WILMINGTON — Ursuline’s postseason chances looked pretty good before the Raiders hosted Saint Mark’s on Feb. 22, but a 35-29 win over the Spartans may have secured a spot in the 24-team tournament.
The Raiders’ win was their second consecutive after losses to three of the best teams in the state in St. Elizabeth, Padua and Sanford. Ursuline improved to 8-10 with one game remaining in the regular season.
The Raiders took control near the end of a close first half. The teams were tied, 6-6, five minutes into the contest. Three different Raiders scored during that opening stretch, while Spartans senior Serena Pluta was responsible for all six of her team’s points on two field goals and two free throws.
The final four points of the quarter belonged to the Raiders, who stepped up their defensive pressure. The score was 10-6 after one.
Hannah Kelley opened the second with a put back, and she was fouled on the play. She made the free throw to extend the team’s run and lead to seven. A three-point shot by Alyssa Cresto ended that run, but the Raiders later pushed the lead to nine with a second 7-0 run. A left-handed scoop shot by Cresto brought the Spartans to within 20-13 at the half.
Scoring was again at a premium in the second half, but the Spartans could cut only a point off the halftime deficit.
Final statistics were not available early Sunday. The Raiders wrap up the regular season at 7:15 p.m. when they welcome St. Georges to Wilmington.
The Spartans finished the regular season 13-7 and will find out their postseason seeding on Friday when the bracket is released.
Before the game, Ursuline honored coach John Noonan, who earned his 200th win with the Raiders in their previous game against Dover. In 12 seasons at the helm, Noonan has won four state championships and has been named Delaware’s coach of the year twice.