BOYS HOOPS PREVIEW: After long playoff run, LCM expects to remain competitive (with video)
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GIRLS HOOPS PREVIEW: Experienced Middle looks like a contender (with video)

Logan Thomas (left), Paige Fox (center) and Victoria London are the seniors on the Middle Township High School girls basketball team.

Victoria London (left), Paige Fox (center) and Logan Thomas are the seniors on the Middle Township High School girls basketball team.


Mascot: Panthers

Conference: Cape-Atlantic United

Enrollment group: South Jersey II

2017-18 Record: 17-10

Head coach: John Leahy (16th season, 270-128)

Assistant coaches: Brynn Caraballo, Brandee Day, Megan Russ, Jordan Sykes, Renea Wing

Returning players: Seniors – Victoria London (5-7 G/F), Paige Fox (5-6 F), Logan Thomas (5-6 F); Juniors – Madison Barber (5-4 G), Raine DeRose (5-6 G), Aubrey Hunter (5-10 F), Lauren Nelson (5-9 F), Natalia Rulon (5-8 G), Kira Sides (5-9 G); Sophomore – Kate Herlihy (5-8 G).

Top newcomers: Juniors – Michaela Graham (5-5 G), Sophia Terenik (5-10 F); Sophomore – Brynn Bock (5-9 F); Freshmen – Kylee Graham (5-7 F), Brianna Robinson (5-7 G).

Strengths: Experience, guard play, defense

Weaknesses: Post depth

Outlook: Middle fashioned a very respectable 15-win season and a CAL United championship with a young roster last season and has the potential to be better this winter. The team’s two leading scorers — junior shooting guard Kira Sides (16.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and sophomore point guard Kate Herlihy (10. 3 ppg, 3.7 spg) — return and are among the best players at their positions in the CAL. There are also a few others who saw significant varsity time last season, such as seniors Paige Fox and Logan Thomas and juniors Madison Barber, Aubrey Hunter and Natalia Rulon. In addition, senior Victoria London, a good outside shooter, returns to the mix after playing in just a couple of games last year before suffering a season-ending injury. She’ll be a factor. Middle is expected to compete with Wildwood Catholic for the United Conference championship and should emerge as a contender in both the CAL playoff and South Jersey Group II tournaments.

Coach’s quote: “We have a lot of kids back so we have a decent amount of experience,” Middle coach John Leahy said. “We have kids that are capable but it’s just a matter of needing to build up the their confidence and go out and do it on the floor. I’d like to think we can compete for our conference and to try to get home court in both (the CAL and state) playoffs. I don’t think that’s unrealistic at all for this group.”

Season opener: Friday at Holy Spirit, 4:30 pm