LOWER TOWNSHIP—Joey Sacco practices his foul shots for moments like Wednesday night.
Well, maybe not quite like Wednesday night.
Sacco sank two foul shots with 0.5 seconds to give Ocean City a 56-54 win over Lower Cape May Regional in a physical matchup of Cape-Atlantic League National Division contenders. Ocean City (16-3) takes the division lead with the win.
“We practice all the time that you have to make your free throws when you’re tired,” Sacco said. “I was confident, and I knocked them down.”
Lower Cape May had the ball in the closing seconds with the score tied at 54. The Caper Tigers played for the last shot. A Lower player drove the lane, but had the ball knocked away. The Red Raiders recovered and started a fastbreak. Sacco was fouled a few steps over half court before Ocean City shot.
The Caper Tigers fans made plenty of noise but Sacco, who finished with eight points, calmly made the first foul shot. He made the second after Lower called timeout.
A desperation heave by Lower guard Pat Holden missed at the buzzer.
Ocean City (16-3) and Lower Cape May (15-5) both entered the game with 8-1 division records. Lower beat Ocean City 55-40 on Jan. 12.
Lower played most of the game without starting guard Zach Cerasi, who injured his knee attempting a break-away layup in the first quarter.
Sacco’s foul shots capped a thrilling fourth quarter that saw 10 lead changes.
Ocean City traied by four but Luke Varallo sank back-to-back 3-pointeres to put the Red Raiders up one with 1 minute, 40 seconds left.
Pat Holden (23 points) gave Ocean City the lead back whenhe sank a 3-pointer with 1:10 left. Varallo made 1 of 2 free throws with 48.2 seconds left to tie the game.
Ocean City can take control of the division with a win Friday at Holy Spirit.
Ocean City;11 15 11 19—56
Lower Cape May;12 15 11 16—54
OC—Graham 10, Jamison 9, Sacco 8, Varallo 14, Robertson 11, Greenling 3
LCM—Holden 23, Cottrell 2, Matthews 8, Moore 7, Anguelov 10, Bonner 2
3-pointers—OC. Graham (2), Jamison 1, Varallo (3), Robertson; LCM. Holden (3), Moore, Anguelov (2)
Records—OC 17-3, LCM 15-5