Red Raiders Have High Expectations in Girls' Basketball
Ocean City looks to repeat as sectional champs and contend for state title.
What can the Ocean City High School girls' basketball team do for an encore?
The Red Raiders were among the best teams in South Jersey, winning the
Group III South championship last season.
Ocean City, which returns most of last year’s team, plans on at least
matching last year’s success with hopes to go further in the state playoffs.
Red Raiders coach Paul Baruffi is going to make sure his squad is
battle-tested to make that deep run in the spring, adding a slew of games
against quality teams.
“I think we are going to be as good as last year if not a little better,”
Baruffi said. “We definitely upped the out-of-conference competition as far as the schedule. At the end of the year, we don’t know if we will have the same record or close to the same record, but we definitely will be tested.”
Another benefit from the tougher schedule is that the Red Raiders won’t be
in danger of taking any games for granted or coasting through the regular
season, then trying to turn it on when it’s time for the playoffs.
Ocean City’s schedule includes Willingboro, which it beat last weekend, Washington Township, Berks Catholic (Pa.), Trenton Central and Curtis (N.Y.).
“I think that can easily happen and (tougher schedule) keeps them on your
toes,” Baruffi said. “It’s important that they go up against that competition.”
So far, the Red Raiders have met the challenge, starting out 3-0, including
a 43-37 overtime win over Willingboro during Tip-Off Weekend in Ocean City.
The Red Raiders overcame a halftime deficit to force overtime, where they
outscored Willingboro, 8-2. Ocean City center Julia Duggan, a senior, led all scorers with 15 points.
Duggan, who is a dominant force in the paint, but can also handle the ball
and run the floor well, leads the way on both ends of the court.
“Julia has improved her game,” Baruffi said. “She has a number of (NCAA)
Division I schools looking at her.”
Also returning are Emily Gillian, who is a solid frontcourt player, and guards Reilly Larkin, Emily Duggan and Katie Johnson.
“Either one can bring the ball up,” Baruffi said of his guards. “Actually
it’s nice with this team we have many girls who will push the ball up. We feel pretty confident if any of those five get the outlet and take the up the floor.
Natalie Landi and Sam Robinson give the Red Raiders talent off the bench.
“I just want us to come out every night and compete as hard as possible,”
Baruffi said. “If we do that things will take care of themselves.”