LIVE VIDEO Girls basketball state playoffs – Collingswood at Middle Township
March 2, 2022
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VIDEO: Slow start turns into strong finish as Middle advances


CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Midway through the first quarter of Wednesday’s South Jersey Group II quarterfinal, the Middle Township High School girls basketball team trailed Collingswood, 6-4.

Sensing his team needed a spark, Middle coach John Leahy promptly pulled all five of his starters. The result was an 8-0 run that gave the Lady Panthers the lead for good, en route to a convincing 53-24 victory.


“Maybe it’s just nerves because it’s a playoff game, but I guess it worked,” Middle coach John Leahy said. “Sometimes you need a little wakeup call – it’s something we all need sometimes – and that’s what the first five got. I was happy with the five that went in. Brooke Nabb got a deflection and basket right away and we seemed to settle in from there.”

The win sends third-seeded Middle into the sectional semifinal round. The Lady Panthers will face No. 10 Sterling at home on Friday at 5. Sterling upset No. 2 Cinnaminson, 46-31, on Wednesday.

“You try to earn your power points to try to get the best seed so you can get as many home games as you can,” Leahy said. “Sterling did us a favor but they’re a really good team and they’re going to come down here and make it really hard on us. We’ll have to do everything we can to get prepared but it’ll be great to have another home game.”

Middle led Collingswood at the half, 19-11, before putting the game away with a 13-0 run to start the third quarter.

“I felt like in the first half we were fumbling the ball a little bit and then other times the final pass wasn’t there but I thought we had the tempo where we wanted it,” Leahy said. “Then in the second half I think we really settled in and played well.”

Senior guard Brianna Robinson led Middle (19-9) with 15 points. Junior guard Jada Elston, who didn’t start after suffering an ankle injury that forced her to miss Monday’s first-round playoff win, came off the bench for 12 points. Junior forward Mia Elisano added eight points.

Middle went 14 for 15 from the foul line in the victory.

Collingswood (8-20) got 11 points from Maddie Eife.