Willingboro dominates Middle in South Jersey final

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WILLINGBORO – The Middle Township High School girls basketball team beat Willingboro in overtime very early in the season. The Chimeras proved on Tuesday, however, just how much they’ve improved since that time.

Willingboro completed dominated Middle in the South Jersey Group II championship game, ending the season for the defending sectional champion Lady Panthers with a 55-20 victory.

Incredibly, the game wasn’t even as close as the 35-point final score. Willingboro (23-4), the top seed in the section, held Middle to one field goal for approximately 22 minutes of game time, the second-seeded Lady Panthers scoring only three points from the six-minute mark of the first quarter through the end of the third quarter. The Chimeras led 45-8 after three quarters.

Middle Township turned the ball over 22 times for the game, 20 of them coming over the first three quarters.

“They have athletes we just don’t see in our league,” Middle coach John Leahy said. “They’re athletic across the board. You really have to try to limit your turnovers against them. You turn it over and they get out in transition and really make you pay.”

LaSalle University-bound Micahya Owens led three Willingboro players in double figures with 15 points.

Middle Township (19-10) got seven points from Lauren Legler. The Lady Panthers will return all of their players, except forward Olivia Schwartz, the team’s lone senior.

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished this year,” Leahy said. “To win 19 games against the schedule we played is a great achievement. I don’t want us to let 32 minutes of basketball to diminish what we’ve done all year. It was a great season.”

Middle has reached the sectional title game in four of the last five seasons.

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