WILMINGTON – Sanford had scored 47 points and held a five-point lead through three quarters of its game Jan. 12 against St. Elizabeth, and the lead remained at five (53-48) with just over five minutes to go. After Elijah Dockery got the Vikings to within two on a three-point shot, the Warriors decided to spread the offense in an effort to burn as much time off the clock as possible.
The strategy appeared to be working, as two free throws by Sean Williams with about a minute remaining restored the five-point margin at 56-51. Three missed free throws in the final 50 seconds, however, opened the door for the Vikings, and Jordan Money made sure they took advantage. He took an inbounds pass with the clock under 10 seconds and hit a 12-foot falling-down bank shot that proved to be the winner in a 57-56 win at the St. E Center.
“My instructions were to go straight to the basket,” the senior said. “No matter what go straight to the basket, get a foul or make the shot. And I made the shot, so we had a good win. We needed that win.”
Sanford freshman Jyare Davis took a 30-foot shot as time expired, but the ball banged off the rim, setting off a wild celebration on the court. It was just the second time St. Elizabeth had defeated the Warriors and the first time for the current players.
“We’ve lost to them every year. This is my senior year. It’s my first time beating Sanford. It’s motivation,” Money said.
Money’s game-winner was set up in part by the play of his younger brother, Justin, who finished with a team-leading 15 points off the bench. Justin Money, a sophomore, made a baseline layup to get the score to 56-53. Sanford then missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Jordan grabbed the rebound and took it the distance for another layup.
St. Elizabeth called a timeout after rebounding the second of two missed free throws, and Dockery found Money cutting to the hoop. He was bumped as he began his shot and was on the ground when the winning points fell through the hoop.
“We wanted to spread the floor out and give Jordan room to work. If Jordan is inside, between 12 and 15 feet, he can make something happen,” St. Elizabeth coach Matt Rubincam said.
Jordan Money said he was not surprised by his brother’s contributions.
“He hustles hard all the time. That’s why he plays a lot,” Money said. “He gives us great energy when we need him in the game. It showed on the floor.”
Sanford coach Stan Waterman said he made the decision to slow it down halfway through the fourth quarter because his team appeared to be tiring.
“We looked like we had gotten the game under control, and we wanted to control the tempo. We just didn’t want to hurry a shot,” he said.
“And we needed to get stops. We didn’t get stops. We gave up layups in the last two minutes.”
The play everyone will talk about was Money’s last shot, but the game was an entertaining affair throughout. Davis was stellar for three quarters, scoring 29 points through three quarters. He showed a deft inside touch, but also sank four three-pointers. Davis also added several assists and blocks; he and Marcus McCollum rejected shot after shot in the first half.
The Warriors led, 15-8, late in the first quarter, but St. Elizabeth scored 14 straight to take a 22-15 lead. The final six points of that run came on back-to-back triples by Jordan Brown. Sanford responded with a nine-point run to reclaim a 25-24 advantage, but the Vikings took a 33-30 lead into halftime.
Sanford came out after the break with a purpose, outscoring the Vikings, 17-9. Davis was nearly unstoppable, scoring 11 of those points, including two three-point shots. Defensively, the Warriors frustrated St. Elizabeth with a hounding press.
Rubincam said he was happy to see such energy from his team Thursday night after a lackluster performance in a loss to William Penn earlier in the week. He added that the win could be a catalyst for the Vikings.
“The kids really work hard in practice. They’re still getting used to me, and I’m getting used to them. It’s a big adjustment, but we’re coming together as a team, and it’s the right time to do it because it’s the middle of the season,” said Rubincam, in his first season at the helm for St. Elizabeth.
Jordan Money scored 14 points, and Dockery had 12 for St. Elizabeth. The Vikings (6-3) stay home for their next game, which is Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. vs. St. Mark’s.
Davis led all scorers with 31 points, and McCollum joined him in double figures for the Warriors with 10. Sanford (5-6) takes on Hatboro-Horsham (Pa.) on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. at Philadelphia University in the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic.