MOORESTOWN (N.J.) - David Gheysens was in eighth grade when the Moorestown High School basketball team won its last sectional and state title in 2019.
Four years later, it was his turn.
The clock struck zero for Cinderella as Ocean City fell to the fourth-seeded Quakers, 52-44, in the South Jersey Group 3 final on Monday night.
"It's great that we got here and got the job done at this level," Gheysens said. "We haven't been here since the 2019 team won it all.
"We weren't going home empty-handed. We knew what we wanted to do, and it was win."
David Gheysens powered Moorestown past Ocean City with a team-high 12 points in a 52-44 win in the South Jersey Group 3 final at Moorestown High School on Monday, February 27, 2023. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
Moorestown reached its first sectional final since 2019 after it stunned top-seeded Mainland with a buzzer beater courtesy of Josh Byrd last Friday. The 10th-seeded Red Raiders upset Timber Creek before earning a pair of victories against Clearview and Absegami to reach the championship round.
Gheysens opened the game with a 3-pointer which opened the floodgates for the Quakers' offense. Moorestown would never trail after Gheysens' triple. The Quakers' lead never dipped lower than six points after their offensive explosion in the first half that led to a 13-point advantage at halftime.
Gheysens led Moorestown with a team-high 12 points in a team effort in which six of the 11 players that charted minutes for the Quakers notched at least six points. John Cwik added nine and Byrd tallied seven.
Kori Segich tallied a game-high 23 points for Ocean City including three 3-pointers to rally his team in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
Moorestown coach Shawn Anstey has seen a few different teams since the program's state championship run a few years ago. This year's group has its own identity.
"This team is really special," Anstey said. "They're a different kind of group compared to the state title team in 2019. These guys just gel so well together and that makes championships like this mean so much more."
Ocean City had won seven out of its last eight contests prior to Monday night's setback. The Red Raiders finished their campaign with a 15-13 record and were sectional finalists for the first time since 2004.
"Anytime you make a sectional final, you had a heck of a season," Ocean City coach John Bruno said. "I don't care what anyone's record is, you have the right to say you were a South Jersey finalist."
The Red Raiders' underdog journey was plagued with injuries. Segich missed 10 games. Sean Sakers and Patrick Grimley combined to miss six games. Ocean City still found a way.
"We had some injuries throughout the course of the year which messed with the chemistry and familiarity a bit," Bruno said. "We haven't had our team at full strength until the past few games, but today they were just better than us."
The Quakers improved their record to 23-7 and advance to play Central Jersey Group 3 champion Nottingham in the Group 3 state semifinals at Brick Memorial High School on Wednesday at 7 pm.