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United they stand: Three smaller CAL teams excel in Olympic-Cape Challenge boys basketball event

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - Cape-Atlantic League high school boys basketball teams needed a boost Sunday.

The CAL got it from its often-overlooked United Division.

Three United Division teams - Wildwood Catholic, St. Joseph and Sacred Heart - won games at the Olympic-Cape Challenge at St. Augustine Prep.

Wildwood Catholic beat Cherokee 39-36 on Jordan Robertson's 3-point shot at the buzzer. St. Joseph beat Washington Township 50-47, and Sacred Heart defeated Winslow Township 55-37 at St. Augustine Prep.

"I think this will help people to stop looking down on us so much," Robertson, a junior forward, said. "We play tough teams as well. This speaks to that a little bit."

The United Division teams' victories were the only wins by CAL teams in the showcase event, which pits the CAL schools against their Olympic Conference counterparts. The Olympic won the challenges seven other games. The challenge benefits the Shoot Down Cancer Foundation, which raises money for the Oncology Division of Chidlren's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The United Division consists of the CAL schools with the smallest enrollments. The division does not include a perennial power such as Atlantic City or St. Augustine Prep. But five of the United Division's eight teams have wining records this season.

Robertson's buzzer beater came in the challenge's final game. He missed his only two attempts before his winning shot.

"I played terrible," he said. "I couldn't get any good looks. I was catching the ball in bad spots."

But with the scored tied, Wildwood Catholic inbounded the ball to Robertson at the top of the key. He dribbled right, stepped back and sank the 3-pointer.

"I was lucky it went in," Robertson said. "It was the only shot I made. I guess it's a confidence booster."

Cherokee (9-11) never led. The Crusaders (18-3) were up by as many as 15 in the third quarter.

Ed McWade led Wildwood Catholic with 22 points. Clint Freeman added 11 points for the Crusaders.

The Lions' victory

Sacred Heart (14-8) dominated Winslow Township (8-14) from the start.

Sacred Heart jumped to a 7-0 lead. The Lions led by eight after the first quarter and took control for good with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter. Holloway scored three-straight baskets during the spurt. Chris Burch (12 points) finished the spurt with a driving layup.

Winslow never challenged during the second half.

Sacred Heart features two of the league's best young players in sophomore center Michael Holloway and freshman guard Tyler Lunsford.

The 6-foot-5 Holloway dominated in the lane, sinking 9-of-16 shots to score a game-high 21 points. He also blocked three shots.

"When Michael plays hard, he's one of the best players around," Lions coach Kevin Nash said. "He's very big. He's very strong. He's quick. He's got all the things you look for in a big kid."

Sacred Heart played unselfishly with 18 assists on the 23 baskets. Lunsford led the Lions with nine assists.

"We pushed the ball, boxed out and got rebounds," Holloway said. "Coach always tells us not to let up and keep putting it on them."

The victory should give Sacred Heart a confidence boost as it prepares for the CAL and state tournaments to be held later this month.

The Wildcats win

Charlie Riccardi's steal and layup with 45 seconds left gave St. Joe (11-10) a lead it never relinquished.

The steal came with the score tied. Riccardi stripped a Washington Township (6-15) ball-handler in the backcourt and then drove for a layup to put the Wildcats up by two points.

"We were up on the ball, and I see that (the Washington Township player) lost it a little bit, so I just went for it," said Riccardi, who finished with 15 points. "I was little nervous going up (for the layup), but I was able to finish."

Riccardi and Val Vadino them combined to sink 3-of-4 free throws to clinch the victory.

St. Joe sophomore Ben Mitchell finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.

Contact Michael McGarry:

609-272-7185

MMcGarry@pressofac.com

Winslow Township 10 4 16 7-37

Sacred Heart 18 14 18 5-55

WT-Beauplan 4 0-0 10, Williams 3 4-5 10, Scurti 2 0-0 4, Cubbage 1 0-0 2, Jones 1 0-0 2, Munn 1 0-0 2, Riegler 2 0-0 4, Paul 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 5-7 37.

SH-Lungu 0 0-1 0, Toboloski 6 0-0 14, Burch 5 2-2 12, Lunsford 1 1-2 3, Holloway 9 3-5 21, Lee-Williams2 1-1 5. Totals 23 7-11 55.

3-pointers-WT. Beauplan (2); SH. Toboloski (2).

Records-Winslow Township 8-14; Sacred Heart 14-8.

* * *

Washington Township 13 12 11 11-47

St. Joseph 6 15 12 17-50

WT-Williams 2 1-1 5, Vilotti 0 0-1 0, Morrone 3 2-4 9, Miaden 3 0-0 6, Jastrzebski 8 4-7 20, Jones 2 2-2 7. Totals 18 9-15 47.

SJ-Vadino 2 3-4 8, Riccardi 4 6-7 15, Mitchell 5 9-12 19, Brown 3 2-3 8, Ordille 0 0-0 0, Quirindongo 0 0-2 0. Totals 14 20-30 50.

3-Pointers - WT. Maiden, Jones; SJ. Vadino, Riccardi

Records - Washington Township 6-15; St. Joseph 11-10

* * *

Cherokee 2 4 18 12-36

Wildwood Catholic 9 8 14 8-39

C- Kahriger4 2-3 12, Belamy 2 0-0 4, Wixted 3 4-5 10, Powell 1 0-0 2, Fioravanti 2 1-1 6, Handel 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 7-10 36.

WC-K. McWade 1 0-0 2, Cook 0 1-2 1, Robertson 1 0-0 3, Freeman 5 1-4 11, E. McWade 8 6-7 22. Totals 15 8-14 39.

3-Pointers-Kahriger (2), Fioravanti (1) C; Robertson WC.

Records-Cherokee 9-11; Wildwood Catholic 18-3

 

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