Adrianna Hahn scored 21 points, including seven of the final eight points of the game, as Ursuline Academy rallied for a 47-39 victory against Appoquinimink in a DIAA Girls Basketball State Tournament quarterfinal Thursday at Newark High.
Fourth-seeded Ursuline (16-5), which hasn’t lost to an in-state team this season, will play top-seeded St. Elizabeth, a 56-37 winner against Smyrna, in a semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark. The state title game is 7 p.m. Monday at the Bob.
“We’ve been there a lot … so we’re proud of our program and our accomplishments,” Raiders coach John Noonan said.
Ursuline won both meetings with St. E this season, defeating the Vikings 50-49 on Jan. 7 and 54-51 on Feb. 12.
“We were fortunate to win both of those games,” Noonan said. “… Our kids have been in some tough situations, and it’s not only been our starters. It’s been some of the kids that come off the bench. So we feel like we’ve built some depth over the year, and we’re hoping that depth will help us in the next round.”
Amber Cale scored a game-high 24 points for fifth-seeded Appo (17-5), including 15 in the first half, when the much more physical Jaguars led by as many as eight points. They used an 11-point second-quarter run to take a 26-18 advantage and led 26-20 at halftime but were limited to just 13 points in the second half and five points in the fourth.
“We talked about pushing the ball, communicating more on defense and kind of looking for the better shot,” Hahn said.
The Raiders used a 10-3 run to start the second half, relying on their superior speed, ball-handling ability and stifling defense to storm into the lead. They outscored the Jaguars 18-8 in the third quarter.
“We just couldn’t get the ball up the court,” Appo coach Micah Edwards said. “That was the issue.”
Ursuline used a seven-point run bridging the third and fourth quarters to push its advantage to five at 39-34, but a three-point play by Taylor Bond and a layup by Cale knotted the score at 39 with about 21/2 minutes to play.
Ursuline responded by scoring the final eight points of the game. Hahn raced to an easy layup to retake the lead, and the Jaguars, unable to answer, were forced to foul the Raiders down the stretch. Ursuline hit 6 of 8 free throws to seal its victory.
“We got it tied up, and then we didn’t play defense,” Edwards said. “Hahn drove right to the basket and made a layup and no one fouled her or anything like that. I don’t want anybody to get easy buckets. Stuff like that hurts. We have to learn from our mistakes.”
Lindsay Russell scored nine points on three 3s for the Raiders, while regular starter Mary Abram missed the game after spraining an ankle in practice on Monday. She is expected to play for Ursuline in its semifinal against St. Elizabeth.
“We’ve been there before,” Hahn said. “We’ve been to the Final Four for 10 years straight, and so we know what kind of surrounding this is and environment that it is and we’re used to it and we know how to work as a team.”