By BRIAN CUNNIFF
WILDWOOD – The players and coaches from the Wildwood High School boys basketball team would all admit last weekend’s effort in a 71-56 loss to Lower Cape May was far from their best.
But the Warriors bounced back in impressive fashion Tuesday evening.
Kyion Flanders netted 25 points and Tyler Tomlin added 24 points as the Warriors picked up a pivotal 71-68 victory over Penns Grove in a clash of teams considered among the favorites to contend for the Tri-County Conference’s Classic Division title this season.
Wildwood (4-4 overall, 2-0 Tri-Co Classic) trailed, 52-49, to start the fourth quarter but scored the first 10 points of the period to open a seven-point lead. Penns Grove (4-3, 3-1) fought back to go ahead by a point, but Flanders sank a pair of free throws with a little more than two minutes to play to give Wildwood the lead for good. Tomlin also made a pair of critical foul shots in the final minute.
The game was originally scheduled for Monday but was postponed a day due to icy road conditions throughout South Jersey.
“We know we didn’t play well at the Seagull (Classic) against Lower,” said Wildwood coach Scott McCracken, “but we really got after it and had a really good practice (Monday). We knew this was a big division game for us and the kids responded. This is a really good win against a good team.”
Flanders shot 9 for 17 from the floor and 7 for 10 from the foul line, while Tomlin was a sizzling 9 for 12 from the floor and 4 for 5 from the line. Tomlin also had a team-high nine rebounds.
Marquel Matthews added 10 points for Wildwood, getting six in the fourth quarter.
Wildwood played its second straight game without starter Will Long, who suffered an ankle injury in practice last week.
Jawan Roane led Penns Grove with 32 points and 18 rebounds. Roane is a transfer from Woodstown.