The final buzzer sounded and the celebration began.

Chris Curran had led the Ocean City High School boys basketball team to a 63-60 overtime win over Lower Cape May Regional in the Cape-Atlantic League title game Feb. 27.

The victory was Ocean City's first in the game's 18-year history. Curran made the winning 3-pointer with 15.3 seconds left.

He is The Press High School Male Athlete of the Winter.

Curran heard the final buzzer and rushed toward the Ocean City bench.

"I will never forget that moment," he said. "I can remember every single second."

Curran celebrated with his teammates. Ocean City fans rushed the court and mobbed the players. Together, fans and players hopped up and down and chanted "O.C! O.C!"

"It was just disbelief," Curran said. "Step-by-step it was me to the bench and then crowd to the bench. It's something I will never leave my mind."

Ocean City was a surprise winner and Curran an unlikely basketball standout.

At best, the Red Raiders were only supposed to contend for a division title this season.

Curran was better known as a football player. He played quarterback and was one of the Cape-Atlantic League's top kickers in the fall. Curran threw 17 touchdown passes and kicked seven field goals, including a 37-yarder.

But as the season wore on, Curran got more and more comfortable on the basketball court.

The 33 points he scored in the CAL title game are the most in the contest's history.

He led the way as the Red Raiders beat the region's traditional basketball powers. Curran scored 14 points in a 54-47 win over Atlantic City on Feb. 20. He scored 24 points as the Red Raiders beat St. Augustine Prep 60-50 on Jan. 26.

"He did everything for us," Ocean City coach John Bruno said. "He scored. He rebounded. He helped us break pressure."

Curran led Ocean City in scoring with a 14.9 average. More importantly, every time Ocean City needed a play, more often than not, it was Curran who scored a basket, grabbed a rebound or made a steal.

"He's one of those rare kids who knows how to be a leader," Bruno said. "He did it verbally and he did it by action. The kids respected him."

Curran still plans to play football in college, but after this winter Ocean City fans will probably remember him more for sinking 3-pointers than throwing touchdown passes.

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