Ocean City bests Lower, Sacred Heart holds off Middle

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The return of Julia Duggan sparked Ocean City past Lower Cape May while Middle Township’s strong second-half comeback fell short against Sacred Heart in the opening round of the Cape-Atlantic League basketball playoff tournament Friday night.

Duggan, who had been out with ankle injury, totaled 15 points and 14 rebounds as the top-seeded Raiders beat No. 8 Lower Cape May, 42-26.

Ocean City (18-3) rushed out to an 11-2 lead after one quarter and was ahead 22-9 at the half. The Raiders limited the Lady Tigers (14-9) to only nine field goals for the game.

Natalie Landi added 11 points for Ocean City, which will play fifth-seeded Sacred Heart in a CAL semifinal on Wednesday at St. Augustine Prep.

Sacred Heart advanced with a 51-48 win over No. 4 Middle, holding off a hellacious Lady Panther comeback effort in the second half. Middle trailed by as much as 13 points early in the third quarter before rallying. Middle had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead twice in the fourth quarter but did not convert.

Kennedy Johnson scored 11 of her team’s 13 points in the fourth quarter to hold off Middle’s comeback effort. She finished with a game-high 22 points. Many Buirch added 10 points for the Lions (18-5).

After a slow start, Olivia Schwartz made four three-pointers and poured in 20 points for Middle (15-8). Lauryn Fields added 14 points and Lauren Legler scored 12.

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