WILMINGTON – A powerful inside game and smothering defense helped St. John Catholic Prep (Md.) to a large early lead, and the Vikings would go on to defeat Ursuline, 63-47, in girls basketball Dec. 29. The game was played at the St. E Center as part of the annual Diamond State Classic.
It didn’t take long for the visitors from Buckeystown, Md., to jump out to a lead. Emma Raftovich scored twice to give the Raiders a 4-2 lead, but Catholic Prep responded with a 13-0 run. The principal protagonists were Anna LeMaster from both inside and outside, and Kayla Cooper provided a significant threat under the basket. The Vikings caused several turnovers by the young Raiders, helping them grow their lead.
LeMaster spent the entire second quarter on the bench in foul trouble, but it didn’t matter. The Vikings unleashed other weapons, including Tori Greitner, who scored nine in the quarter. Greitner was on the receiving end of a pass off a turnover that made the score 23-9, prompting an Ursuline timeout. Sarah Yoda came off the bench to add some offense and defense for St. John’s, while the Raiders struggled from the field. The halftime score was 35-15.
The Raiders found their stroke a bit after the intermission, but the Vikings kept the offense coming. The lead grew as big as 28 points, but the Raiders did not fold their tent. Courtney Brown ignited a seven-point run with a jumper, then added two free throws. Emily Rzucidlo finished the string with her second three-point shot of the third.
They trimmed the deficit throughout the fourth quarter with the help of three three-pointers. Two of those belonged to TaeLynn Brooks, while Rzucidlo added her third. Rzucidlo also scored in transition after stealing a ball at midcourt.
Rzucidlo finished with 11 points to lead Ursuline. Kay Wulah added nine. The Raiders will play in the consolation game of the IAABO Board 11 Cup bracket of the Diamond State Classic against St. Elizabeth on Sunday at 11:45 a.m. at the St. E Center.
Four players ended in double figures for St. John Catholic Prep. Kayla Cooper led the way with 16, while Yoda and LeMaster had 13 each. Greitner added 11. The Vikings will meet Neshaminy (Pa.) for the IAABO Board 11 Cup championship on Sunday night at 6:45 p.m.