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Crusader comeback stuns Spirit

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ATLANTIC CITY – All season, the Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team has been trying to crash the party among the big boys of the Cape-Atlantic League.

Consider that party crashed.

The Crusaders stormed back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to nip Holy Spirit, 49-46, in a Battle by the Bay showcase game at Holy Spirit High School Saturday evening.

Jordan Robertson scored 16 points to lead Wildwood Catholic, his last field goal coming on a gorgeous spin move and finish in the lane that put his team ahead for good with less than 30 seconds to play.

"I practice that move all the time but I never thought I’d get to use it in a situation where it could be a game winner," Robertson said in a radio interview following the game. "It turned out to be a really good move for me."

Wildwood Catholic trailed 26-15 at half and 30-17 early in the third quarter. The Crusaders began their comeback late in the third, at one point cutting the Spartan advantage to three points late in the period before Spirit hit a three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to go back up by eight at 39-31.

"They took our first punch – and it was a haymaker – and came back from it in the third quarter," Wildwood Catholic coach Dave DeWeese said on 97.3 ESPN Radio. "But I told the kids after the third quarter we were going to give them a bigger one in the fourth quarter and we did. We continued to go after them and it paid off."

Wildwood Catholic scored 10 of the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to take its first lead. The Crusaders were later helped out by a technical foul called on a Spartan player that resulted in two Robertson free throws.

In the final minute, Crusader point guard George Cook went 4 for 4 on free-throw attempts, sandwiching his two trips to the line around Robertson’s clutch basket.

"We were very unhappy with the way we played in the first half; they really outplayed us," DeWeese said. "We felt we needed to take it to them better on the defensive end and we did a much better job of that in the second half. We also let up a lot of points off turnovers and a lot of points off offensive rebounds in the first half and I think we eliminated a lot of that in the second half.

"We fought, fought, fought to get back in the game. To come back against a team like that is just a great effort by out kids."

Eddie McWade added 12 points before fouling out and Kevin McWade chipped in 11 points for the Crusaders (12-4), who can now certainly lay claim to one of the top three seeds for the CAL Playoff Tournament should they continue to win against CAL teams. Atlantic City and St. Augustine are also vying for top seeds.

"We feel like we’re right there, that the four of us are the four top teams in the league," Deweese said. "This is a signature win for us. We have a group of seniors that have worked very hard the last four years and we told them that if we got the win it might be the biggest win of their careers in the regular season."


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