By TOM WILLIAMS
Can they hold the South Jersey Group 3 girls basketball championship game without Paul Baruffi’s Raiders?
Not very often. And not this year.
Ocean City outscored favored Winslow Township, 14-10, Saturday afternoon in the final eight minutes and came away with a 35-32 win in the South Jersey semifinal.
The win puts OCHS into the sectional championship game for the third straight year and the ninth time in the last 13 years.
To make this year more interesting, the Raiders will play undefeated Mainland in that championship game, the fourth time this season they have played the Mustangs. The first three went into overtime.
The championship game on Monday has been scheduled for the ridiculous time of 4 p.m., so good luck to the working parents who’d like to get to Linwood for the game. A limited number of tickets will be available to purchase at the Ocean City High School athletic office on Monday.
Anyway, Ocean City (21-8) earned its spot on the strength of its fourth quarter effort. The Raiders entered the final period down a point but made six free throws to gain and hold on to the lead. Senior Mickey Baker and sophomore Emma Finnegan each scored four in the fourth period on a field goal and two free throws each, junior Savanna Holt hit a clutch three-pointer, junior Danielle Donoghue made two from the line and junior Tori Rolls added a free throw.
“We made some key free throws at the end,” said Baruffi.
Donoghue and Finnegan each scored nine points for the Raiders with Holt adding eight, Baker four, Rolls three and sophomore Abbey Fenton two.
Brittany Garner, the 6-4 senior center for Winslow (24-4), scored 15 points despite struggling from the foul line. She was one for eight. “We did the best we could with her,” Baruffi said. “Both Mickey and Emma played her tough.”
Baruffi and Holt both talked about this game and the championship game ahead with Mainland in video interviews, below.
FREE THROWS: Ocean City has won the last two South Jersey Group 3 titles and also won five other times – 2013, 2011, 2008-09 and 1979 …. Mainland has won three South Jersey titles in girls basketball – 1989, 1986 and 1975 …. the last time an OCHS basketball team played a team four times in one season was in the 1954-55 season when Ocean City played Wildwood four times …. box scores, schedule, results, stats and more are available at http://www.oceancitysports.com/OCDiary.html.
CAL Monday in the NJSIAA
South Jersey Girls Group 3 Final: Ocean City (21-8) at Mainland (28-0), 4pm
South Jersey Boys Non-Public A Semifinal: Camden Catholic (21-6) at St. Augustine (20-6), 5:30pm
South Jersey Boys Group 4 Final: Atlantic City (25-4) at Shawnee (25-4), 6pm
South Jersey Boys Group 2 Final: Lower Cape May (21-8) vs Haddonfield (26-3), 7pm at Cherry Hill East (tentative)