WILMINGTON — The Archmere girls basketball team had plenty of wins this season going into its game Feb. 16 at Conrad. One more, this one on the Red Wolves’ home floor, would clinch the Auks the Diamond State Athletic Conference title., but the Wolves Den can be an intimidating place for visitors.
The Auks led, 11-6, with three minutes to go in the first quarter when Conrad made a move. The Red Wolves scored 10 of the next 13 points, taking a 16-14 lead on a three-pointer by Erin Glanz. But Ally Lengkeek got that three right back, sparking a big Auks run that carried them to a 50-34 victory and the Diamond State Athletic Conference championship.
A steal following Lengkeek’s triple led to a short jumper by Lucy Oliver, and Bridget Malloy joined the party with a free throw and field goal. Lengkeek added another three and Sara Denning drained a pair of free throws to extend the run to 13-0. Conrad, meanwhile, kept running into a terrific Auks defense, and the shots they did get up were missing. They managed just two free throws before halftime and trailed by nine at the break.
The Auks burned some clock as the third quarter opened, but when they did shoot, they made it count. Oliver, who pounded the ball inside all day, powered her way for an old-fashioned three-point play before setting up outside and banking in a three with 5:55 left in the quarter.
Conrad’s C.J. McRae provided a ray of hope for the large, loud crowd with a personal 5-0 run midway through the third, but Oliver scored on a baby left-handed hook, fed Sara Denning underneath, then took a pass from Lydia Scarpaci as the Auks pulled away.
The Auks’ defense caused a number of turnovers, and their bigs blocked a few shots. The Red Wolves were held to one field goal and two free throws over an eight-minute stretch following McRae’s buckets.
With the outcome no longer in doubt, coach Dan Pisani called a timeout to make wholesale changes in personnel in the final minute. The starters cheered loudly from the bench as Kylee Kluska scored the Auks’ final basket, with the assist to Gabrielle Dove.
Oliver had a double-double for the Auks with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Archmere (16-3) wraps up the regular season on Tuesday at home with against a very talented Tatnall squad at 6:15 p.m.
For Conrad, Glanz finished with 10 points. The Red Wolves (9-10) will host Wilmington Charter on Tuesday at 5:15 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.