By BRIAN CUNNIFF
NORTH WILDWOOD — The moment overwhelmed Marianna Papazoglou and her family.
During the middle of a signing ceremony to celebrate the Wildwood Catholic Academy senior basketball star signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Division I University of Pennsylvania, Papazoglou and her parents, Joe and Haroula Rotondi, broke down in tears of joy.
The rest of the event was filled with nothing but smiles, though.
Papazoglou, one of the all-time greats in Cape May County high school girls basketball history, made her college choice official in the Wildwood Catholic gymnasium Wednesday afternoon.
Dozens of teammates, coaches, family members, friends, classmates, teachers and administrators were on hand for the socially-distanced event.
Papazoglou, who verbally committed to the Ivy League school in the spring, enters her senior year with 1,512 career points after becoming the first basketball player in school history to surpass 1,000 points prior to the end of her sophomore season.
The 5-11 perimeter forward has averaged 21.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 4.1 steals over her first three high school seasons. More importantly, Wildwood Catholic has gone 60-22 over her three seasons in the program, including 45-11 over the past two.
Papazoglou, also a standout soccer player and a softball player at Wildwood Catholic, is set to join a Penn program that is one of the best in the Ivy League in recent years.
The Quakers, who play their home games in the famous Palestra, went 20-7 overall and finished second in the regular season in the Ivy League last season. The conference tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Penn also went 24-7 overall and lost in the Ivy League title game in 2018-19.
Penn is coached by Mike McLaughlin. One of his assistant coaches, Stephanie Carideo, is a graduate of Lower Cape May.