By BRIAN CUNNIFF
WILDWOOD — The Wildwood High School boys basketball team earned one of its most thrilling regular-season victories in recent memory Thursday at the Boardwalk Basketball Classic.
Down by 13 points with less than four minutes to play in regulation, Wildwood rallied to force overtime before posting a 63-62 victory over Lower Cape May in the Ernie Troiano Sr. Memorial Boys Showcase Game.
Ernie Troiano IV, playing in the showcase game named after his great grandfather, canned a left-wing three-pointer with 47 seconds to play in overtime to give Wildwood its first lead since early in the second quarter at 62-60. Troiano later made a free throw to up the Warrior lead to three points.
Lower Cape May’s Archie Lawler tipped in the miss of a three-point shot with two seconds to play. Lower was out of timeouts, however, and the clock ran out without Wildwood having to inbound the ball.
A pair of free throws by Tom Gault gave Lower Cape May a 51-38 lead with 4:16 to play.
Lower still led by 12 with 2:06 to play when the Warriors began a hellacious run. After Wildwood’s Karl Brown scored, teammates Diante Miles and Seamus Fynes quickly scored after consecutive Lower Cape May turnovers against the Warrior press. Miles scored again after a Lower Cape May miss, and suddenly the Warriors were within four with more than a minute to play.
Miles made a three-pointer with 55 seconds left to cut Lower’s lead to one. After a Gault foul shot, Miles put back his own miss to tie the game with four seconds to go, forcing overtime.
A Damyon Bencievengo free throw gave Lower the early lead in overtime, until Troiano scored the only field goal by either team in the extra period with his three-pointer with 47 seconds to go. Wildwood never trailed again.
Fynes led Wildwood (2-1) with 18 points before fouling out late in regulation. Miles added 11 and seven assists and Troiano chipped in 10 points.
Gault made 7 of 9 shots from the field and finished with a game-high 24 points and also had eight rebounds for Lower (1-1). Lawler (12), Bencievengo (12) and Jacob Bey (10) also each scored in double figures in the loss.