By TOM WILLIAMS
The Mainland and Ocean City girls have played twice already this season. The Mustangs won both games but they both went into overtime. Tonight, in the semifinals of the Cape-Atlantic League Tournament, the two teams set up another meeting.
Ocean City (18-7) defeated Millville, 41-35, and Mainland (24-0) topped Atlantic City, 47-30, at St. Augustine Prep and consequently the two rivals will play on Saturday at noon for the CAL championship on the Gerry Matthews Court at Stockton University.
Tomorrow night the final four boys teams will meet at Absegami to determine who will play for the boys title in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Wildwood Catholic (22-2) will face St. Augustine (19-5) at 5 p.m. in game broadcast over 98.7-The Coast. And Atlantic City (21-3) will take on Pleasantville (17-8) at 7 p.m. in a game broadcast over 97.3-ESPN. Both games will be video streamed by Matt Ulmer for Ulmer Appliance Service on each radio’s station’s website.
The Mainland girls trailed Atlantic City, 11-8, after one quarter but held the Vikings to just two points in the second quarter to take control of the game. Scott Betson’s team built on the lead from there. Kylee Watson, the Mustangs’ 6-4 sophomore, faced double and triple teams and collapsing defenses but still scored 13 points and fed off six assists. She made five of nine shots, three of four free throws and blocked three shots. Junior Claudia Mairone was a weapon for Mainland off the bench, hitting two three-pointers in the second quarter and another in the third for nine points. Senior Gabby Boggs contributed seven points and eight rebounds.
Kadinah Harris-Hood led Atlantic City with nine points with Ciani Redd-Howard getting six points and five steals. The Vikings got contributions off the bench when sophomore Megan Crawford scored seven and junior Shakiyah Hasan added six. Junior Tahira Howard, who injured her ankle last week, did not start and played just a little more than eight minutes.
Ocean City advanced despite making just 31 percent of its shots and 48 percent from the foul line. Paul Baruffi’s Raiders led almost the entire way with Millville’s last lead midway through the second quarter. OCHS collapsed its defense around the Thunberbolts’ 6-3 center Alexis Harrison and used junior Tori Rolls to pressure the Millville guards. Harrison still managed 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Ocean City was led by 6-0 sophomore Emma Finnegan with 10 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Abbey Fenton scored eight, including a pair of three-pointers. Junior Danielle Donoghue had five points, five steals and three assists; Rolls had five points and four assists; and Savanna Holt scored five.
Ocean City outscored the ‘Bolts, 12-0, on fast break points and 10-5 on second chance points.
FREE THROWS: The Mainland girls have reached the championship game for the first time since 1996. The Mustangs lost the final in both 1995 and 1996 and will be seeking their first overall CAL title on Saturday …. This will be Ocean City’s eighth appearance in the championship game, including the last three years. OCHS has won the girls title five times, tied with Middle Township and Absegami for the most ever …. complete box scores for the two girls semifinals are available at http://www.primeevents.net/calbasketballx.html where you can also follow the boys semifinals tomorrow night with live box scores ….