BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — Cole Vanderslice watched from the bench when the St. Augustine Prep basketball team began its game Tuesday against division rival Millville.

The 6-foot-2 senior entered the game late in the first quarter when the Hermits were trailing. Vanderslice quickly made a pair of 3-point shots to help the Hermits take the lead.

St. Augustine never relinquished that lead.

And Vanderslice continued his dominant performance.

Vanderslice scored 31 points, including seven 3-pointers, to lead the Hermits to a 72-47 victory over Millville in a Cape-Atlantic League American Division game.

St. Augustine, ranked No. 4 in The Press Elite 11, improved to 18-3. Millville, ranked eighth, fell to 19-4. The Hermits, who defeated the Thunderbolts last month, clinched the division title.

“Offensively, we were struggling a little early, so I wanted to go in and make some plays,” said Vanderslice, 18, of Ocean City. “I wanted to get in there and make some plays for my team and, luckily, the shots were falling tonight.

“But I give all my teammates the credit for finding me in the right spots. That confidence really comes out when I have everyone around me rooting for me.”

St. Augustine coach Paul Rodio said Vanderslice wasn’t feeling well Tuesday morning, which is why he did not start. But the coach smiled when talking about Vanderslice after the game.

Vanderslice scored 15 third-quarter points.

“He has been struggling with his shooting lately,” Rodio said. “But tonight, he came around and shot the ball a lot better. It was a big win for us. It was a great win for us because it secured the division title.”

The Hermits’ Charles Solomon scored 17 and went 5 for 6 from the free-throw line. The 17-year-old senior from Monroeville said it was a great night as he clinched the division title each season during his high school career.

The Hermits outscored Millville 27-13 going into halftime after trailing early in the first quarter.

“It was energy,” Solomon said. “Every time we go on a run, someone sparks our energy. And tonight it was Cole (Vanderslice). Our coach tell us every game to play with pride, and that was Cole tonight. He was a main example of that.”

Vanderslice also is a pitcher for the St. Augustine baseball team, which won the state Non-Public A title last spring.

“Last (baseball) season, I felt the vibe of a state championship team,” he said. “I really feel, as this season continues, those same type of vibes coming with this team.”

St. Augustine will conclude its regular season at 6 p.m. Wednesday when it hosts Vineland. The Thunderbolts will finish their regular season at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Atlantic City.

The Thunderbolts’ Little John Green led with 14 points. Rynell Lawrence added 10 and Romane Rhett nine. Lawrence went 6 for 6 from the free-throw line, and Green went 4-for-4 from the line.

“They hit some big shots, and they shot really well,” Millville coach Mike Jones said. “And we had some bad possessions offensively, so the combination of that and then them hitting some big shots that extended that lead was something we weren’t able to come back from.”

Jones said the Vikings will be tough to finish the season with, but Millville anticipates the challenge.

“We still have a lot to play for,” he said. “I think our guys understand that. It’s just one game, so we can’t dwell on it. And in some ways, it’s good we have a game (Wednesday) to try to wash the taste out of our of mouths from this game.”

St. Augustine; 16 15 22 19-72

Millville; 10 13 12 12- 47

SA: Vanderslice (31), Solomon (17), J. Kendrick (7), M. Delaney (6), A. Delaney (4), Jarrett (3), Z. Kendrick (2), Horner (2); M: Green (14), Lawrence (10), Rhett (9) is Jamison (4), A. Green (2), Butler (2), Washington (2).

3-points: Vanderslice (7), J. Kendrick (2), Jarrett SA; Rhett M.

Records: SA 18-3; M 19-4.

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Contact: 609-272-7210 PMulranen@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMulranen

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