By TOM WILLIAMS
The Ocean City boys basketball team earned that title in the Cape-Atlantic League’s National Conference tonight after a pair of overtime thrillers.
The Raiders (18-3) placed four in double figures in a 75-67 win over Cedar Creek at the Dixie Howell Gym to clinch a tie for the conference title.
Then, about an hour later, sophomore Jordan Pierce hit a pair of three-pointers in the overtime period as Lower Cape May defeated Mainland, 60-55, to knock the Mustangs out of the first place tie. The win also earned Lower the No. 8 seed in the CAL Tournament on Friday and a first round game at No. 1 seed Wildwood Catholic.
Ocean City is seeded No. 6 in the CAL Tournament and will open play on Friday (5:30) against No. 3 seed Millville. The complete CAL Tournament bracket came be found here – http://www.primeevents.net/calbasketballx.html.
This is the first CAL conference championship for OCHS since 2010 when the Raiders won the overall league title. They also won division crowns under Bruno in 2005 and consecutively from 1992-94.
The three seniors who have started most of this season – Joe Sacco, Donovan Graham and Luke Varallo – scored 12 of Ocean City’s 15 points in the extra period. Sacco made a quick field goal to start the overtime and then made four of six free throws. Varallo hit two from the line and scored in the lane and Graham made a pair of foul shots. The Raiders scored the first 11 points in the overtime.
Sophomore Gannon Brady led Ocean City with 19 points, including a three in overtime. Graham and Sacco scored 14 with Varallo getting 11. Sacco had a double-double, adding 11 assists.
Najee Coursey, a 6-4 junior, scored 32 points for Cedar Creek, the most against Ocean City this season.
The National Conference standings are here – http://www.primeevents.net/BasketballStandings2019Boys.html.
The Ocean City girls (17-5) opened a 31-9 lead at halftime against Cedar Creek tonight and went on to win, 44-28. Emma Finnegan scored 22 points for the Raiders with Danielle Donoghue adding 15.
Paul Baruffi’s team will host Oakcrest on Friday in the first round of the CAL Tournament. OCHS is the No. 2 seed and Oakcrest is No. 7. The girls also play a showcase game on Sunday against Gloucester Catholic at Eastern High School.
Visit the Raider Sports Diary for day-by-day results and schedule at http://www.oceancitysports.com/OCDiary.html.