liv’ (Olivia Rulon) was in foul trouble but everyone stepped up. Everyone that played had a role in this win.”

Wildwood Catholic, which lost to Methacton (Pa.) in the bracket opener, next plays Thursday against Cape May Tech.

BASKETBALL SHORTS: Wildwood Catholic out-rebounded Washington Township 42-35. … Sanderlin finished with six points and nine rebounds. … Kylie Geidemann netted 16 points but played just 20 minutes due to foul trouble for Washington Township. … The bracket was named in honor of Crusader assistant coach Fran St. John, who is in his 47th season of coaching basketball at Wildwood Catholic.

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