By TOM WILLIAMS
Both Ocean City High School basketball teams finished a point short tonight in rivalry battles with Mainland.
The OCHS boys lost, 51-50, when Mainland senior Duncan Scandin made a short jump-hook at the buzzer. The OCHS loss made Holy Spirit the sole champion of the Cape-Atlantic League’s National Conference.
And the Raider girls took undefeated Mainland into overtime for the second time this year, losing a 41-40 decision. Ocean City had chances to win the game at the end of the fourth quarter and at the end of the overtime period but were unsuccessful.
Next up is the CAL Tournament on Friday. The Ocean City girls will host Cedar Creek (6pm) in the Dixie Howell Gymnasium and the Mainland girls will host Wildwood Catholic (5:30) in Linwood. Ocean City and Mainland could meet again but it would be in the CAL championship game at Stockton University.
The Ocean City-Cedar Creek winner will play the Millville-Holy Spirit winner next Wednesday in a semifinal at St. Augustine Prep. The Mainland-Wildwood Catholic winner will face the Atlantic City-Middle Township winner.
The OCHS boys will take on top-seeded Atlantic City on Friday night (7pm) in the Dr. Martin Luther King Complex in Atlantic City. The ACHS gymnasium, one of the best in New Jersey, was significantly damaged when water pipes burst during the extreme cold in December-January. The Mainland boys are not part of the CAL Tournament and will play a consolation game Tuesday at Middle Township and another consolation game on Feb. 23. The Ocean City-Atlantic City winner will play the Pleasantville-St. Joseph winner in the semifinals. The loser between the Vikings and Raiders will host Lower Cape May on Feb. 23.
In the boys game tonight, Ocean City (17-5) held a double-digit lead in the first half but Mainland (14-9) cut it to four at halftime. The lead went back and forth throughout the second half with the Mustangs opening a two-possession lead. Tom Jamison made two key baskets to bring the Raiders back and Donovan Graham scored with 10 seconds left to give OCHS a one-point lead. But Mainland got the ball down to Scandin and he converted in the lane.
Luke Varallo led all scorers with 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Jake McQuarrie scored 13 and Joe Sacco got nine, including a couple breakaways on steals. Scandin and 5-6 junior Joe Massari each scored 12 for Mainland.
The OCHS girls took a 9-4 lead after one quarter in Linwood and still led, 15-13, at halftime. Like in the boys game, the two teams battled back and forth throughout the second half and into overtime. Abbey Fenton led all scorers with 13 points for Ocean City (16-6), including three from three-point range. Delaney Lappin added seven with Danielle Donoghue and Savanna Holt each scoring five. Kylee Watson scored 11 points for the Mustangs (22-0) and Taylor Dalzell added nine.
FREE THROWS: Both Ocean City teams have one more regular season game to play. The boys will host Hammonton on Saturday (3pm) in the Dixie Howell Gym. The girls will play powerhouse Gloucester Catholic on Sunday afternoon (12:30) in Eastern …. the Mainland girls are the only undefeated team in South Jersey – boys or girls …. box scores, schedules, results, stats and more are available at http://www.oceancitysports.com/OCDiary.html.
Final CAL National Boys Standings
1. Holy Spirit 10-2
2. Lower Cape May 9-3
2. Ocean City 9-3
4. Mainland 8-4
5. Oakcrest 4-8
6. Absegami 1-1
7. Cedar Creek 1-11
Final CAL National Girls Standings
1. Mainland 12-0
2. Ocean City 9-3
3. Holy Spirit 8-4
4. Cedar Creek 6-6
5. Absegami 4-8
6. Lower Cape May 3-9
7. Oakcrest 0-12