By BRIAN CUNNIFF
NORTH WILDWOOD – For the Wildwood Catholic Academy boys basketball team, the best remedy to a lopsided defeat was to get back out on the court and play another game right away.
One day after a humiliating 50-point loss to Camden Catholic at the Seagull Classic, the Crusaders pulled away from local rival Cape May Tech in the second half for a 63-49 victory Monday evening.
“It was probably the best thing, to get right back on the court and play,” Wildwood Catholic coach Anthony Raffa Raffa said. “It was good to kind of put it behind us and move on. We definitely played much better, especially in the second half.”
Wildwood Catholic (4-4) led for most of the game but didn’t gain control for good until early in the fourth quarter as Dylan Delvecchio (23 points) and Patrick Bean (20 points) helped keep the Hawks close.
But a big fourth-quarter from Rashee Bell, who scored nine of his 12 points in the period, and a defensive effort that held Cape May Tech (0-5) to three field goals in the final quarter allowed the Crusaders to pull away.
While Delvecchio and Bean combined for all but six of Tech’s points, Wildwood Catholic enjoyed much more scoring balance. In addition to Bell, Azmir Kates and Justin Harper also each reached double figures with 15 and 14 points, respectively, with Landen Hart adding eight points and Manny Weaver chipping in seven points.
“That’s what we’re striving for, to get a lot of guys scoring,” Raffa said. “When you have that balance it makes everyone feel like they’re involved and it makes everyone feel like they’re going to get their opportunities.”
Wildwood Catholic grabbed the momentum at the end of the first half. Kates hit a foul-line jump shot with five seconds to go before Weaver stole the in-bound pass and knocked down a 17-foot jumper as time expired to give Wildwood Catholic a 24-19 lead.
Cape May Tech twice closed to within three points in the third quarter, but back-to-back baskets by Kates and a pair of three-pointers by Hart allowed Wildwood Catholic to extend its lead to six going into the final period.
The Crusaders then held Tech scoreless for the first 2 ½ minutes of the fourth quarter in ballooning their lead to double digits.
Tech’s Delvecchio exited the game 15 points shy of 1,000 for his career. The Hawks host Buena Tuesday.