By BRIAN CUNNIFF
WILDWOOD –The Ocean City High School boys and girls basketball teams both used strong fourth quarters to sweep a boy-girls doubleheader at county rival Wildwood Tuesday.
The Raider boys rallied from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to post a 61-56 victory, as Donovan Graham pumped in 16 of his team-high 18 points in the second half to lead the winners.
And in the girls game, Ocean City exploded for 21 points in the final period to turn what had been a tight, low-scoring game into a 47-31 victory.
Ahead 32-23 at the half, Wildwood (5-12) began the third quarter with a 12-5 spurt to take a 44-28 lead with 4:04 to go in the period. But Ocean City responded with a 14-3 surge of its own to get to within five going into the fourth.
Graham then heated up in the final quarter and the second of his back-to-back three-pointers gave the Raiders (12-3) the lead for good at 54-52 with four minutes remaining.
Graham scored 11 points in the final period.
“I think we just started hitting shots,” Graham said. “Someone said we shot 9 for 33 (from the floor) in the first half. We knew we had to keep shooting and we got back in it.
“Whenever anybody on the team starts hitting, it gives us some momentum. The good thing about our team is that it can be any of us. Tonight it was me and Gannon (Brady). In another game it might be Joey (Sacco) and someone else.”
Brady added 17 points for Ocean City. He shot 11 for 12 from the foul line, including 8 for 8 in the second half.
“When we get down, we try not to let it get to us,” Graham said. “We just have to fight and chip away at it. We know we’re not going to be able to do it all at once.”
Tyler Tomlin posted a game-high 23 points for Wildwood, including the 1,000th point of his career. He reached the milestone with his first point on a free throw in the opening quarter. Will Long (14) and Diante Miles (10) were also each in double figures, but the Warriors were limited to three field goals over the game’s final 12 minutes.
The girls game was a defensive struggle through three quarters, but even more so in the first half. The teams combined for only eight field goals in the opening half. The Raiders took a 12-9 lead into the locker room.
Wildwood (13-3) cut the Raider lead to one on Imen Fathi’s three-pointer midway through the third quarter, but Ocean City surged at the end of the period and led 26-21 entering the fourth.
That’s when the Raiders finally got hot.
After making just 10 of 40 shots from the floor through three quarters, the Raiders knocked down seven of their first nine attempts in the fourth, including a pair of critical three-pointers by Savanna Holt.
Molly Hoffman led Ocean City (11-4) with 13 points. She also teamed with Tori Rolls to wreak havoc on the perimeter defensively against a Lady Warrior team that struggled the entire game to get good looks at the basket.
“Coach (Paul) Baruffi always stresses defense and boxing out,” Hoffman said. “We always work on that.
“After Mainland (a 35-29 loss Sunday), Coach told us not to put our heads down. It was a hard loss but we had to get back for this game today.”
Holt added eight points, getting all of them in the fourth quarter.
Maddie McCracken scored 15 points for Wildwood, about six below her per-game average.
“Tori Rolls did a great job on her,” Hoffman said.
Fathi added eight points for Wildwood.