By Lesley Graham
In the first game of the new year, the Ocean City High School girls’ basketball team came out strong against Holy Spirit, defeating the Spartans 53-17.
Danielle Donoghue, a senior for Ocean City, led all scorers with 15 points.
The starting five for the Red Raiders included Donoghue, Savanna Holt, Tori Rolls, Emma Finnegan and Molly Hoffman.
Returning from a winter break that included a trip to Florida, where the Red Raiders played three games, going 2-1, the team was a bit slow out of the gate.
“We started a little sluggish,” said Head Coach Paul Baruffi, whose team is now 5-2.
In the opening quarter, Ocean City struggled to find a rhythm with its shooting. The first points of the game were scored on two free throws by Donoghue.
There was a bit of back and forth action, including turnovers on both ends of the court, before Ocean City was able to make some shots, leading 14-5 at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, the Red Raiders picked up their defense, creating more turnover opportunities and taking control of the game.
With just seconds left in the first half, Finnegan had a strong offensive rebound and bucket, putting the Red Raiders up by 20. Ocean City took a 27-7 lead heading into the locker room at half time.
Holy Spirit was unable to climb back into the game due to the hot shooting hands and stifling defense of Ocean City, which continued its dominance in the second half.
“We came out in the second half better, the ball moved better and we had some better looks,” Baruffi said. “We go as our shooters go.”
Ocean City held the Spartans scoreless in the fourth quarter, all while seeing quality minutes played from a deep bench.
“Once everybody got into a groove, everyone did some good things,” said Baruffi, who was particularly pleased with Abbey Fenton’s efforts off the bench.
Fenton, a junior, contributed 10 points on the evening.
This season Ocean City faces tough competition within the Cape-Atlantic Conference, with Mainland being the team to beat. Ocean City’s non-conference schedule also includes strong opponents in Camden Catholic, Lenape and Manchester Township.
Baruffi is looking forward to the team progressing this season.
“We are going to have our challenges within the conference and outside and we have to keep working,” he said.
The Red Raiders will be back in action on Saturday in a non-conference game against Lenape.