For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – Ninth-seeded St. Elizabeth erupted in the fourth quarter to defeat the 24th seed, Newark, 61-56, on Feb. 27 in the first round of the DIAA boys’ state basketball tournament at the St. E Center. The Vikings scored 24 points in the final stanza, including 11 of 17 from the free throw line, to advance.
The game was action-packed from the start as Jordan Brown hit two big three-pointers, but the Yellow Jackets answered with their ability to crash the offensive boards. Jalen Coverdale nailed a three and scored all seven of his points in the first, but a pair of free throws by St. Elizabeth’s Nasir Brown with 1.8 seconds to go gave the Vikings a 14-13 lead at the end of one.
Newark exploded in the final three minutes of the first half to grab a 29-26 lead at the break. Justin Money scored six points in the third quarter, including a deep three, as the teams entered the final eight minutes tied at 37.
The Vikings would go on a 7-0 run in the middle of the quarter to take a 47-42 lead. A putback by Joseph Hodges and a three-pointer by NaKey Skinner allowed the Yellow Jackets to knot the score at 47 with 2:47 to go. Vikings senior Nate Thomas answered with a layup, and Brown drilled a big three to restore the five-point advantage with 1:48 on the clock. The Vikings were able to extend their lead at the foul line and held on for the win.
The Vikings got 16 points from Brown as he led four players in double figures. Nasir Brown and Thomas had 13 each, and Money added 11. The Vikings will face No. 8 St Georges Tech on the road on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the second round.
Hodges and Damon Hancock each had 14 for Newark. The Yellow Jackets finished the season 10-11.