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Slick floor suspends key CAL United game

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NORTH WILDWOOD – A game between the top two boys teams in the Cape-Atlantic United Conference was expected to produce 32 exciting minutes of exciting basketball Thursday night.

Instead, St. Joseph and Wildwood played just 16.

Slick floor conditions on Wildwood Catholic’s home court that caused numerous slips and falls by players and even one of the officials forced the referees to suspend the contest at halftime with the Wildcats leading by two points at 18-16.

The game will most likely be resumed at the point of its interruption at a date and time to be determined.

Game officials George McClain and Dan Bradley consulted with Wildwood Catholic athletic director Sal Zuccarello about the condition of the basketball floor at the close of the first half. When the teams returned to the court to warm up for the second half, McClain and Bradley informed Crusader coach Dave DeWeese and Wildcat coach Tim Gallagher of their decision to suspend the game.

The affected area of the floor was in the northeast corner, close to the gym’s main entrance. The culprit was most likely wet and salty shoes of fans entering and exiting the gym.

“The referees did what was best for the safety of the kids and nobody wants to see anyone get hurt,” Gallagher said. “From our perspective, we were up two at halftime on the road so we wanted to finish the game. But it’s not our decision, it’s not Wildwood Catholic’s decision and we understand it.”

Wildwood Catholic went into halftime having committed 14 turnovers and having shot just 4 for 9 from the foul line. At least three of the turnovers were as a direct result of one of its players slipping on the floor. Bradley also slipped very early in the contest.

“The thing I didn’t like was that if they were going to suspend the game, I thought it should have been done earlier,” DeWeese said. “We had to play the whole half offensively at the end where it was slippery. That’s no excuse for how we played but I think it had an impact.”

DeWeese, though, had no problem with the game being halted.

“When it’s about (potential) injuries and somebody (potentially) getting hurt, we all saw enough guys go down over there that it clearly had an impact on the game,” he said.

The game was for first place in the CAL United Conference. Wildwood Catholic, which had beaten the Wildcats in Hammonton earlier this month, entered the game at 9-3 overall, 5-0 in conference play. St. Joe was 8-2, 4-1.

LaQuay Brown of St. Joseph scored eight points to top all scorers in a first half that saw neither team lead by more than three points. Ben Mitchell had added seven. Eddie McWade was top scorer for Wildwood Catholic with five points.

No information was immediately available as to when the game will be resumed. Both teams are scheduled to play Saturday and St. Joseph already has three games scheduled next week.

“Whatever it takes to get it finished,” Gallagher said, “we’ll be prepared to so it.”


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