By TOM WILLIAMS
Both Ocean City High School basketball teams have advanced to the Final Four of the Cape-Atlantic League Tournaments.
The OCHS boys (19-3), seeded No. 6, surprised No. 3 Millville, 70-63, tonight with Joe Sacco’s career-high 23 points pacing three players in double figures.
And Danielle Donoghue led three OCHS girls in double figures as Paul Baruffi’s team (18-5), the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 7 Oakcrest, 49-36, in the Dixie Howell Memorial Gymnasium.
The boys, who moved into the CAL semi-finals for the first time, will face No. 2 seed St. Augustine Prep at 5pm on Wednesday at Absegami. In the second boys game at 7pm, top-seeded Wildwood Catholic will play No. 4 Pleasantville.
On Thursday, the Ocean City girls will play No. 6 Wildwood Catholic at 5pm followed by top-seeded Mainland against No. 4 Middle Township at 7pm. The girls semifinals will be played in the Paul Rodio Gymnasium at St. Augustine Prep. This will be the fifth straight year the OCHS girls have played in the semi-finals. Ocean City has also played in the last four CAL championship games, winning two.
The Raiders led from the start at Millville and used a 20-14 advantage in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Sacco made seven free throws in the final eight minutes and Gannon Brady scored six points in the fourth quarter.
Sacco’s 23 points were high in the game. Brady added 17 and Luke Varallo scored 16. Millville had six players in double figures, led by Rynell Lawrence with 12. Lawrence is Millville’s all-time career scoring leader with over 1,500 points.
In the other boys first round games, Wildwood Catholic (23-1) defeated Lower Cape May, 70-39, behind 24 points by Jahlil White and 20 by Taj Thweatt; St. Augustine (20-3) used 17 points by Charles Solomon to defeated Mainland. 70-54; and Pleasantville (17-6) outscored St. Joseph, 77-61, with Sahmir Jones scoring 20 points.
Donoghue hit one three-pointer while scoring her 15 points for the Ocean City girls. Savanna Holt scored 11, also hitting once from beyond the arc. Lauren Minsky added 10 and Tori Rolls eight.
In other girls semi-finals, Wildwood Catholic (21-3) upset Atlantic City, 48-47, on a free throw by Gabby Turco with six seconds left; Mainland (22-2) used 20 points by Kylee Watson to defeat Vineland, 69-30; and Middle Township (19-4) topped Atlantic Tech, 46-39, with Kira Sides scoring 19, including her 1,000th career point.
Visit the Raider Sports Diary for OCHS day-by-day results and schedule at http://www.oceancitysports.com/OCDiary.html.