Raider girls hold off Middle, clinch conference title

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Lauryn Fields exploded for 18 points in the fourth quarter. She and teammate Olivia Schwartz combined to make four three-pointers in the period, a quarter in which their team scored 28 points.

And still, the Middle Township High School girls basketball team could not come back on Ocean City.

The Raiders, who played tough, confidently and smartly with the ball and made a respectable amount of foul shots in the final quarter, held off Middle’s late surge to post a 52-44 victory, a win that clinched the Cape-Atlantic National Conference title for the Raiders.

Ocean City improved to 16-2 overall and finished out its National Conference schedule at a perfect 12-0. Middle Township dropped to 13-6, 8-2 and will finish in second place in the conference. Both teams have clinched berths into the upcoming eight-team league playoff tournament.

Julia Duggan led three Ocean City players in double figures with 14 points. Nicole Piergross added 12 and Katie Johnson contributed 11.

Ocean City made 14 of 20 free throws in the final quarter, at one point making nine in succession. The Raiders led by as many as 17 points in the second half before Middle rallied. But Ocean City’s success at the foul line made sure Middle got no closer than the eight-point final margin.

Fields led all scorers with 20 points and Schwartz netted 11 for Middle, which saw starting forward Holly McKaig leave the game with an apparent shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.

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