HOCKESSIN – The St. Elizabeth boys’ basketball team showed up at Sanford School on the afternoon of Feb. 8 to face a Warriors team that had won 10 straight after opening the season 1-4. But the team on the court for Sanford barely resembled the usual cast of players, as several members of the varsity squad sat on the bench in street clothes.
That did not matter to the Vikings, who were in need of a win after dropping four of their last five. They took advantage of their shorthanded hosts and left with a 67-42 win. Junior Jordan Brown, who led St. Elizabeth with 17 points, said they couldn’t worry about who and who was not playing for Sanford.
“It feels good to come in and get a win today,” he said. “We played hard, fought hard, shared the ball and everything. I think we’re coming back together as a team.”
For a few minutes, it didn’t seem to matter that just three of Sanford’s regular varsity players – Jyare Davis, Hassan Perkins and Corey Perkins – were in uniform. The Warriors held the ball for the opening minute before Hassan Perkins drained a three-pointer, and the lead reached 9-4 when Davis blocked a shot by St. Elizabeth’s Nate Thomas and outletted to Corey Perkins for the transition layup. Vikings coach Matt Rubincam called a timeout, and the game changed from there.
Out of the timeout, Nasir Brown found Justin Money backdoor for a layup. Nasir Brown then picked up a steal on the Warriors’ next possession and found Jordan Brown for an easy bucket. Nasir Brown made two free throws to give the Vikings the lead, and Thomas scored in close to finish an eight-point run. St. Elizabeth would not trail again.
The Vikings led, 16-11, after one and kept up the accurate shooting and balanced scoring in the second. Jaden Dickerson scored seven points in the quarter, including a three-pointer, one of six the Vikings made in the game. The lead was 14 as the clock wound down, but Sanford’s Mo Konneh – one of the junior varsity players promoted for the night – beat the buzzer with a baseline three to cut the St. Elizabeth lead to 33-22 at the break.
The Vikings pounded the ball inside all night, and Thomas got two points that way late in the third on a beautiful give-and-go with Ray Jones that increased their lead to 41-26. Jordan Brown matched Konneh’s buzzer beater with one of his own in the third quarter, and the Vikings were well on their way.
In addition to Jordan Brown, Nasir Brown and Dickerson reached double figures with 15 and 13, respectively. Eight different players scored for the Vikings, who are missing injured starter Guy DeBonaventura. That balance is key, Jordan Brown said.
“That’s important to our team. Nas and Jaden, that gives us momentum in the game to get us going,” he said.
The Vikings (11-6) stay on the road, visiting Wilmington Friends this Saturday at 2:!5 p.m.
For the Warriors (11-5), Corey Perkins had 14 and Hassan Perkins 13. They play the second of three straight at home this Saturday at 2:30 p.m., welcoming St. Andrew’s.