By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Lower Cape May Regional High School boys basketball team finally found itself on the winning side of a close game.
The Caper Tigers, who’ve lost nine games by six points or less this season, used a big late basket by a freshman and made critical shots from the free-throw line to hold off Cape May Tech, 60-56, Monday.
Senior guard Damyon Bencievengo made 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter, including a pair with six seconds to play that iced the game for Lower Cape May (7-10).
“With all those close ones we’ve lost, it certainly is nice to walk out of here a winner,” Lower coach Scott Holden said.
Benceivengo also made two free throws to tie the score with 1:40 to play after Cape May Tech had gone on a 9-0 run to take a 55-53 lead. Lower Cape May freshman Archie Lawler then rebounded the miss of a Tech shot and dribbled the length of the floor for a layup that gave Lower the lead for good at 57-55 with 59 seconds to go.
“That was the biggest play for us when he went coast to coast,” Holden said. “He got a big rebound and went hard all the way to the rim. In a pressure game, to see a ninth-grader do that, I think it really shows what kind of mental toughness he has.”
After Tech’s Dylan Delvecchio made a foul shot with 48 seconds left, Lower’s Jordan Pierce made 1 of 2 from the line with seven seconds remaining. Bencievengo pounced on the miss of the second free throw that was just the fourth offensive rebound of the game for his team and calmly went to the line and made two to secure the win.
Lawler poured in 25 points to lead Lower. He made five three-pointers. Bencievengo added 13 and Pierce was also in double figures with 11.
Lower Cape May shot 11 for 23 from the three-point line.
Pennington had a monster game in the loss, scoring 10 points, securing 19 rebounds and blocking six shots. He scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, two of which came on a driving layup that gave the Hawks (8-9) their brief two-point lead with under two minutes to play.
Delvecchio scored 15 points and Devon Roach added 12 for Tech.
The Hawks hurt themselves with 17 turnovers. Lower Cape May turned it over just six times.