By BRIAN CUNNIFF
OCEAN CITY — The Wildwood Catholic High School girls basketball team just missed taking down a defending state champion from Delaware earlier this month, losing by a point to Sanford.
When the Crusaders got another crack at a high-profile opponent on Sunday, they made sure to make the most of their chance.
Wildwood Catholic dominated in the paint and led virtually from start to finish in defeating Red Bank Regional, the 14th-ranked team in the state, 58-48, at the ESPN 97.3 Girls Shootout at Ocean City High School.
The Crusaders raced out to a 20-10 lead after one quarter and led by as many as 17 points late in the third quarter. Red Bank cut Wildwood Catholic’s lead to seven midway through the fourth quarter but could get no closer.
Wildwood Catholic’s star tandem of Marianna Papazoglou and Gabby Turco was sensational in the victory. Papazoglou tallied 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while Turco added 21 points, nine rebounds and three assists. The teammates combined to shoot 17 for 31 from the floor for the game.
Wildwood Catholic scored 32 of its points in the paint, while Red Bank (11-3) tallied just 14 from the same area.
The Crusaders also adeptly defended the three-point line against one of the top outside shooting teams in the state. Red Bank, which entered the game having made an astounding 103 three-pointers through its first 13 games, shot just 7 for 37 (18.9 percent) from beyond the arc for the contest.
Moreover, Red Bank’s Amelia Medolla, who had entered the game with a team-best 33 three-pointers and was averaging 11 points per game, missed all 13 of her three-point attempts and finished with just two points.
Wildwood Catholic (12-2) out-rebounded Red Bank 38-27.
The Crusaders are next in action Wednesday when they host Middle Township in a key Cape-Atlantic United Conference contest.
(Photo and video by Buddy Tarbotton.)