Throughout the season, St. Andrew’s spent the first half of its games feeling out its opponents before making halftime adjustments and pulling away in the third quarter.
That trend continued Wednesday night. The 15th-seeded Saints were tied at 25 with Delaware Military Academy at halftime before a strong third quarter propelled them to a 53-47 victory in the first round of the DIAA Girls’ Basketball State Tournament.
“That really is our classic M.O. We wait until the third quarter to get it going,” St. Andrew’s coach Stephanie Hamilton said. “I think we really started to figure things out. It takes us a half to adjust, and we adjusted really well.”
The Saints, who will face second-seeded Sanford (16-5) on Friday, began the third quarter on a 10-0 run, started by a Breahna Pierce layup. That was followed by four straight points from freshman forward Olivia Gumbs to make it a six-point game.
Following Morgan Hallow connecting on one of two free throws, junior guard Janée Dennis capped the run with a 3-pointer to give St. Andrew’s a 10-point lead at 35-25.
The run was a result of the Saints overcoming the playoff jitters they had in the first half and becoming more relaxed.
“We went into the locker room and regrouped ourselves. We needed to slow down and get out of the hype that comes with being in this game,” said Dennis, who had 13 points. “We just need to run our offense, which is to pass and cut.”
St. Andrew’s lead reached 11 points at 41-30 late in the third, but the Seahawks (16-5) started to chip away at the deficit, cutting the Saints’ lead to three at 45-42 with 5:15 left in the fourth.
Gumbs stopped Delaware Military Academy momentum with a three-point play with just over four minutes left to make it 48-42.
After the Seahawks pulled within four, Hallow put the game out of reach with a 3-pointer with 1:26 left in the game.
Gumbs finished with a game-high 21 points for the Cardinals. Leigh Ann Lennon scored 14 points to lead Delaware Military.