When the clock struck 4 p.m. Friday, the Sanford girls basketball team was still on the road.
The Warriors walked into the gym at St. Andrew’s 10 minutes later, delayed because of a transportation mixup. But even though the game started late, Sanford put it away early.
Senior Johanna McMillan scored 16 points and freshman Chrishyanah Alston added 14, and the ninth-ranked Warriors cranked up the defensive pressure to dominate No. 6 St. Andrew’s 46-22.
“The bus company was a little late,” Sanford coach Marcus Thompson said. “We had a situation like that last year, and I told them we couldn’t use it as an excuse.
“We played poorly that day, but today I told them, ‘We’re going to play better today, I don’t care what happens. Even if we get no warmup, we’re going to come out and play hard.’ The girls did that.”
The Warriors (1-1) were allowed to loosen up for a few minutes, then scored the first seven points of the game. But the Saints’ Janee Dennis banked in a 3-pointer and Olivia Gumbs hit a 12-footer to pull St. Andrew’s (3-2) within 11-7 after one quarter.
Sanford ripped off 10 straight points midway through the second quarter, getting three consecutive layups from McMillan, two free throws from Ayanna Thompson and a spinning layup from Alston on the way to a 23-11 halftime lead.
The Warriors were just as intense after the break, scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter to make it 33-11. Sanford was coming off a 45-43 loss to Appoquinimink in its season opener last Saturday, and the Warriors – and their coach – were determined to improve.
“I told the girls that I have to take a lot of blame for that,” Thompson said. “That was the worst-coached game I’ve ever had. I think I cost us the game. I think the girls fed into my inadequacy by playing poorly, but it’s the worst game I’ve ever been a part of.”
Gumbs was a handful inside with eight points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots, but the Saints were no match for Sanford’s pressure defense. The Warriors hit only 31.7 percent from the field, but held St. Andrew’s to 22.9 percent shooting.