MILLTOWN — Middletown’s girls basketball team used hounding defense and rebounding, and timely shooting on offense, to overcome a five-point halftime deficit and earn a 46-39 win at Saint Mark’s on Jan. 25.
The Cavaliers started strong, building an 11-5 lead before Saint Mark’s answered with 12 straight to take a six-point lead. The Spartans got the high as nine before two quick Middletown buckets underneath. The margin remained at five at the half, with the Spartans on top, 27-22.
Sophia Baffone hit a long two to open the second half, and a few minutes later she hit a three on a feed from Lauren McDonald to put Saint Mark’s on top, 32-24. A layup from Gabrielle Danquah — who made a living under the hoop all night — started Middletown on the road back.
With two minutes left in the third, Daphney Sapp finished a Cavs transition with a layup following a steal. Another steal resulted in another Sapp field goal. Middletown took a one-point lead into the fourth after Laila Jacobs hit a buzzer-beating three-point shot following a Spartans turnover caused by pressure defense.
Hailey Short gave the Spartans their final lead of the night 27 seconds into the fourth when she hit two free throws. Bria Harding answered for the Cavs, and Danquah went off glass to push the lead to three. The teams traded buckets before a two-minute stretch filled with held balls and missed shots.
Harding grabbed an offensive rebound at the 2:00 mark and laid the ball in. The Spartans played well on defense themselves and had opportunities to cut the Cavs’ lead, but their shots just weren’t falling. They got to within a pair at 41-39 following a Sophia Karch free throw, but Middletown hit enough free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Danquah had 17 and Harding 15 for the Cavaliers, who improved to 8-3. They visit Archmere on Jan. 29 at 6:15 p.m.
For the Spartans, Baffone had 17, while Karch added 8. Saint Mark’s (8-6) will travel to Wilmington Friends on Jan. 31 at 5:15 p.m.
Photos by Mike Lang.