By TOM WILLIAMS
The opening round of the Cape-Atlantic League Tournament featured eight basketball games tonight and they ran the gamut from a buzzer beater to a 47-point win. All eight of the home teams were victorious.
In the boys competition, Atlantic City pulled away from Ocean City after a slow start and won a 76-51 decision behind Ray Bethea’s 41 points. The 6-5 senior increased his career total to 1,516 passing 1980-graduate Leonard Hayes to become the fourth highest career scorer in ACHS history. Ramon Rodriguez contributed 11 points and Flash Morgan added 10. Ocean City was paced by Luke Varallo with 13 points. The Vikings have won eight straight.
The Vikings will play Pleasantville in the semifinals after the Greyhounds used a three-pointer at the buzzer by Divine Anderson to edge St. Joseph, 75-72, in a battle between the two highest-scoring teams in the CAL. Anderson, who recently scored his 1,000th career point, finished with 27 points. Sahmir Jones added 16 and Jacob Valeus 15. St. Joe was led by Marcellus Ross with 30. Devin Benson added 11. The Greyhounds have won six straight and the loss was the fourth straight for the Wildcats.
St. Augustine Prep rallied from a 25-25 halftime tie, outscoring Holy Spirit, 20-9 in the fourth quarter, for a 54-42 win. Marlon Hargis led the Prep with 23 points with Travis Stoll adding 14. Sam Lamonaca scored 13 and Drew Gallagher 10 for the Spartans.
Wildwood Catholic advanced to the semis and a second meeting with St. Augustine by defeating Millville, 63-51. Caleb Fields scored 20 for the Crusaders with Jake Hopping adding 13 and Taj Thweatt getting 11. Rynell Lawrence led Millville with 17.
In girls action, undefeated Mainland cruised past Wildwood Catholic, 71-24, behind 24 points by 6-4 sophomore Kylee Watson. Gabby Boggs added 12. The Crusaders got five points each from freshman Alyia Gray-Rivera and junior Erin Connelly.
The Mustangs will face Atlantic City in the semifinals after the Vikings defeated Middle Township, 33-26. Ciani Redd-Howard scored 12 points for ACHS, which played most of the game without Tahira Howard, who injured her ankle. Kira Sides led Middle with 10.
Millville held off Holy Spirit for a 42-32 win behind a 22-point, 17-rebound and 7-block performance from Alexis Harrison. Regina Lamcken led the Spartans with 10 points. The Thunderbolts will face Ocean City in the semifinals.
The Raiders defeated Cedar Creek, 48-24, after a slow start. Abbey Fenton led OCHS with 13 points and Savanna Holt added 10. Trina Deveney led the Pirates with 10 points.
FREE THROWS: St. Augustine’s win was its 10th straight in the CAL Tournament. The Hermits have won the championship the last three years …. the Atlantic City boys have now reached the semifinals all seven years of the tournament …. Ocean City’s girls have also reached the semifinals all seven years …. the last four girls CAL champions have been from Cape May County, Ocean City twice and Middle Township twice …. the championship doubleheader at Stockton University on Feb. 24 will start at noon ….
Tuesday Girls Consolations
Egg Harbor Township (9-12) at Atlantic Tech (15-9)
Vineland (11-9) at Lower Cape May (7-15)
Absegami (8-14) at Bridgeton (4-18)
Oakcrest (4-16) at Our Lady of Mercy (10-13)
St. Joseph (3-20) at Buena (8-14)
Pleasantville (1-21) at Cape May Tech (4-20)
Tuesday Boy Consolations
Vineland (10-10) at Lower Cape May (16-7)
Mainland (14-9) at Middle Township (13-10)
Buena (2-19) at Egg Harbor Township (7-16)
Absegami (3-17) at Cape May Tech (11-12)
Atlantic Tech (6-14) at Oakcrest (10-9)
Bridgeton (4-19) at Cedar Creek (7-17)
Wednesday Girls Semifinals at St. Augustine Prep
5pm – Ocean City (17-6) vs Millville (18-4)
7pm – Mainland (23-0) vs Atlantic City (13-9)
Thursday Boys Semifinals at Absegami
5pm – Wildwood Catholic (21-2) vs St. Augustine (19-5)
7pm – Atlantic City (21-3) vs Pleasantville (17-8)
Friday Girls Consolations
Egg Harbor Township (9-12) at Middle Township (16-8)
Vineland (11-9) at Holy Spirit (14-9)
Lower Cape May (7-15) at Cedar Creek (15-8)
Atlantic Tech (15-9) at Wildwood Catholic (15-9)
Buena (8-14) at Bridgeton (4-18)
Absegami (8-14) at Our Lady of Mercy (10-13)
Cape May Tech (4-20) at Oakcrest (4-16)
St. Joseph (3-20) at Pleasantville (1-21)
Friday Boys Consolations
Vineland (10-10) at St. Joseph (17-7)
Mainland (14-9) at Holy Spirit (13-11)
Middle Township (13-10) at Millville (16-8)
Lower Cape May (16-7) at Ocean City (17-6)
Egg Harbor Township (7-16) at Absegami (3-17)
Cape May Tech (11-12) at Atlantic Tech (6-14)
Oakcrest (10-9) at Bridgeton (4-19)
Cedar Creek (7-17) at Buena (2-19)