By TOM WILLIAMS
Through the years there have been some exciting finishes between Ocean City and Holy Spirit in sports.
Last night there were two.
The Spartans stole the ball and scored in the final 30 seconds to win the girls basketball game, 32-31, and hand the Raiders their first loss after 10 straight wins.
And the Raider boys held on behind junior Donovan Graham’s foul shooting to defeat the Spartans, 55-53, in overtime after Spirit senior Drew Gallagher hit a three at the buzzer to send the game into the extra period.
The two results shifted things a little in the Cape-Atlantic League’s National Conference.
The overtime loss was Holy Spirit’s first in conference play, leaving Lower Cape May as the only unbeaten team in conference play. The win also kept OCHS alive after its loss to Lower last Friday.
There is still lots of basketball ahead in the National Conference. In the boys race, Lower Cape May and Holy Spirit each must play twice and Ocean City has games with each of them on the road. Mainland, the team to beat in the girls race, now has the upper hand with two games left against Ocean City and one with Holy Spirit.
The OCHS girls had a 31-30 lead in the final minute in Absecon last night but Holy Spirit senior Regina Lamcken stole the ball and fed sophomore teammate Jules Lynch for a layup with 21 seconds left that turned out to be the winning basket.
Junior Danielle Donoghue and senior Mickey Baker led OCHS with eight points with sophomores Abbey Fenton and Emma Finnegan each getting four. The Raiders shot just 26 percent in the game. Baker had seven rebounds and Donoghue made eight steals.
In the boys game, Ocean City had a 47-44 lead with five seconds left in the fourth quarter after rallying in the third quarter. But Gallagher drove to the top of the key and banked home a three-pointer to tie the game.
Holy Spirit used its confidence from Gallagher’s clutch shot to build a 50-47 lead in overtime but Graham made two free throws and senior Issac Robertson completed a three-point play to give the Raiders the lead. Graham made two more free throws and OCHS led, 54-50, with 1:17 left.
Then senior Sam LaMonaca, who had a tremendous second half, hit a free throw followed by a steal and feed to senior Reece Miller to make it 54-53. Ocean City ran the clock down to 31.5 seconds when Jake McQuarrie was fouled, making one. The Spartans had two chances to tie in the final seconds but missed both shots.
Graham had 14 points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Robertson had 10 points and four assists. Eric Greenling, the 6-5 sophomore, made his debut after sitting out 30 days following his transfer from Holy Spirit. He made his only shot, grabbed five rebounds and blocked four shots in just under 12 minutes.
LaMonaca had a double-double (20 points, 14 rebounds) along with four steals. Gallagher finished with 13 points and five steals and Miller made six assists.
Both Ocean City teams will play Saturday in the Butch Gleason Coaches vs Cancer Day in a girl-boy doubleheader with Clearview starting at 4:30 in the Dixie Howell Gym. The high school doubleheader will be preceded by a middle school doubleheader between Ocean City and Upper Township starting at 1 p.m.
The Ocean City-Holy Spirit box scores, Raiders season stats and video of the boys game are at http://www.oceancitysports.com/OCDiary.html.
CAL National Girls Standings
CAL National Boys Standings