VIDEO: Deeper Wildwood team poised to make strong run
December 16, 2021
VIDEO: Lower ready to battle with mix of experience, talented newcomers
December 17, 2021

VIDEO: Younger Wildwood team out to prove it can still win its share of games

Seniors Ernie Troiano IV (left), Dom Troiano and Josh Vallese lead the Wildwood High School boys basketball team into the season.


Back in March, Wildwood High School’s team garnered a lot of attention from across the South Jersey boys basketball community.

With no postseason for every team in South Jersey except those in the Tri-County Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Warriors took advantage of the opportunity and won the inaugural TCC Tournament.

They finished the season 14-1, winning their final 14 games after a two-point road loss to Penns Grove on opening night. Even though it was a shortened season, it was one of the program’s most rewarding in recent years.

As the team embarks on the new season, which begins Friday with a home game against Penns Grove, a new identity must be found as six players from last year’s team are gone. They took with them about 90 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding totals from last season.

But head coach Scott McCracken likes to think his program is in a good place for a small school and won’t call this a rebuilding season.

“We’re well aware of what we’ve lost – a lot of scoring and a lot of rebounding,” said McCracken (13th season, 169-114 career). “But we still think we can win games. We still think we can compete in our division.”

Part of the reason for McCracken’s optimism stems from the fact that, despite the loss of so many players, there are two returning starters in senior Ernie Troiano IV (5-11 G) and sophomore Junior Hans (5-11 G). Troiano has been a starter since his sophomore season, while Hans showed his potential as one of Cape May County’s most productive freshmen last season by averaging close to 10 points per game.

“With Ernie and Junior, we’re going to need those two to score the ball,” McCracken said.

The rest of the team is mostly inexperienced at the varsity level. Others in the rotation include seniors Dom Troiano (6-2 F) and Josh Vallese (6-1 F) and sophomores Ryan Troiano (5-8 G), Jordan Fusik (5-7 G), Lance Lillo (6-2 F) and Harley Buscham 5-11 (G/F).

Wildwood will look to use its team speed to make up for a lack of height and overall experience.

“We’re going to have to defend and rebound as a group,” McCracken said. “We all know what we’ve lost from last year but I like our group.”

McCracken is assisted by Rip Engel, Rich Hans, Tim Mahon, Joe Murray and Jon Greene.