--> Middle dominates top seed, reaches SJ final | Cape May County Sports

Middle dominates top seed, reaches SJ final

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Lauryn Fields scored 17 points in Middle's playoff win over Deptford DEPTFORD – The Middle Township High School girls basketball team will return to a familiar place Monday evening.

Thanks to a dominating performance against the top seed in the section Saturday afternoon, the Lady Panthers will play in the South Jersey Group II title game for the fifth time in six seasons. Middle, the fourth seed in the tournament, will take on third-seeded Cedar Creek in Egg Harbor City for the sectional championship.

Cedar Creek won the other semifinal over Lower Cape May, 64-39, after leading by just two points at halftime.

Middle checked into the title game after its 49-27 victory over a Deptford team that had lost just twice in 26 games entering the contest.

After leading by two points after one quarter, Middle (24-5) outscored the Spartans 26-9 over the middle two quarters to pull away. Deptford scored only 14 points after the first quarter.

“I thought we were really solid on both ends of the floor,” said Middle coach John Leahy. “In the second quarter we really settled in on both ends. We did a better job taking care of the ball and not allowing them to get out in transition.”

The game changed drastically late in the second quarter when Deptford star Cheyenne Clark, who entered the contest averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds per game, was whistled for her fourth foul. Clark was held to four field goals and 12 points.

“Clark picking up those fouls certainly helped us,” Leahy said.

Middle held Deptford to nine field goals for the game.

Lauryn Fields scored a game-high 17 points, Olivia Salvo chipped in 10 points and Lauren Legler and Holly McKaig each added seven points for the Lady Panthers.

“We’ve been playing very well as a team for the past month,” said Leahy, whose team won its 14th straight game. “It goes without saying that Lauryn Fields and Lauren Legler draw a lot of attention but the other kids are playing with so much confidence, too. Lauryn and Lauren are making the other kids better by trusting them to make plays when they’re open and that’s such a big difference for us.”

Middle last won a South Jersey title in 2012, when the team’s current seniors were sophomores. The Lady Panthers lost to Willingboro in last year’s title game.


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