Going into the game, Ocean City girls’ basketball head coach Paul Baruffi wanted to see two things from his team.
“We need to play defense, and we need to make shots,” said Baruffi.
The girls did just that by annihilating the Woodrow Wilson Lady Tigers, 55-38.
Though Woodrow Wilson jumped to an early 5-0 lead, Ocean City maintained a smart, disciplined zone defense which the Lady Tigers struggled to penetrate for the rest of the game.
“We played a matchup zone,” said Baruffi. “We’ve been in and out over the year. We try not to give them an open look down the lane.”
Ocean City ended the first period with a 14-4 run.
Toward the end of the second period, Woodrow Wilson attempted to build some momentum off a fast break, which ended in a series of scrambling offensive rebounds.
After they finally managed to make the layup, they were too worn out to do anything about the 17 point deficit.
Wilson’s treacherous trio of Sharice Maynard, Chanelle Perry and Kamari Tally usually average about 20 points a game for each player.
Ocean City held them to 10, 10 and 12 points, respectively.
“We showed ourselves by taking the charges,” said Ocean City’s Julia Duggan. “We had to stay on the shooter, and we accomplished that.”
While Ocean City maintained its defense, Duggan and Reilly Larkin led a strong offensive effort in which they eventually finished with 22 and 12 points, respectively.
Duggan played a solid game inside the paint, while Larkin kept Wilson’s defense spread out by hitting the jumpers.
Julia’s sister, Emily Duggan, finished with nine points and Katie Johnson added six.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Woodrow Wilson was killing itself with 15 turnovers to Ocean City’s five.
Ocean City’s biggest lead of 28 points was toward the end of the fourth quarter, 52-24. No matter what kind of momentum Woodrow Wilson would try to muster, it ended up being stopped by a buzzer or a timeout from Ocean City’s coach Paul Baruffi.
Ocean City gave the bench some playing time and tried to slow the game down. Since there’s no shot clock in high school, the Red Raiders became less focused on scoring and more focused on passing the ball which led to some turnovers.
With these turnovers, Wilson attempted to take advantage and put together a last minute assault, but it was not enough to catch up from the deficit.
The Raider girls were elated. “This was the one we lost last year,” said Julia Duggan. “It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling.”
The Red Raiders will return to their home court on Monday face Moorestown.
“They’re a big, disciplined team,” said coach Baruffi, who knows not to take his opponents lightly. “Moorestown started off as the 14th seed, but they’ve beaten three teams in the playoffs, which completes a six-game winning streak,” Baruffi said.
The showdown takes place on 6th and Atlantic avenues in Ocean City on Monday at 6 p.m.