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VIDEO: Crusaders fall in OT to South Jersey power EHT in opener


NORTH WILDWOOD – The Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team stood toe to toe for more than 32 minutes with one of South Jersey’s best in its season opener Thursday.

The Crusaders, however, after missing out on stealing the game at the buzzer of regulation, fell 66-63 in overtime to Egg Harbor Township, a team ranked among the 10 best in South Jersey in many preseason polls.

“I don’t want to play this like this is some kind of moral victory,” said Wildwood Catholic first-year coach Will Wareham. “I thought we’d be in the game. I didn’t have any doubt about that.”

Wildwood Catholic led 14-9 after the first quarter but Egg Harbor Township used a 20-10 edge in the second quarter before scoring the first eight points of the third to take its largest lead at 13 points.

Wildwood Catholic chipped away over the remainder of regulation and took its first lead of the second half at 54-53 on a floater by Patrick Bean with 13 seconds remaining. But EHT’s D.J. Germann was fouled with 6.8 seconds to go and made one of two shots to tie.

Wildwood Catholic nearly won it at the buzzer but Tayshaun Jackson’s three-point attempt rimmed out.

Egg Harbor Township never trailed in overtime. Jay-Nelly Reyes scored six of his 13 points in the extra period. Germann had four of his game-high 28 points in overtime.

Wildwood Catholic’s Jah Walker had a long three-point attempt blocked at the buzzer of overtime as the Eagles escaped.

“I knew they would speed us up because that’s the style of play they have,” Wareham said. “I was hoping we would’ve handled that a little better than we did. At the end of the day that’s the difference in the game. We turned the ball over too many times.”

Justin Harper led the Crusaders with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Jackson (14), Walker (13) and Azmir Kates (11) also each scored in double figures in the loss.

Wildwood Catholic’s next game comes Saturday against Millville, another team ranked in the Top 10 in South Jersey in preseason media polls, at a showcase event at Ocean City High School.

“I’m excited for it,” Wareham said. “I don’t want to play a schedule that’s not like that. It’s hard enough to get high school guys to focus as it is, so at least we can show them that, ‘Hey, this team is really good so you have to lock in.’ I’m hoping we have a little extra pep in our step for Millville on Saturday. I’m excited to get back to work (Friday) and get up there and play.”