VIDEO: Middle freshman’s late basket sinks Wildwood Catholic
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VIDEO: Early blitz leads to comfortable victory for Crusaders


NORTH WILDWOOD – The players on the Wildwood Catholic Academy girls basketball team were more than ready for their home opener on Tuesday.

The Crusaders blitzed Hammonton with a 16-0 run to start the game and eventually cruised to a 69-43 victory in a Cape-Atlantic United Conference contest.

The win came three days after Wildwood Catholic suffered a 47-35 loss to Hudson Catholic at a showcase event in Central Jersey.

“Our trip up north last weekend was good not only for us to play a good team but also to see how intense North Jersey teams put pressure on the ball,” Wildwood Catholic coach Steve DiPatri said. “We focused on that the last two days of practice and you saw the result out here on the floor.”

Wildwood Catholic forced six Hammonton turnovers over the game’s first four minutes. The Crusaders also made six of their first seven shots from the floor in taking control of the game right from the start.

Senior guard Kimmy Casiello played a wonderful first home game of the season, shooting 7 for 12 from the floor in scoring 19 points to go along with nine assists, five rebounds and three steals.

“She plays the game the right way and she’s become quite the floor general for us,” DiPatri said. “Her leadership, along with Carly Murphy’s, has been invaluable to these young kids we have.”

Sophomore Kaci Mikulski scored a game-high 21 points, also on efficient shooting. She made 9 of 17 shots from the floor. Her three-pointer at the buzzer of the third quarter gave the Crusaders a 58-30 lead.

Wildwood Catholic made 13 of its first 22 shots from the field and led by 30-9 at one point in the first half.

Wildwood Catholic had 17 assists and 15 steals in the win.

“We share the ball,” DiPatri said. “The kids really like each other and that makes it a lot of fun to coach and a lot of fun for the kids.”

Wildwood Catholic (2-1) is set to face Lower Cape May Thursday afternoon.

“Every win is a good win, but we want to get better every day,” DiPatri said. “I still feel like we’re a little bit behind at this point after losing all of our scrimmages (due to Covid issues). We just need to keep getting better every day.”

Star forward Emma Peretti led Hammonton with 16 points and 22 rebounds but shot just 7 for 21 from the floor.