By TOM WILLIAMS
It was 21 years ago this month when Ocean City High School’s boys basketball team stunned Middle Township, 76-73, in overtime to win the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 championship.
John Bruno’s Raiders had lost to Tom Feraco’s Panthers by 21 points just 13 days earlier. But they put it all together in the championship game at Eastern.
Ocean City had defeated Lower Cape May, Central Regional and Lakewood to reach the South Jersey final. Gil Ferrari, a 6-4 Exchange student from Brazil, scored more than 20 points in three of Ocean City’s tournament games that year, still the only OCHS player to ever do that in one NJSIAA tournament. In the South Jersey final, however, he struggled with foul trouble and scored six before fouling out.
Mike Rowell, who set a new school career scoring record that year that still stands, scored 27 in the win over Middle. Eric Dolton scored 17 off the bench, including four three-pointers. Jay Granger, Jay Toscano, Bryan DiDonato and Mike McAlarnen all contributed.
And, lest we forget, Ryan Reich had 14 points in the game, including a three-pointer from about 35 feet that sent the game into overtime.
When you watch the video you will see a much younger Bruno (and a much younger Feraco, for that matter) plus brief glances of people like Jack Boyd and Charlie Wood, who are no longer alive.
It was a big day in OCHS history – March 8, 1999.