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Lady Panthers rally in second half for another big division victory


The Middle Township High School girls basketball team came into this week facing three critical division games.

The Lady Panthers have passed the first two tests.

Two days after scoring a victory over Wildwood Catholic, Middle went on the road and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 48-41 comeback victory at Ocean City Wednesday evening.

The victory moved Middle to 3-0, both overall and in the pandemic-created Cape-Atlantic League East Division.

After trailing by two at 27-25 at the half, Middle saw Ocean City score the first seven points of the second half to take a nine-point lead. But Middle then limited the Raiders to only seven points the rest of the way.

Senior guard Kate Herlihy made three three-pointers over the final minutes of the third quarter to draw Middle even at the end of the third quarter. Middle went on to outscore Ocean City by 12-5 in the final period.

“It was just more attention to detail,” Middle coach John Leahy said. “We stayed connected to their shooters and I felt like we contested their shots more and made it more difficult for them. I thought in the first three quarters we were a little lackadaisical on defense and they were beating us to a lot of 50-50 balls. But then we started getting stops when we needed them, Kate hit some really big shots, we got the lead and we were able to close it out.”

Herlihy, off to a sensational start to the abbreviated season, poured in a game-high 26 points. She made five three-pointers overall. Lynasia Harris added seven points for Middle.

The Lady Panthers are set to face unbeaten Mainland in another big division game on Friday.

“There’s no question this is a huge week for us in terms of the standings,” Leahy said. “Any road win you can get against one of the contenders is a bonus, because it’s always tough to win on the road. For us to beat Wildwood Catholic and Ocean City in three nights says a lot about our kids. I’m really proud of them. But at the same time, we know we can be better. It’s a bonus when you can get wins while knowing you can still play better. Now we play another really good team on Friday.”

Avery Jackson (13) and Marin Panico (10) each scored in double figures for Ocean City (2-1).