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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

St. Joseph splits two games

THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. Shyla McLean (3) shoots over a Buena defender.

HAMMONTON—Playing its first Cape Atlantic League (CAL) game since February of 2021, St. Joseph Academy’s girls basketball team lost to Buena 37-30 last week.

Last year the Wildcats played a mostly junior varsity schedule as an independent program as it began a rebuilding process with only a few players on the roster. This year, the Wildcats returned to CAL play and began the season with a solid effort against Buena last week.

“I thought we played well. We did some good things on both ends of the court,” St. Joseph coach Ryan Staiger said.

Staiger is in his second season at St. Joe and has been impressed with his team’s progress this season.

“We’re a little more confident and beginning to understand things better,” Staiger said.

Against Buena last week, Cassidy Perri scored five points in the first quarter as the Wildcats trailed 10-9. St. Joe was able to tie the game at halftime, 14-14, but Buena used a 16-5 third-quarter run to take control of the matchup.

“We came out flat in the third quarter. I could kind of feel it at halftime, because we were working so hard and I think the girls may have been a little tired,” Staiger said.

Trailing 30-19, St Joe fought back in the fourth quarter, cutting Buena’s lead to six points with three minutes remaining in the game.

“We used pressure effectively to force some turnovers and create some good shots,” Staiger said.

Shyla McLean hit a 3-pointer in the final period and St. Joe converted 6-of-8 free throws to make the final score 37-30.

Perri led St. Joseph with 14 points and McLean added 13.

The next day, the Wildcats notched their first win of the year, topping Kings Christian 29-26.

The Wildcats trailed early, but led 15-13 at the half and held on for the win.

“We started a little slow, but hit some shots and played well defensively,” Staiger said.

Perri scored 16 points to lead all scorers and McLean added 10.

Earlier this week, St. Joe played at Bridgeton, but that game ended too late for this edition. The Wildcats are idle until after the holiday break.


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