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In Group 3, Raiders sweep and advance


Both of Ocean City High School’s basketball teams moved on tonight.

In a doubleheader at the Dixie Howell Memorial Gymnasium, the OCHS Girls (21-6) used 25 points by junior Abbey Fenton, including a school-record five from beyond the three-point arc, to defeat Timber Creek, 69-45. And the Raider Boys (20-4) used balanced scoring to defeat Cherry Hill West, 62-50.

Ocean City will play another doubleheader on Thursday in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 quarterfinals. At 5 p.m., the girls, who have won three straight South Jersey titles, will play Lacey Township (9-15), which defeated Cherry Hill West, 47-39, tonight. And, at 7, the boys will take on Seneca (11-15), which was a winner over Highland, 53-50. It was Seneca that eliminated the Raiders from last year’s tournament.

Fenton, who leads the team in three-pointers this season, helped the team pull away from a Timber Creek team that kept coming. The five three-pointers tied the school record for threes in one game set by Megan Fox in 1999 and also tied by Reilly Larkin (2012) and Grace Sacco (2015).

Danielle Donoghue added 15 points for Paul Baruffi’s team with Emma Finnegan getting 14, including 10 from the free throw line. Tori Rolls and Savanna Holt each added four.

John Bruno’s boys led most of the way, though the visiting Lions (8-17) stayed close. Joe Sacco scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth period to help seal the win. Sophomore Gannon Brady scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half and sophomore Mike Rhodes scored a career-high 11. Luke Varallo added nine and Donovan Graham fouled out with seven.

Luke Varallo poses with Rick Lipford after tonight’s game. Varallo broke Lipford’s OCHS record for career three-pointers that had stood for 24 years. Lipford’s son, Jordan, plays for Cherry Hill West, the OCHS opponent tonight.

Junior Hakim Melvin scored 17 for West with junior Jordan Lipford adding 10.

The win lifted the Raiders to a second straight 20-win season – the first time the OCHS boys have had back-to-back 20-win campaigns in 60 years. Dixie Howell’s 1958-59 team was 20-2 and his Raiders were 21-1 the year before. This is the eighth 20-win season in Ocean City boys basketball history.

In other boys Group 3 results tonight, Mainland defeated Camden Tech, 68-45; Timber Creek edged Winslow Township, 58-57; Pinelands topped Woodrow Wilson, 58-49; Moorestown swamped Deptford, 73-39; and Toms River East defeated Westampton Tech, 53-46.

In addition to the Ocean City-Seneca game, other boys quarterfinals on Thursday find Lacey at Moorestown, Timber Creek at Pinelands and Toms River East at Mainland.

In girls Group 3 tonight, Mainland defeated Camden Tech, 45-21; Toms River South topped Pinelands, 44-29; Highland won over Delsea, 43-33; Toms River East beat Moorestown, 56-40; Absegami defeated Deptford, 50-41; and Winslow Township topped Central Regional, 56-30.

Other Thursday Group 3 girls quarterfinals include Absegami at Mainland, Highland at Winslow Township and Toms River South at Toms River East.

Visit the Raider Sports Diary for OCHS day-by-day results and schedule at