WILDWOOD — Unfortunately for the Wildwood High School boys basketball team, Francis Christian needed a breather Saturday night.
The 6-foot guard headed to the bench for a quick rest in the third quarter. With Christian on the sidelines, Wilmington Christian began an 18-0 run that propelled it to 55-36 win over Wildwood in the Bill Osborn Memorial final of the Boardwalk Basketball Classic.
Wildwood trailed 33-27 midway through the third quarter when Christian needed a break.
“I think we just got gassed,” Christian said.
The Classic features more than 50 boys and girls teams competing for championships in several brackets.
Bill Osborn was a Wildwood Crest native, a basketball and baseball official and a long-time supporter of Wildwood youth sports.
It was no wonder Christian tired Saturday. He scored 18 point and also grabbed five rebounds and had two steals. Wildwood finished with 14 baskets.
Christian scored seven of them and assisted on five more.
“We had to give him a break and unfortunately we don’t handle the ball as well without him in the game,” Wildwood coach Scott McCraken said.
Wildwood played without forward Wesley Hills, who played in the Chesapeake Bowl football all-star game Saturday in Maryland. The 6-3, 205-pound Hills would have helped Wildwood in Saturday’s physical game.
“He brings energy and toughness,” McCraken said of Hills.
Wilmington Christian (7-1) controlled the game from the start.
Nathan Hickman, a 6-3 junior, scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter as Wilmington built a nine-point lead.
Hickman scored his other six points during the 18-0 including two of them on a fast break dunk.
Wilmington geared its defense toward stopping Christian. Defenders clutched and grabbed at him all over the court.
“They were doubling all over the place,” Christian said.
Despite the score, Wildwood (3-2) never stopped hustling. It was a positive tournament for the Warriors even with Saturday’s loss.
Christian scored his 1,000th career point last Saturday and Wildwood beat Pleasantville 43-42 in a Bill Osborn Memorial semifinal Friday.
Contact Michael McGarry:
Wildwood 9 8 10 9—36
Wilmington Christian 18 10 23 4—55
W—Flanders 2 0-0 6, Valentin 1 0-0 2, Madle 2 0-0 6, Gittings 1 0-2 2, Ramagosa 1 0-0 2, Christian 7 3-3 18. Totals—14 3-5 36.
WC—Toney 3 1-2 7, Ciarocchi 6 1-2 15, Manlove 1 0-0 2, Baffone 1 0-0 3, Hickman 8 4-7 22, Harris 1 0-0 3, Moyer 0 1-2 1, Foggy 1 0-0 2. Totals—21 7-15 55.
3-pointers—Flanders (2), Madle (2), Christian W; Ciarocchi (2), Baffone, Hickman (2), Harris WC.
Records—Wildwood 3-2, Wilmington 7-1.