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Lady Tigers have chance to be special

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Lauren Holden finished her junior season with 1690 career points Scott Douglass wants the players on his Lower Cape May Regional High School girls basketball team to understand that being a year older isn’t automatically going to make the team better.

After a strong state playoff run, the Lady Tigers are already being tabbed as a team to watch for next year, with superstar point guard Lauren Holden leading a club that featured an all-junior starting lineup, with underclassmen making up all of the reserve players as well.

“We’ve addressed it, that everyone has to work hard,” Douglass said after his team finished the season at 17-12 after Saturday’s South Jersey Group II semifinal loss to Cedar Creek. “Each individual girl is going to have to work hard. Sure, we have everyone back and some people coming in and we could have a strong year next year but nothing is guaranteed. We can’t take anything for granted. Some things fell right for us this year but we have to work.”

Lower’s playoff and season highlight was a stunning 71-61 win over second-seeded Sterling in the second round of the tournament in a game in which Holden exploded for a head-turning 41 points. The Lady Tigers, who were seeded seventh, then trailed by just two points to No. 3 Cedar Creek before wilting in the second half.

Holden emerged as one of the real stars of South Jersey high school girls basketball this season. She scored 834 points this season for an average of 28.8 per game and is now the school’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, regardless of gender, at 1,688 points. She’s on pace to become only the second career 2,000-point scorer in Cape May County high school girls basketball history.

“Obviously Lauren had a tremendous year,” Douglass said. “A lot of times she’s seeing junk defenses and she’s getting everyone’s best defender with other girls playing a lot of help-side (defense) and everyone keying on her but she can still average 27 to 30 points a game. She’s improved every year since she’s been here.”

Lower finished the season with wins in 10 of its last 13 games after sitting at just 7-9 in early February. That run coincided with increased contributions from forwards Madie Gibson and Carrie Wunder and guards Ariel Magee and Rian Young.

“The way we finished was really good,” Douglass said. “I think some of the role players really stepped up the last few weeks of the season. Overall I thought the team got better as we went along.”

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