By BRIAN CUNNIFF
OCEAN CITY — The boys team from Wildwood Catholic and the girls team from Wildwood each earned comfortable victories despite major foul trouble at the Ocean City PBA Tip-Off Weekend showcase event at Ocean City High School Saturday.
Wildwood Catholic built an 18-point first-half lead, saw Trenton cut that advantage to six points at two different stages of the second half, but eventually pulled away for a 70-51 victory.
Wildwood, meanwhile, trailed by two points to Cedar Creek after one quarter, but outscored the Pirates 34-14 over the middle two quarters en route to a 57-43 win.
Wildwood Catholic’s Taj Thweatt, a 6-7 forward, dominated Trenton throughout. He shot 6 for 9 from the floor and 11 for 14 from the foul line for a game-high 23 points and also gathered 11 rebounds to pace the Crusaders (2-0) before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.
Junior guard Jacob Hopping added 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, making 4 of 6 from three-point range. He went 3 for 3 from that distance in the opening quarter.
Junior guard/forward Jahlil White played just 12 ½ minutes due to foul trouble. He fouled out with 5 ½ minutes remaining after scoring 10 points.
Senior guard Jake McGonigal chipped in seven points and eight assists.
Wildwood Catholic turned the ball over 18 times but made up for it by shooting 23 for 43 from the floor (53.5 percent).
Trenton (1-1), the defending Central Jersey Group IV champion, got 16 points and 12 rebounds from Justin Williams.
“This was a good test for us,” Wildwood Catholic coach Dave DeWeese said. “The kids showed some resiliency. They made a nice run at us but we came back from it.
“We had some kids step up. There are nights (foul trouble) is going to happen. Fortunately a number of kids stepped up and played their roles.”
Wildwood Catholic is next in action at Middle Township on Tuesday.
In the Wildwood girls game, star senior guard Maddie McCracken, who averaged better than 23 points per game last season, played less than 21 minutes due to foul trouble. She still managed to finish with 11 points, six rebounds and six steals.
With McCracken limited, a pair of freshmen came through for the Lady Warriors in their first high school game. Guard Imene Fathi made 4-of-7 shots and finished with a team-high 14 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. And 6-0 forward Emily Little came off the bench to provide 11 points and seven rebounds.
Wildwood made six three-pointers to Cedar Creek’s zero.
Wildwood’s next game is Monday at home against Clayton.