HOCKESSIN – St. Elizabeth fell behind Sanford, 8-0, in the opening four minutes of Monday afternoon’s girls basketball matchup in Hockessin. The Vikings rallied to close the gap and managed to tie the game on five separate occasions in the third period, but the Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter to win, 53-43.
Defending state champion and third-ranked Sanford, playing its first home game since the season-opener on Dec. 6 vs. Appoquinimink, used the inside game of Chrishyanah Alston (21 points) and the shooting of Taylor Samuels (13) to earn the win. The Warriors also scored from distance, getting three three-point shots from Ayanna Thompson and two from eighth-grader Lauren Park-Lane.
Sanford led at the half, 23-22, and the No. 4 Vikings managed their first tie at 24 on a bucket by Alex Thomas. St. Elizabeth would tie the game four more times after Sanford reclaimed the lead, the last time at 32 when Jordyn Humes hit a 15-foot jumper from the free-throw line. The Warriors then reeled off eight straight points, taking control with a 40-32 advantage.
Thomas ended the Sanford run at the end of the third period, and the comeback continued into the fourth. The Vikings would get as close as one, at 40-39, when eighth-grader Olivia Tucker nailed a three-point shot, but Samuels and Alston keyed another Warriors surge. Sanford would outscore St. Elizabeth, 13-4, after the Tucker trey.
Sanford had threatened to end this game before many spectators had even reached their seats, including the school’s top-ranked boys team, which was practicing in the adjacent gymnasium. Thompson sandwiched a pair of triples around a layup for Samuels, and at the midway point of the first quarter it was 8-0 Sanford. Vikings coach Dan Cooney burned a timeout, and his team responded. Alanna Speaks hit a layup to end the Warriors’ run, but Park-Lane answered immediately with another three-pointer. Following that, however, St. Elizabeth would score the next six points and trailed, 11-8, after one.
Thomas continued the streak into the second, cutting the deficit to 11-10 with a steal and basket in transition. The Warriors scored the next five, but St. Elizabeth kept the game close.
The Vikings, playing a tough schedule, fell to 5-4. Thomas led the way with 21 points, while Humes had nine and Speaks eight. Their next two games are back at the St. E Center, on Wednesday vs. Appo at 6:45 p.m. and Friday vs. No. 2 Caravel at 7 p.m.