WILMINGTON—Ursuline Academy built an eight-point lead midway through the third quarter only to see it evaporate as visiting Saint Elizabeth’s reeled off eight straight points to tie it in the teams’ Catholic Conference girls’ basketball showdown with less than three minutes in the frame.
The top-ranked Raiders figured out what went wrong without using a timeout and responded by scoring 17 of the game’s next 19 points to regain control, and they kept the Vikings at bay the rest of the way to earn a 58-43 home victory Wednesday night.
“We were letting them play. We had a game against Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.) that went to double overtime, and we still had five timeouts left,” Ursuline head coach John Noonan said. “We’re choosing with this team, as we’ve done in the past, to let the kids fix it, let them figure it out. They continue to find ways to do that, and we’re extremely proud of them.”
The Raiders (15-1 overall, 5-0 conference) entered the second half with a 23-16 lead, which increased to 28-20 midway through the third quarter, and that’s when the third-ranked St. Elizabeth’s woke up and scored eight unanswered points to tie it at 28-28.
Ursuline never panicked once its lead evaporated, and Kayounor Wulah ended its skid when she made a field goal to give the Raiders the lead back at 28-26, and Margaret Connolly made it a four-point game with a basket of her own.
Kryshell Gordy and Connolly scored in the final minute of the third quarter to give Ursuline a 36-28 lead over the Vikings (9-7, 3-2) entering the fourth quarter, and its continued the run by scoring nine of the first 11 points in the frame to make it 45-30 early in the final quarter.
“I think it was a team effort. We didn’t play well in the beginning, and we had to keep pushing and pushing. Our teammates kept pushing, as well as our coaches, and that’s how we got our lead,” the Raiders’ Alisha Lewis said of the game-deciding surge.
St. Elizabeth’s mounted a mini-rally, cutting its deficit to eight points at 51-43 with 1:37 left to go in the game, but Ursuline navigated the Vikings’ press down the stretch by scoring the final seven points of the contest.
Ursuline got 13 points from Lewis and Olivia Mason with Gordy chipping in 11 more, and Alanna Speak scored 13 points to lead St. Elizabeth’s while Alexis Lee added 10.