WILMINGTON – St. Mark’s held the lead throughout the first three quarters, but a dominant fourth quarter was enough for Wilmington Charter to take a 34-31 victory in nonconference girls basketball on Feb. 13. The Force continued their resurgence, improving their record to 12-6 with the win.
The Spartans’ defense had kept Charter’s two big scorers, Nia Anderson and Emma Brown, in check for much of the game. Anderson was held to five points and Brown just three heading into the fourth, but those two keyed the comeback for the Force.
St. Mark’s took a 24-19 lead into the fourth, but that’s when Anderson began her assault. The senior guard hit a runner to cut the lead to three, but Maddie Lenick got those two back on the free-throw line for the Spartans. St. Mark’s regained possession, but Anderson stole the ball at one end of the court and dribbled the length for a layup.
After a missed Spartans free throw, Anderson scored on another layup, cutting the St. Mark’s lead to a single point. The next time down the floor, Brown banked a follow shot off the glass and in to put Charter on top for the first time at 27-26. Delaney Carey answered for the Spartans, and Brown and Carey traded hoops one more time, giving the Spartans the 30-29 advantage.
Ashley Steiner was the next player to step up for the Force, hitting a mid-range jumper. Kayla Wolff tied the game with a free throw, but that would be the final point for the Spartans. Claire Stella hit one of two free throws for the Force with 2:30 to go, and that proved to be the decisive point. Neither team scored after that until Anderson fed a wide-open Brown underneath with 10 seconds on the clock. The Spartans’ last-ditch effort was off the mark.
St. Mark’s got off to a fast start in the game, opening up with a 7-0 run that included a three-pointer for Carey. The Spartans’ offense cooled in the second, and they didn’t make a field goal until 1:50 remained in the half. Still, the lead was three at the break.
Carey was the only Spartan in double figures, scoring 13, including a pair of threes. The Spartans (7-11) travel to St. Elizabeth on Sunday for a 2:15 start before ending the regular season at Sussex Tech next Wednesday at 5 p.m.
For Charter, Anderson led the way with 11, while Brown added nine. The Force visit Archmere on Thursday night at 6:15 beore hosting Tower Hill on Tuesday at 6 in their regular-season finale.