By BRIAN CUNNIFF
WILDWOOD — The Wildwood High School girls basketball team turned the ball over 19 times, sent its opponent to the foul line 25 times and made zero field goals in the fourth quarter in Saturday afternoon’s game at the Boardwalk Basketball Classic.
Maddie McCracken pumped in 23 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and dished four assists to lead the Lady Warriors to a 49-43 victory over Newark Academy in a first-round game in the tournament’s Kaitlin Anzelone Memorial Bracket.
Wildwood moves into Saturday’s bracket title game, in which it’ll face Hammonton, a 33-14 winner over Buena in its opening-round game Friday.
Ahead by four at the half, Wildwood (6-0) outscored Newark Academy 20-13 in the third quarter to open an 11-point lead at 44-33 heading into the fourth. Wildwood was never able to put its opponent away until the final 30 seconds but Newark Academy also never got closer than five points.
Imene Fathi added 10 points for Wildwood.
Ivy Bethea scored 22 points and claimed 13 rebounds for Newark Academy (1-3). She set a new Boardwalk Basketball Classic record for free throws without a miss by going 14 for 14.
Newark Academy made only 12 field goals but stayed in the game by sinking 19 of 25 free-throw attempts.