By LESLEY GRAHAM
The Ocean City girls basketball team went to the wire with visiting Middle Township in a tight 46-43 loss Friday night.
The loss brings the Red Raiders record to an even 4-4 on the early season, while Middle Township improved to 4-4.
Sophomore Hannah Cappelletti led the way for Ocean City with 12 points, all coming from three-pointers. Senior Marin Panico added 10 points, with five fellow Raiders contributing to the stat sheet.
Ocean City got out to a hot start in the opening quarter of play, dominating the Panthers with quick ball movement, finding the open player and keeping Middle Township on its heels.
The Raiders jumped out to a quick 15-6 lead heading into the second quarter of play. The Raiders continued their strong offensive effort into the second quarter of play, this time outscoring the Panthers 8-7, extending their lead 23-13 going into the locker room at half time.
The third quarter proved to be the undoing of the Raiders as the Panthers came roaring back with 15 points in eight minutes of play, while Ocean City was only able to deposit seven points.
Midway through the third, both teams were tied at 23, but the Panthers put in a final layup to give them a two-point lead heading into the fourth and final quarter of play.
Ocean City was held scoreless for the first four minutes of the half, but they were not about to give up the fight.
The Raiders were down eight, but two quick threes from Hannah Cappelletti started the comeback for Ocean City. The Raiders trailed by only three points with under one minute to play.
The Raiders attempted to foul Middle Township for opportunities to get the ball back, but the Panthers were clutch with their free throws down the stretch, resulting in the three-point loss for Ocean City.
Ocean City Head Coach Mike Cappelletti was proud of the effort his team put on the floor Friday night.
“We played quality basketball tonight, but things didn’t go our way at the start of the third quarter. Unfortunately, some shots fell their way and not ours and it resulted in a loss,” Cappelletti said post game.
Even though the Raiders came out on the wrong side of the win column, Cappelletti told his team their effort and fight were unmatched.
“We control the things we can control, which is always attitude and effort, and the team did just that tonight,” he said.
The Raiders will be back in action on Tuesday at home against Atlantic County Institute of Technology.