BEAR – india Johnston led the offense with 22 points, and Giniah Gale led a spirited defensive effort with seven blocked shots as Caravel held off Ursuline, 41-37, in nonconference girls basketball on Jan. 7 in Bear. It was the Buccaneers’ second win over the Raiders in eight days; they met Dec. 30 during the Diamond State Classic.
As in that first contest, Johnston was the difference on offense for a young Caravel team. The precocious sophomore opened the fourth quarter by coolly sinking a three-point shot to extend the Bucs’ lead to 31-26. As the Raiders played their own stifling defense, Johnston scored 11 of her team’s 13 fourth-quarter points to help seal the win.
After a Raiders free throw, Taylor Wilkins grabbed the rebound of the missed second shot. She handed the ball to Johnston, who drove the entire floor, around two defenders and up for two more., extending the lead to six. Hannah Kelley of Ursuline returned the favor the next time the Buccaneers had the ball, anticipating a pass, picking it off and going coast to coast for a layup that made the score 33-29.
Emily Rzucidlo, who was deadly from distance all night, brought the Raiders to within one with her fourth three-pointer of the night.
On two occasions midway through the fourth, Rzucidlo came within a whisker of stealing passes and taking the ball the other way. Gale helped Caravel take advantage of their good fortune after the second near-turnover. She rebounded a Johnston miss – one of 15 rebounds for the freshman – and swished two free throws to help keep the Raiders at bay.
The Raiders caused several turnovers, but the could not take advantage with subsequent points. Johnston made Ursuline pay after a near-steal with a nasty crossover move and long field goal. Kelley scored off a pass from Gabby Paolella with 51.7 remaining to get the Raiders within four, but the visitors could not take advantage of two last-minute turnovers by the Bucs.
Caravel jumped out to a 9-0 lead to open the night, prompting a timeout by Raiders coach John Noonan. His message got across, as Rzucidlo hit from deep when play resumed. That sparked a nine-point run for Ursuline to forge a tie. Johnston ended that streak with a runner, but Kaleigh White put the Raiders on top for the first time with a triple. Rzucidlo drilled her second three of the night with seconds remaining in the first to give Ursuline a 15-13 lead after one.
After a second quarter dominated by defense, the offenses picked up in the third. That set the stage for the entertaining fourth quarter.
Gale had eight points to go with her rebounds and blocks. Caravel (4-3) travels to Wilmington Charter on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
For the Raiders, Rzucidlo had 15 on five three-pointers. Kelley added nine. Ursuline fell to 3-6 and will try to snap a four-game losing streak on Thursday night at St. Elizabeth at 7:15 p.m. They are off for two weeks after that.