By DAVE O’SULLIVAN 

Staff Writer 

LINWOOD — The motto for the Mainland Regional girls basketball team this year is “Dialed In.” The Mustangs know they are one of the most talented teams in the Cape-Atlantic League and they want to consistently prove that every time they take the court.  

Ocean City was the latest team to understand how difficult it can be to play against a “dialed-in” Mainland squad. The Mustangs raced out to a 21-7 lead on Saturday morning and by the second half it was all academic, as Mainland cruised to a 58-30 victory, its third straight after suffering its only loss of the season — 51-49 against state powerhouse Manasquan at The Seagull Classic at Holy Spirit earlier this month.  

Mainland showed how versatile it can be, too, as eight players scored and none had more than 12 points. Senior Camryn Dirkes led the way with 12 but the Mazur twins, Bella and Ava, each added 11, and Kaitlyn Boggs and Kasey Bretones — the other two players in the starting lineup — each added seven. Sydney Stokes, McKenna Pontari and Madison Naman combined for 10 points off the bench.  

Glory Days photo/Sully

“Going into every single game, we want to keep our heads in it and play the way we know how. The overall goal is to make it as far as we can, that’s what we want to do. We always say, ‘stay dialed in.’ And if we can do that during all these games, our goals at the end of the season are going to come,” said Boggs. “Everyone can do everything. We’re a very talented team, and we’re a very deep team. But I think what makes us stand out is we’re all really close. We’ve all played basketball together forever — (Cam and I) have been playing together since third grade. We’ve gotten a bond just from playing together for so long, and I think that’s what helps us play together so well on the court.” 

“Everyone stepped up today and that was our goal, to start off with energy and keep it going throughout the game,” Dirkes added. “Everyone showed out — you had Bella doing a spin move dish, Kasey getting to the rim. Everyone was getting to the rim and getting baskets. And even when we weren’t getting to the rim we were shooting threes. The energy and momentum was really high today.” 

Ocean City (6-5, 6-0 Cape-Atlantic League National) was able to hold things close throughout much of the first quarter and trailed just 8-5, but a 3-pointer from Bella Mazur followed by a driving layup from Dirkes helped Mainland (10-1, 4-0 CAL American) extend its lead to 13-5 by the end of the first quarter. Ava Mazur then nailed a three early in the second quarter, and all of a sudden Mainland had an 18-7 lead.  

Glory Days photo/Sully

The Red Raiders shaved the lead down to 10 points by halftime, 23-13, with the help of a three from Francesca Ritzel, but Mainland started running away with it in the third. Ava Mazur fed her twin sister off Boggs saving a ball from going out of bounds, pushing the lead to 27-14, and Boggs added a putback to make it 29-14. Ocean City got within 34-20 when Avery Jackson found Hannah Cappeletti in transition, but that’s as close as the Red Raiders got the rest of the way. Ava Mazur scored off a press break and after Boggs scored on an inbounds play, the Mustangs led 40-20.  

Mainland starts three sophomores in its lineup, along with seniors Dirkes and Boggs, but Dirkes said she thinks the younger players will be ready for big games in a few weeks in the Cape-Atlantic League and state tournaments.  

“In the Manasquan game, the Mazur twins and Kacey, they all stepped up, more than any of us expected they would, and that experience is going to be crucial,” Dirkes said. We’ve been playing in big games since our freshman year, so we have a little bit more experience, so we’ll try to help them through that and keep the team together. They have some big games in their pockets already — against Manasquan, Atlantic City, the championship game at the Southern tournament — all those experiences will add up and I think they’ll play well (at the end of the year).” 

What’s next: Mainland travels to OLMA on Monday at 5:30 p.m. Ocean City travels to Cedar Creek on Monday at 5:30 p.m. 

Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sullyglorydays@gmail.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays