A quarter of a century ago the Prime Events Girls Shootout began in Egg Harbor Township. It has continued for 25 years, moving to the Ventnor Complex to Holy Spirit and. last year, to Ocean City.
Through the years what is now The 97.3-ESPN Shootout has featured 18 players who later played in the WNBA, seven who played on NCAA champions and six who won Olympic Gold. Today Mainland’s 6-4 senior Kylee Watson became the 10th player to play in The Shootout to be selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Watson, who might be playing in the Dixie Howell Memorial Gymnasium for the last time on Sunday night, was one of three girls from this year’s Shootout to be nominated for the McDonald’s game. The others were 5-11 Bella Runyon of Moorestown Friends and 5-8 Ciani Redd-Howard of Atlantic City.
Watson and her teammates will play Ocean City in the final game of The 97.3-ESPN Shootout Sunday night. The two teams are both undefeated in the Cape-Atlantic League’s National Conference and are currently two of the top four teams in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 power ratings. So, Sunday’s game holds a great deal of importance.
Fans are encouraged to get to the Dixie Howell Gym early on Sunday. Last season nearly 200 people were turned away when the gym reached maximum capacity. And there are some good games before the Ocean City-Mainland finale.
Right before, at 5:15 on Sunday, two veteran and highly-successful coaches will match up when Steve DiPatri’s Wildwood Catholic team will take on Red Bank Regional, coached by John Truhan and currently ranked 14th in the state.
Sunday begins at noon with Cedar Creek against Hammonton. At 1:45, Runyon, daughter of former Eagles’ lineman Jon Runyon and committed to Villanova, will lead Moorestown Friends against always-tough Ewing. And, at 3:30, Absegami will take on Camden Tech.
Saturday begins with Holy Spirit facing Egg Harbor Township in a CAL crossover game. At 1:45 on Saturday, two very young teams with only two seniors between them – Vineland and Howell – will play. The 3:30 game pairs Atlantic Tech with Gloucester Catholic and, at 5:15 on Saturday, Our Lady of Mercy will meet Wildwood in a game between two teams that been having good seasons.
The final game on Saturday (7pm) features Redd-Howard and her Atlantic City teammates against Westampton Tech, the defending Central Jersey Group 3 champions.
Fans can watch all five games in a day at the 97.3-ESPN Shootout for $7.00, with special family packages. Portions of the proceeds will again benefit the Edythe T. Selvagn Scholarship Fund.
In addition to 97.3-ESPN, New Jersey’s top sports radio station, The Shootout is also sponsored by Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, the Ocean City Free Public Library, Calvi Electric, Sack O Subs, Schoppy’s, DiOrio’s, the Ocean City Firefighters, Sheriff Robert A. Nolan, the City of Ocean City and Buddy Tarbotton (The Real Estate Coach).