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Freshman Madelynn Bernhardt scores 20, eighth-ranked OLMA defeats No. 5 Vineland
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Freshman Madelynn Bernhardt scores 20, eighth-ranked OLMA defeats No. 5 Vineland

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VINELAND — The Our Lady of Mercy Academy basketball team implemented a new and unique system this season.

Basically, it involves a lot of rotation with starters and the bench. The Villagers aim to sub every 45 seconds to a minute and shoot within 12 seconds when on offense.

That fast way of playing has been successful.

“It’s an entirely different way of playing,” OLMA coach Tom McNelia said. “It’s not something you’ll see much in basketball around here.”

Madelynn Bernhardt scored a game-high 20 points to lead OLMA to a 75-37 victory over previously undefeated Vineland in a Cape-Atlantic League West Division game Saturday.

The Villagers (7-1) are ranked No. 8 in The Press Elite 11. The Fighting Clan (7-1) are No. 5. Vineland won the teams’ first meeting of the season 53-41 on Feb. 6.

“Because of the system that we are doing, I think that it is easy to get a bunch of shots off, and that’s what I like to do,” Bernhardt said. “I think it just worked really well (Saturday).”

Twelve OLMA players scored.

“We go through a lot of shifts, so you have to work really fast,” Bernhardt said. “Personally, for me, I know I’m only in for 45 seconds, so I want to do the best I can.”

Bernhardt is a freshman guard for the Villagers. But she looked as if she has played varsity for years, sinking three 3-pointers and going 3 for 3 from the free-throw line.

Eight of her points came in the second quarter to help OLMA take a 49-25 halftime lead. OLMA led 21-13 after the first quarter and 66-37 after three.

“I just come in not nervous, and once I make one basket or one 3, (the rest) just kind of comes,” said Bernhardt, 14, of Milmay. “It’s just exciting, and we lost to (Vineland) last time, so it was really important we all made contributions.”

Vineland committed a lot of fouls and had none left to give by the second quarter, sending a lot of Villagers to the line. OLMA scored 21 points on foul shots.

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Vineland coach Will Breese noted that his team had never been in that much foul trouble all season. The Fighting Clan roster includes only one senior, Jinelys Alvarez.

Junior guard Skylar Fowlkes and sophomore guard Egypt Owens each led Vineland with eight points. Sophomore guard Samantha Jones scored seven.

“I told them that, look, sometimes you lose a game,” Breese said he told his team after it lost its perfect season. “The circumstances are what they are. You go out and you work hard. We are going back to work on Tuesday. … We have to put this one behind us, just like we put the wins behind us, and move forward.

“There is a lot of basketball left to play, and you can’t dwell on this. It’s hard to take a tough loss like this, and you remember it, but you can’t dwell on it.”

Sophomore guard Drew Coyle scored 12 for OLMA. Sophomore forward Angelina Dragone scored 10. Senior forward Jaiden Harris added eight, and sisters Sydney (senior guard) and Savannah Prescott (freshman) both had seven.

“We worked from the beginning to the end,” said Bernhardt. “It felt good. The bus ride (home) will be good. It’s nice to win.”

McNelia agreed.

“After the first game, this was a game we had circled on our calendar,” he said.

OLMA; 21 28 17 9 — 75

Vineland; 13 12 12 0 — 37

OLMA—Bernhardt 20, Coyle 12, Dragone 10, Harris 8, Sy. Prescott 7, Sa. Prescott 7, Fiocchi 2, Ryan 2, Patitucci 2, Sacco 2, Fedee 2, Garcia 1.

V—Owens 8, Fowlkes 8, Jones 7, Williams 6, Alvarez 3, Watkins 2, Duncan 2, Wallace 1

3-pointerーBernhardt (3), Sy. Prescott, Sa. Prescott, Coyle (OLMA).

Records—OLMA 7-1; Vineland 7-1.

Contact Patrick Mulranen: 609-272-7217

PMulranen@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMulranen

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