VIDEO: Top-seeded Wildwood hopes for long playoff run
February 27, 2022
WATCH LIVE: Girls basketball state playoffs – Overbrook at Middle Township
February 28, 2022

Crusaders look forward after loss in CAL title game


GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – The Wildwood Catholic High School girls basketball team enjoyed a taste of the big time when it competed against Mainland in the Cape-Atlantic League championship game Saturday at Absegami High School.

The Mustangs, favorites heading into the game, proved why they’re considered one of the top teams in the state. Their size, athleticism and skill proved too much for Wildwood Catholic to handle, the Crusaders suffering a 54-38 defeat.

Wildwood Catholic (21-5) particularly struggled in the opening half, making just five field goals and scoring only 12 points. The Crusaders surged at the start of the third quarter, going on an 8-2 run to cut a 24-12 halftime deficit to 26-20, but Mainland finished the period with a 13-5 spurt of its own to put the game away.

“I thought in the first half we were a little jittery,” Wildwood Catholic coach Steve DiPatri said. “I called a couple timeouts to try to settle us down but we really didn’t settle in until the third quarter. We made a nice little run at them, but it was just a little too late.

“Mainland is a very talented team. I wish them the best of luck. This was a good experience for our kids to get here.”

Kimmy Casiello scored 13 points and Carly Murphy added 11 points for Wildwood Catholic, which shot just 3 for 21 from three-point range.

The CAL title game appearance was the second in program history, the other coming in 2014.

Senior forward Kaitlyn Boggs shot 8 for 11 from the floor en route to a game-high 19 points for Mainland. She also grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds.

Wildwood Catholic now gets a chance to regroup. Thanks to a first-round bye, the Crusaders won’t play their first game in the South Jersey Non-Public B Tournament until Friday. No. 2 seed Wildwood Catholic will face the winner of a game between Timothy Christian and Calvary Christian. A win in that game sends the team into a sectional semifinal game.

DiPatri hopes the experience of competing against an elite team in a championship atmosphere only helps his group.

“Hopefully we’re playing in a bigger game on a bigger stage coming up,” DiPatri said. “Hopefully we can learn to get the butterflies to fly in the right formation so we can be successful.”