Basketball

Vikings use offense, defense to hold off Buccaneers

St. Elizabeth's Alexis Lee, seen here against Ursuline, had a game-high 15 points as the Vikings edged Caravel 50-49 on Friday night.

St. Elizabeth’s Alexis Lee, seen here against Ursuline, had a game-high 15 points as the Vikings edged Caravel 50-49 on Friday night.

WILMINGTON—With St. Elizabeth’s and fifth-ranked Caravel Academy tied late in the third quarter, the Viking duo of Alanna Speaks and Alexis Lee took over the game on opposite ends of the floor.

Speaks was the cornerstone of St. Elizabeth’s 1-3-1 zone while Lee controlled the game offensively, and the duo powered their team to a nine-point lead midway through the fourth.

The Buccaneers attempted to battle back over the final four minutes of the game, but ran out of time as the Vikings held on for a 50-49 home victory over Caravel in nonconference girls’ basketball action Friday night.

“We were getting into a little bit of foul trouble with our man, so we went to the 1-3-1, and when we play our 1-3-1, Alanna Speaks on the top part is so athletic and so smart and can time passes that she makes it tough for kids,” St. Elizabeth’s head coach Dan Cooney said. “She got her hand on the ball a lot, and our kids did their job and got out and contested every shot.”

Speaks’ size and athleticism disrupted the Buccaneers’ passing and forced turnovers, and Caravel (6-4) could not find a counter to that during the game’s crucial stretch.

“I think against their 1-3-1, we were doing exactly what they wanted us to do, which is stay at the top and float these passes back and forth. Alanna Speaks is a great athlete, so for me, why would we play catch with her in the middle,” Buccaneers head coach Kristin Caldwell said. “We needed to get down in here and go make a play. I think she really was disruptive at the top of the 1-3-1.”

With the game tied at 33-33 in the final minute of the third quarter, Sarah Metz made 1-2 free throws to give the Vikings (4-5) the lead for good, and Dymond Collins followed by making a layup as time time expired to make make it 36-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

St. Elizabeth’s scored 10 of the first 14 points in the fourth quarter to make it 46-37 with less than four minutes left, and Lee led the way by scoring seven points during the run, crediting her strong play in the second half to the offseason work she put in expanding her offensive arsenal.

“I’ve really worked hard over the summer trying to expand my range,” Lee, who had a game-high 15 points, said. “Basically, I was working around the basket, so I tried to branch out to a little bit closer to the free throw line, and I just keep practicing it. It seems to work for me.”

The Buccaneers mounted a rally over the final 3:30 of the game, cutting their deficit to just one point after Maia Bryson sank a three-pointer with 0.3 left in the contest, but after a Caravel timeout St. Elizabeth’s successfully inbounded the ball to hold on the win.

Grace Lange scored a team-high 12 points to pace the Buccaneers.

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