If you're a fan of high school girls basketball, Holy Spirit is the place to be this weekend, as some of the top local teams join several outstanding programs from out of the area at the 22nd Annual 97.3 ESPN FM Girls Shootout.
OCEAN CITY — The Cape-Atlantic League is hereby on notice: Ocean City is coming after ya.
The Red Raiders, not expected to be much of a contender in the league this season after graduating Conner Laverty, took down rival Mainland 58-48 on Wednesday night to move into a tie for first place with the Mustangs in the CAL National Conference — and also picked up their 11th win in 15 games to start the season.
PLEASANTVILLE — Everybody in the gym knew St. Joseph guard Marcellus Ross was going to take the last shot for St. Joseph. The visiting Wildcats trailed Pleasantville, 68-67, and Ross had scored 25 points already. He did take the last shot — and missed a runner in the lane — but teammate Ron Gaskins was there for a tip-in.
Dakota Hitchner, a senior guard at Atlantic Christian School in Egg Harbor Township, came into Monday afternoon's game against New Foundations Christian School needing just four points to reach 2,000 for her career. Tension began to mount when, four minutes into the game, Hitchner remained scoreless.
MAYS LANDING — When ACIT ripped off an 8-0 to start the second half and take a 29-15 lead over visiting Atlantic City on Wednesday night, RedHawks coach Jason Vander Ryk should have been able to sit back, relax and watch a blowout victory. But he's faced the Vikings enough to know that no matter what the score is, they're not going to go away.
The Vikings made a frenetic rally in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, trimming an 11-point deficit down to just four points, but sophomores Tahira Howard and Gia D'Alessandro nailed 3-of-4 free-throw attempts in the final 38 seconds to seal a 46-39 win.
ABSECON — Sometimes you just have to grind your way through an early January basketball game.
Visiting St. Augustine Prep, coming off a snowy weekend, was anything but sharp, but the Hermits did enough to get some separation early from rival Holy Spirit before cruising to a 45-22 victory to remain undefeated at 6-0.
LINWOOD — Teams such as St. Augustine Prep, Atlantic City and Wildwood Catholic might have some competition this season from a surprising source. Mainland Regional has gotten off to a 3-0 start, and has a matchup nightmare in senior Osun Osunniyi, a 6-foot-9 center who can not only block shots and rebound, but also score.
LINWOOD — Some of the best swimming in South Jersey is happening at Mainland Regional High School, as the Vineland boys and girls teams had the misfortune of finding out on Wednesday afternoon.
The Mustangs' boys squad dominated the Fighting Clan, winning 139-31, while the Mainland girls won their third straight meet after a season-opening loss to Ocean City, topping Vineland 97-73 behind some strong efforts from Hadley Egan, Chloe Fuetterer and Valerie Spiers.
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