Lauryn Fields receives her basketball inspiration from her family.

The 5-foot-4 junior guard averages 15.6 points for Middle Township, which is 6-2, ranked No. 9 in The Press Elite 11 and the defending South Jersey Group II champion.

Fields' father, Lawrence, played for Middle Township, graduating in 1984. Monica Johnson, a 2002 Wildwood High School graduate who scored an area-best 3,173 career points despite being 5-4, is a cousin.

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"I realized my Dad was good," Fields said. "I watched tapes of Monica Johnson's state title games. I called and texted her a couple of times and got some advice. After that, I realized basketball is my thing. She gave me the inspiration that even though I'm little I can do some of the things she did."

In addition to basketball, Fields also was a competitive dancer as a youngster. She gave up dance to concentrate on basketball after the fifth grade.

Fields, 16, lives in Cape May Court House and is the oldest of four children. She spent her freshman season at Cape May Tech before transferring to Middle.

In a telephone conversation Tuesday night, she spoke about a number of topics, including Middle Township's passion for basketball and the team's goals for the rest of the season.

On the unusual spelling of her first name: It's been spelled (wrong) a thousand times. My mom likes to be unique. My siblings' names are not spelled the normal way, and my name just got a Y instead of an E.

On how she started playing basketball: I was 5 years old when I started playing. My dad got me started in the back yard, dribbling and shooting layups. It came naturally to me. Along the way, I figured out basketball was what I wanted to do.

On giving up dance for basketball: I really like dancing, but when I thought about it, it was a no-brainer that basketball was what I really wanted to do. But I liked the footwork of dancing. It came along with basketball. It helped me with defense and agility.

On playing for Middle coach John Leahy: I love it. He's always trying to help me and make me better as well as the team.

On Middle's passion for basketball: I have never been to a school where the fans give so much support as they do at Middle. Basketball is No. 1.

On Middle's goals for the rest of the season: We're going to go out this year and strive to win another South Jersey title. We always want to be undefeated at home. We also want to win 20 games.

On what she does to relax: I'm involved with my church (Christ Gospel Church in Cape May Court House). I pray dance with my church. It's like dance class with church music. I'm just really laid back. I listen to music and hang out with my friends.

On her personality when she plays: Once the game starts and that ball goes up in there, I just turn into a completely different person. My whole mentality changes. I go out there and do what I need to do. I'm physically prepared and mentally prepared to be the best point guard I can be and my team.

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