It’s not a question of whether the Wildwood High School boys basketball team improved this season, but rather to what degree did they grow as individuals and as a team.
The answer is that they grew substantially and improved dramatically on the court.
The Warriors opened their season with a lopsided road loss Dec. 20, 2019, to Woodstown, a team they would face again. After the first six games, they had a 3-3 record.
In the new year, Wildwood's season went skyward with a six-game win streak Jan. 7-21. They suffered a few setbacks, but rebounded for another win streak, at nine games, between Jan. 30-Feb. 21.
The Warriors finished their season 20-9 and were crowned champions of the Tri-County Conference Classic Division.
“Our second Woodstown contest (a win in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group I Sectional Tournament), in particular, stands out in our season,’’ head coach Scott McCracken said. “We were blown out the first time around, and then in the second round of the South Jersey playoffs, we beat them, 101-82.
“The second Woodstown game and our away game at Gloucester Catholic (a 66-65 victory Jan. 21) were definitely our most impressive wins for our kids and our program. It is tough going into someone else’s gym, especially Gloucester Catholic, with their huge fan base, and pulling out a win. We showed resilience, poise and confidence, and our will to win.’’
Leadership was pivotal in Wildwood's success, as well as player durability.
“Diante Miles and Seamus Fynes really stood out for us this year, not only as scorers, but leaders,’’ McCracken said. “We also had senior leadership from Max McGrath and Karl Brown.’’
Several Wildwood players made noteworthy progress throughout the season.
“Ernie Troiano did not start out as a starter but earned his starting point guard spot as the season went on,’’ McCracken said. “Miguel Claudio also gave us solid defensive minutes as the season went on.’’
ED. NOTE: Wildwood entered the South Jersey Group I Sectional Tournament, as the No.6 seed, and defeated No. 11 seed Cape May Tech and third-seeded Woodstown before losing to second-seeded Penns Grove, the eventual sectional champions.