WILMINGTON — Most high school basketball games are suitable for a basic rundown of what happened, and then there’s St. Elizabeth’s boys game Feb. 15 against Delmarva Christian. The Vikings and Royals started fast, cranked it up a gear or two, and played a most entertaining basketball game at the St. E Center.
When the dust settled, the Vikings had taken an 80-76 victory. The game featured a combined 19 three-point shots and six players in double figures.
It was a tight game throughout, and neither team seemed intent on holding the ball any longer than necessary to find an open jumper or lane to the rim. The Royals opened up a 5-0 lead, but the Vikings’ Jaden Dickerson got his team on the board with a slashing move to the hoop. Andrew Spychalski tied it up on an old-fashioned three-point play, but the preferred method of scoring three points would soon come into focus.
Gabe Herling answered Spychalski with a pair of threes sandwiched around another Dickerson field goal, and the Delmarva Christian lead was 11-7. Blake Bryant of the Vikings matched Herling with a triple, something that the Royals would have to get used to seeing. Dickerson finished the first with two free throws with .8 seconds to go, putting the Vikings up, 17-15, after one.
St. E’s built a 27-19 lead in the second before Herling went about changing the Royals’ predicament. He scored five of the next seven points to pull DCS to within five. Herling and the Vikings’ Jermai Herring each scored eight in the quarter, which ended with St. Elizabeth on top, 35-27.
Things got a bit crazy in the third. Royals forward James Handy nailed a three early on, but Delmarva Christian did most of its damage inside. Handy scored five two-point field goals in the third, and Herling and Chase Hesson combined for five more. DCS put up 25 points in the third, which would have pulled them in front of the Vikings on a normal night.
But Monday was not that day. Bryant set up over and over on the wing beyond the arc, and he drained four straight three-pointers. Herring continued his strong play, adding four of his own. Still, the Royals cut six points off their deficit and trailed by just two heading into the fourth.
Six different Vikings scored in the fourth. Bryant continued his sharpshooting, knocking down two more three-pointers without a miss to get him to seven for the game. He also added a key follow shot later on, although that was good for just two points. Dickerson was solid all night running the show for the Vikings, and his fourth quarter included eight points.
All of them were necessary as the Royals did some shooting themselves. Handy continued to score inside, and Jeremiah Hannah came off the bench and promptly connected on a trio of three-pointers. In the end, however, St. Elizabeth had a few more made field goals in them.
Bryant had 23 points, including seven three-pointers. Dickerson finished with 20, and Herring had 18 off the bench. St. Elizabeth (3-3) will visit Conrad on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Handy led Delmarva Christian with 25 points. Herling (24) and Hesson (10) also reached double figures. The Royals (2-7) host Archmere on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.