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Cedar Creek edges Middle for S.J. title

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Members of the Cedar Creek girls basketball team celebrate winning the South Jersey title EGG HARBOR CITY – The Cedar Creek High School girls basketball team is widely regarded as one of the best shooting teams in South Jersey.

So the Lady Pirates were in great shape when Monday evening’s South Jersey Group II title game against Middle Township turned into a free-throw contest.

Cedar Creek made seven straight free throws in the final minute and was 9 for 11 overall from the line in the fourth quarter en route to claiming its second sectional title in three seasons with a 56-50 win over the Lady Panthers.

“Basically, we knew we had to make keep our heads, make our shots from the foul line and make great plays when we had the ball and don’t force anything,” said Cedar Creek senior guard Jahniece Jaffe.

Jaffe made four straight foul shots before Mikila Stefanski sank 5 of 6 over the final minute as the Lady Pirates, who fought back from a seven-point third-quarter deficit, pulled away late. Meanwhile, Middle Township made only one of its first eight free throws of the second half and finished just 5 for 13 for the game.

Jahniece Jaffe scored 12 points for Cedar Creek in its win in the South Jersey title game Stefanski scored a game-high 22 points, netting 12 in the fourth quarter. Jaffe scored nine of her 12 points in the fourth quarter and Casey Thomas added 11 points for Cedar Creek (24-4).

The Lady Pirates scored 25 fourth-quarter points against a Middle team that had conceded 30 total points or less in all three of its previous state playoff games.

“This is crazy,” Jaffe said. “We only lost once ever here at home in my four years. I wasn’t going to end my career on this floor with a loss. We came together and got the win.”

Olivia Salvo made 8 of 10 shots from the floor and scored 16 points for Middle. Lauryn Fields added 11, three of which came on a halfcourt shot to end the first half.

After the teams were locked at 22-22 at the half, Middle opened the second half on a 13-6 run to open a 35-28 lead. Cedar Creek responded with a 25-12 surge that spanned the last 1 ½ minutes of the third quarter and the first 7 ½ minutes of the fourth.

Cedar Creek moves on to play Central Jersey champion Manasquan in a state Group II semifinal on Wednesday evening at Williamstown High School.

Mikila Stefanski led all scorers with 22 points in Cedar Creek's South Jersey title game win over Middle Township The Lady Pirates were state champions as a Group I school in 2012.

(For more on this story, including additional photos, read this week’s editions of the Currents and the Gazettes.)


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