For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – The seventh-seeded St. Elizabeth’s Vikings learned from last year’s second-round loss and survived a tough battle with 10th-seeded Archmere, 49-42, on March 2 at the St. E Center. The Vikings, who beat Archmere, 45-41, on Feb. 5 by scoring the last 11 points, did the same thing Thursday, scoring the final 11 points.
“It was a carbon copy,” St. Elizabeth coach Dan Cooney said. “It’s been like that the last couple of years. I’ve got so much respect for Danny (Pisani, Archmere’s coach) and what he does at Archmere with those kids. That is a good group, and it’s a group that always battles us.”
The Auks, who struggled hitting shots in their first-round win against Friends, came out on fire in the first quarter. Seniors Maggie Malloy and Danaziah Brown scored two baskets each, and Emma McCann scored the last five points to give the Auks a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Brown scored five quick points to give the Auks a 20-14 lead with 5:29 left in the second quarter, but the Vikings ended the half on a 10-0 run as senior Sarah Metz hit a long jumper and an Alanna Speaks’ steal and layup gave them a 21-20 lead. They lead 24-20 at the half.
McCann hit two free throws and a deep three, followed by a Brown three, but the Vikings countered as Julie McCarron had an old-fashioned three-point play and Metz drained a triple. The Vikings led, 36-34, heading to the fourth quarter.
Amanda Denning made a pair of free throws, and Malloy sank a baseline jumper to help the Auks to a 42-38 advantage with 3:03 left. The Vikings caught a break as two Auks players fell down fighting for a defensive rebound and Speaks scored. Then, after the Vikings tied it at 42, junior Alexis Lee scored off a great feed by Speaks to grab a 44-42 lead with 2:06 left. The Auks couldn’t hit any shots down the stretch, and Speaks made their free throws to seal the win.
Speaks finished with 11 points to lead the Vikings (14-7).
“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” she said. “We wanted to play as a team because we didn’t want it to end like last year, a loss.”
The Vikings also got 10 points each from Lee and Alexis Bromwell. They face Caesar Rodney on Saturday at 3:30 at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware. St. Elizabeth lost, 50-48, in overtime to open the season at CR.
The Auks (15-7) got a game-high 12 points from Brown, while Denning and McCann each added 10. Pisani was happy with his team’s effort.
“I just told the kids in the locker room, I think in the two years I have been here that might have been the best basketball they played,” he said.