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Mainland upends Ninth Street Bridge rival Ocean City to reach second Cape-Atlantic League Tournament final in three years

Cohen Cook scored a team-high 18 points in Mainland's 55-50 win over Ocean City in the Cape-Atlantic League Tournament semifinal basketball game played at Millville High School in Millville, New Jersey on Wednesday, February 14, 2024. Kevin Emmons/South Jersey Sports Zone

MILLVILLE - The members of the Mainland Regional High School boys' basketball team didn't forget about their 59-52 loss to Cape-Atlantic League rival Ocean City on January 29.

The two rivals separated by only the Great Egg Harbor Bay and Rainbow Channel also met on the gridiron in September. The Mustangs rolled to a 35-0 victory to recapture the Battle for the Bridge trophy.

The significance?

Four out of Mainland's five starters were members of the school's football team that also won the Group 4 state title and became the first South Jersey program to finish with a 14-0 record. The quartet defeated their arch nemesis on the football field and needed to follow up on the hardwood.

Mainland earned its redemption.

The third-seeded Mustangs rallied past second-seeded Ocean City, 55-50, in the Cape-Atlantic League Tournament semifinals at Millville High School on Wednesday night. Mainland will play top-seeded Middle Township in the CAL Tournament final at Egg Harbor Township High School on Saturday at 12 pm.

"The last game against Ocean City, we felt that we didn't play as physical as we usually do," Mainland senior Cohen Cook said. "We knew we had to come out and be the more physical team this game and we got it done.

"They got us earlier in the season. We were hungry for the matchup. We were really excited that we were able to play them again. It's just awesome and really exciting to be able to beat them this time."

The New Hampshire football commit finished with a team-high 18 points, five assists, five rebounds, a block and a steal. Tim Travagline added 15 points and four rebounds in the triumph.

The Red Raiders jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter after Kori Segich scored eight unanswered points. Cook picked up two early fouls for Mainland and sat for a chunk of the period. Patrick Grimley drained a free throw to give Ocean City an 11-4 advantage with 43 seconds left in the quarter before Rocco DeBiaso responded with a basket for the Mustangs.

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