GLASGOW – St. Mark’s girls basketball team did not pick up its fourth win of the 2016-17 season until Feb. 4. The Spartans have already reached that number after a 50-35 win over previously unbeaten Woodbridge on Dec. 14 in the first round of the Dragon Winter Classic at Glasgow High School.
Turnovers plagued both teams in the first quarter, but the Spartans were able to find some offense. Four players reached the scoreboard in the opening eight minutes, including back-to-back fast-break layups from Kayla Wolff and Kendra Schweizer that gave the Spartans a 6-2 lead with 4:23 to go. Woodbridge came out of a timeout and got a deep baseline three-pointer from freshman Janeira Scott, ending a drought that lasted several minutes. Forward Delaney Carey got those back later in the first, hitting a triple, but she did nearly all of her damage inside.
St. Mark’s (4-1) extended the lead throughout the second, although the Spartans did not pick up their first points until more than three minutes had elapsed. Five different players scored a field goal. Two of those were threes, one each from Natalie Alessandrini and Schweizer.
The Blue Raiders, in contrast, were frustrated on offense. They struggled to find open looks against an aggressive Spartans defense, and the turnovers continued. Scott hit two free throws nearly five minutes in for the team’s first points, and they managed just a single field goal as St. Mark’s took a 12-point lead into intermission.
The Spartans threatened to run away with the game by scoring the first six points of the second half, making it 29-11. Woodbridge, however, responded with its best basketball of the day, going on an 11-1 run that cut the Spartans’ advantage to eight. Scott had a pair of buckets during the run, and Sierra Smith and Tykeya Nelson each added threes. That was as close as the Blue Raiders would get, however, as Kayla Wolff sparked a six-point Spartans run with a second-chance hoop.
St. Mark’s continued its pressure defense throughout the fourth quarter, and the Spartans made six of seven free-throw attempts in the final quarter to maintain their lead.
Carey was a force for the Spartans, scoring 16 points and grabbing several rebounds. Wolff finished with 11. The Spartans will play for the tournament championship on Saturday against William Penn at Glasgow.
Woodbridge was led by Scott, who had 16. The Blue Raiders (4-1) will meet Glasgow on Saturday.