HOOP NOTES: Gannon Brady, Noel Gonzalez & more ….

By TOM WILLIAMS

The high school basketball season is over in New Jersey and the final few days were exciting for Ocean City senior Gannon Brady.

First of all, on Friday he scored some key points down the stretch – coupled with an important three-pointer by Ben Hoag and two tense free throws by Brady Rauner – to earn a 59-56 comeback win over Lower Cape May, the only team to beat the Raiders this year. The win brought the final record to 8-1 and likely clinched the East Conference championship in the Cape-Atlantic League.

Brady finished the game with 37 points and finished the season averaging 28.6 points per game. That is a new school record, breaking the mark of 28.4 by Derrick Yeoman 30 years ago. Don’t feel bad for Derrick, though, he still holds eight other scoring records three decades after he graduated.

But there is more.

Brady is the Cape-Atlantic League scoring champion for the second straight year, something no basketball player at OCHS has ever done. Only six other Ocean City players have ever led the league in scoring – the boys were Matt Bosch (2012), LaQue Lee (1995), Yeoman (1991) and Gary Satrappe (1961). And the girls were Lisa Foglio (1979) and Diane Snow (1975).

Brady is the 10th boys player to win consecutive CAL scoring titles, joining Vineland’s D.J. Campbell, St. Augustine’s Sa’eed Nelson, Egg Harbor Township’s Terence Ward, Middle Township’s LaMarr Greer, Middle Township’s Rick Harmon, Atlantic City’s Walt Montford, Mainland’s Skip Casrtaldi, Satrappe (who did it one year for the Raiders and the next for Mainland) and Tim Burns of St. Joseph, the only one to do it three straight years.

Brady (28.6) won the scoring battle with Noel Gonzalez of Pleasantville (23.6) with Marcus Pierce of St. Joseph Academy (22.1), Carlos Lopez of Egg Harbor Township (21.9) and Matt Delaney of St. Augustine (19.1) right behind. Brady and Gonzalez were supposed to face each other last week in a crossover game on the original schedule but the game was lost in the scrambled COVID-19 schedule.

Brady and Gonzalez, who both passed the 1,000-point career mark this season, have one other thing in common. They were the two players honored last week by the Carino Basketball Club of South Jersey. The club is recognizing two players from each league or conference over a three-week period. Matt Delaney and Marcus Pierce were selected the week before and two more will be named later this week.

Gonzalez, who played at St. Joseph his freshman year, also makes history because his father scored more than 1,000 points playing for Ken Leary at Pleasantville. It is believed that only four other father-son combos have each scored 1,000 in CAL history – the Leahys at Wildwood Catholic, the Burrells at Oakcrest, Antwan Dozier and his son, Sahmir Jones, at Pleasantville, and Pat Holden at Lower Cape May, who actually had a son and daughter also score over 1,000.

And there is still more.

Based on available records, Brady finished the season as the leading scorer in South Jersey. His 28.6 edged out the 27.3 average of Austin Green of Timber Creek. Wildwood’s team helped Brady out by holding Green to 14 points in the Tri-County Tournament semi-finals, his lowest output of the season.

Brady becomes the sixth CAL player to lead South Jersey scoring in the last 50 years. The others were D.J. Campbell, Anthony Raffa of Wildwood Catholic, LaMarr Greer, Rick Harmon and Reggie Miller of Pleasantville.

As far as basketball championships are concerned, its pretty clear the EHT boys won the North Conference and St. Augustine tied with St. Joseph in the West. Ocean City is the logical choice in the East, though an argument could be made for a co-championship with Atlantic City. By the way, Holy Spirit finished second to EHT in the North so, according to a new CAL regulation, the Spartans will be awarded the Non-Public championship of the North Conference. The CAL boys standings are HERE.

Among the girls, Middle Township would win the East, Absegami the North and Vineland would share the West Conference title with Our Lady of Mercy. Check out the final girls standings HERE.

One final note. Like most schools, Ocean City had life-size photos of people arranged throughout the bleachers in the virtually empty Dixie Howell Memorial Gym. Parents, alumni, siblings – even pets – were included.

But a special one was former coach and South Jersey Hall of Famer, the late Jack Boyd.

In fact, John Bruno generally took that large photo with him to away games. It should be noted that the Raiders were undefeated with Boyd on hand.

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