By BRIAN CUNNIFF
A team in desperate need of a victory got one in most dramatic fashion Monday evening.
A shot from a couple of steps inside halfcourt by junior forward Max McGrath banked off the backboard and through the basket as the fourth-quarter buzzer sounded to give the Wildwood High School boys basketball team a thrilling 48-47 win at Cumberland.
“I was shocked,” McGrath said. “Everybody else was shocked as well. I don’t think anybody expected me to make it.”
After a Cumberland player made a free throw with 4.3 seconds to go, Andrew Zielinski in-bounded the ball to McGrath, who dribbled up the court near the right sideline. He let his shot fly from a couple of steps on the offensive side of halfcourt while under duress from a couple of Colt defenders.
“After Andrew in-bounded the ball I took the ball up the court and I had to shoot it,” McGrath said.
Not surprisingly, McGrath was mobbed by his teammates, who leaped off the bench and rushed the court after the shot fell through the basket.
“The feeling was just amazing,” McGrath said. “I felt like a shock went through my whole body when it happened.”
Wildwood played the game without leading scorer Tyler Tomlin, who missed the contest due to illness. McGrath led the Warriors (2-8) with 16 points and also added eight rebounds. Will Long added 15 points.
“It was difficult without Tyler but we pulled together as a team,” McGrath said. “Everyone gave a great effort. It was a good team win in general.”
Wildwood led by six after three quarters but Cumberland rallied with a 15-7 surge to take a 47-45 lead before McGrath’s heroic shot.
Wildwood snapped a five-game losing streak with the victory.
Cumberland might want to stop scheduling home games against teams from Cape May County. The last time a Cape May County team played at Cumberland, Ocean City’s Luke Varallo hit a 27-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Colts during the 2016-17 season.