BRANDYWINE HUNDRED – Ursuline wrapped up its regular season Feb. 21 at Concord by showing it is ready for the girls basketball state tournament. Concord scored the first bucket of the game, but it was all Ursuline after that, as the top-ranked Raiders swamped the No. 6 Raiders, 71-37, in nonconferene action.
Concord junior Zhan’e Snow opened the contest with a layup, but it was Ursuline’s day after that. The visitors ran off the next six points, including a nice back-door layup for Olivia Mason and a give-and-go between Alisha Lewis and Maggie Connolly. Lindsay Brown came in after Yanni Hendley picked up her second foul, and she drained a three-pointer as Ursuline built up a 17-7 lead after one quarter.
Ursuline coach John Noonan got his bench significant playing time, and those girls did not disappoint. Kay Wulah, Allie Olmstead and Brown each knocked down three-pointers during the second; Olmstead and Brown each finished with two from long distance. On the defensive end, the Raiders packed the inside with a 2-3 zone, keeping Concord outside the paint for the most part.
With the big lead, Ursuline was able to get all 14 available players into the game for multiple minutes. They got points from 11 of them, including a bank-shot three-pointer from freshman Whitney Grinnage-Cassidy in the closing minutes. The Raiders finished with nine triples.
The deep bench helps make Ursuline a dangerous opponent, Wulah said.
“We all know we have a role, some bigger than others,” she said. But, she added, there is little disagreement about playing time among the players.
Connolly led the way with 16 points, while Kay Wulah continued her recent strong play with nine points. Olmstead and Mason each had eight. The Raiders finished the regular season 19-1 and will have a first-round bye in the state tournament. They will open the playoffs at home next Thursday against an opponent to be determined. Wulah said the school’s past basketball success is always on their minds.
“We do think about that. We think about what we have to do in order to get the win. You have to work together, be strong, get all the butterflies out before the game. Stuff like that,” she said.
Until the playoffs begin, the Raiders will be hard at work, she added.
“The grind never stops. You have to keep practicing in order to get better, and that’s what I plan on doing. Same with my teammates,” Wulah said.
Snow had the scoring touch for Concord, finishing with 18 points. Jamiyah Dennis had 11. These Raiders, who had an eight-game winning streak snapped, closed out the regular season at 16-3. They, too, are likely to receive a first-round bye and will be back in action at home next Thursday.