By TOM WILLIAMS
Ocean City High School honored its history, swept a pair of varsity basketball games with Egg Harbor Township and raised more than $2,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer – all in one day.
Yesterday was the Butch Gleason Memorial Coaches vs Cancer Day which started with a pair of middle school games between the boys and girls from Upper Township Middle School and Ocean City Intermediate School. The Upper teams won both games.
Before the high school games began, members of the 1978-79 South Jersey girls championship team were introduced. That team finished 25-3 and lost in the state final to Paramus Catholic, led by 6-7 Anne Donovan, a future Olympic gold medalist and NCAA College Player of the Year. Donovan scored 46 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked six shots in that state final game.
Ocean City was led by Lisa Foglio, who averaged 26.6 points per game and finished her career with 1,970 points, still the school record 40 years later. She went on to a record-setting career at Florida State. Twin sisters Ann and Marge Brinkmann were also key players on the team, along with the women who were recognized yesterday.
The team was coached by Pat Dougherty who, like Foglio, is a member of the South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame and the OCHS Sports Hall of Fame. Dougherty’s teams won more than 80 percent of their games and once won 119 straight Cape-Atlantic League games.
In the girls game, OCHS (9-3) ran out to a 19-2 lead after one quarter and never looked back, winning the game, 50-14. Emma Finnegan scored 13 points to lead the Raiders with Danielle Donoghue scoring nine, Abbey Fenton and Savanna Holt eight each, and Delaney Lappin four. EHT played without sophomore Lauren Baxter, their leading scorer, who was on crutches after an injury. Sierra Hegh scored five for the Eagles (8-6).
Paul Baruffi’s girls host Cedar Creek on Wednesday in a Cape-Atlantic League National Conference game and then play Mainland on Sunday in the final game of the 97.3-ESPN Girls Shootout at 7 p.m. The game will count in the conference standings and will decide who is in first place. The Mustangs currently have a one-game lead on the strength of their 45-41 win over the Raiders in December.
The OCHS boys (10-2) led Egg Harbor Township throughout most of the game last night but shut down the Eagles in the fourth quarter, holding them scoreless in the last seven minutes for a 57-38 win. Luke Varallo scored 18 points and had six rebounds; Gannon Brady scored 14; Donovan Graham had nine points, five steals, four assists and two blocks; Joe Sacco had seven assists; and Mike Rhodes grabbed nine rebounds. Jordan Sweeney, a Rutgers baseball recruit, led EHT with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
John Bruno’s team will travel to Egg Harbor City on Wednesday to play Cedar Creek and then will go to Linwood on Friday for an important conference game with Mainland. The Raiders are currently in first place in the conference, though their conference record (4-1) is the same as Mainland and Lower Cape May. But OCHS beat both teams to gain the temporary advantage. Both of this week’s games will start at 5:30.
In 2011, Gleason (above), a close friend of Temple University basketball coach Fran Dunphy, brought the idea of a Coaches vs. Cancer event to his alma mater. Butch was a member of the last OCHS boys basketball team to win a state championship.
It started with a single boys game then expanded to a Saturday event including a girl-boy doubleheader. Two years ago, the middle school girl-boy doubleheader was added. Most of the money raised this year came from the silent auction yesterday that included autographed items from Mike Trout, Jay Wright, Bruce Beaver, Ron Moretti and the two OCHS basketball teams; tickets to Flyers, Villanova, Temple, Kentucky and LaSalle games; and other items ranging from Phillies bobbleheads and NBC Sports items to commercial blenders and a VIP detailing by Car Caress.
Others who donated popular items were Johnson’s Popcorn, Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy & Fudge and Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.