PIKE CREEK – Amayla Sharif, though just a sophomore, makes a world of difference for the Flight A champion Concord girls’ basketball team.
After missing Tuesday’s regular season finale against Ursuline, Sharif returned to the starting line-up Saturday and poured in a game-high 16 points as the 6th-ranked Raiders picked up their second straight Blue Hen Conference title, defeating No. 9 Hodgson 53-32 Saturday afternoon at St. Mark’s High School.
“We missed her against Ursuline because she’s one of our better defensive players,” Raiders head coach John Armstrong said. “Her offense is also picking up as is her understanding of the system, so she’s a very important part of what we do.”
“My defense was there, I was able to get some steals that helped me get some baskets,” Sharif explained. “I was just ready to play today.”
“She preserved a lot of energy for us,” added junior guard Zhan’e Snow, who scored 15 points of her own. “I know when I was tired and had to come out of the game, she held my place for me.”
Flight B champion Hodgson (14-7) took their only lead of the game on the opening tip as Ja-Naiah Perkins-Jackson drove for a layup in the contest’s first few seconds. It was all Concord from there as Snow scored nine of the Raiders’ 16 first-quarter points. Sharif took over in the second quarter, scoring seven points to help Concord’s lead balloon 33-15 at halftime.
Concord’s defense held Hodgson to just nine made field goals in the game, and the Silver Eagles’ star guards, Perkins-Jackson and Kayla Braxton-Young, were limited to just six and seven points respectively.
“We tried to come out strong and with a lot of energy,” Snow explained. “We wanted to drive to the basket and get them in foul trouble so we could get to the line.”
“Basically, we just took care of possessions more, attacked the basket and played better defense,” Armstrong added. “We knew where they were getting their points from and we just focused on that particular area.”
Concord will host the winner of the A.I. DuPont-Delcastle game in the second round of the state tournament Thursday while Hodgson will host Delmarva Christian in the first round on Tuesday.