For The Dialog
NEWARK – Third-seeded Caravel advanced to its third girls basketball state championship game in five years after defeating No. 7 St. Elizabeth, 44-36, on March 8 at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Buccaneers will face the top seed, Ursuline, on Friday at 7 p.m., also at the Bob, in a rematch of the 2015 final. Bucs senior Grace Lange, who was a sophomore when Caravel fell to Ursuline two years ago, led the way with a double-double, collecting 12 points and 12 rebounds.
It was the Vikings who got off to a hot start as seniors Lexi Bromwell and Alanna Speaks hit deep three-pointers to give St. Elizabeth a 14-8 lead after one quarter. The Buccaneers (17-6) then took control in the second quarter as Karli Cauley scored six points and Maia Bryson hit two triples. Lange scored on an offensive put back to give the Bucs a 22-19 halftime lead.
The defenses won the third quarter as the Vikings didn’t hit a single shot from the field and were outscored, 6-2. The Vikings started putting on a press in the fourth quarter, and Alexis Lee got some inside baskets. Lee converted an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the Bucs’ lead to 37-34 with 1:57 left.
St. Elizabeth had chances in the final minute to further cut into the lead, but the shots just weren’t falling. Caravel, meanwhile, hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch, including a pair by Sasha Marvel and four from Bryson in the last 23 seconds.
Bryson scored 12 points, while Marvel and Cauley added seven each. Lee lead the Vikings (15-8) with 11 points; Speaks scored nine in her final high school game.