Opposing teams do not like seeing Lower Cape May Regional High School’s Lauren Holden with a basketball in her hands.
They will do whatever it takes to prevent Holden from getting looks at the basket. The sophomore point guard is often double-teamed — with good reason.
Holden is more than a capable scoring threat. Just shy of the midway point in her second season at Lower, she is more than halfway to 1,000 career points.
Holden averages 18.8 points per game and in her brief career has 602 points in 38 games. Lower Cape May is 8-3 behind Holden, who leads the Cape-Atlantic League in 3-pointers made (28).
Unfortunately for the opposition, Holden contributes with much more than points.
“(Lauren has) basketball intelligence. She’s one of the smartest girls basketball players I’ve ever coached in her floor knowledge,” Caper Tigers coach Scott Douglass said.
Holden ranks among the CAL top five in free-throw percentage (.840), steals (17) and assists (19). She started as a highly touted freshman, but few teams knew exactly what to expect from her.
Coverage of Holden has been amplified this season, but she doesn’t mind. In fact, she embraces it.
“When teams do that, it might take away from me, but I have plenty of teammates with the ability to score,” Holden said.
The Caper Tigers, though relatively young, have versatile talents. Meghan Turner is fifth in the league in field-goal percentage (.435) and has blocked 14 shots. Madie Gibson averages 7.1 rebounds and has 18 steals. Nicole Sangillo has 17 steals.
Three sophomores start for Lower Cape May, but each of its four seniors play regular minutes. Although she is the obvious standout on the court, the humble Holden won’t call herself the team’s sole leader.
“Everyone on the team has some type of leadership role,” she said. “We’ve been working very hard.”
Hopes are high for the Caper Tigers. The team qualified for the South Jersey Group III playoffs last winter but fell short of making the inaugural Cape-Atlantic League tournament.
The top two teams in each division qualified for the inaugural CAL playoffs. This year, the tournament will expand to include eight teams.
Lower is in third place in the National Division behind Ocean City and Middle Township, No. 3 and No. 9 in The Press Elite 11, respectively. A win over Our Lady of Mercy Academy on Tuesday boosted the Caper Tigers’ chances.
A win today over Mainland Regional (7-5), of the American Division, would bring Lower even closer to a CAL tourney berth.
“(The CAL Tournament) is one of our goals. This week is huge for us,” Douglass said. “I believe we have a shot.”
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