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Auks girls use lockdown defense, balanced scoring to earn win at Viking Invitational: Photo gallery

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Archmere's Lucy Oliver pulls the ball away from a Polytech player. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON – Archmere’s girls basketball shook off a slow start at the Viking Invitational, getting the inside offense going and clamping down on defense in a 41-29 victory over Polytech on Dec. 27 in the opening game of the Viking Invitational at the St. E Center in Wilmington.

The Auks, coming off a two-week break, showed little rust on the defensive end. They hounded the Panthers into several turnovers, but for the first few minutes neither team was able to get on the scoreboard. Finally, more than three minutes into the contest, Lucy Oliver got open inside for a layup and a foul shot that seemed to spark the Auks’ offense. The lead remained 3-0 until Bridget Malloy, coming off the bench, drilled a three-point shot to double the lead.

The Panthers got on the scoreboard with 2:45 to go in the first when Jasryn Scott-Coleman hit a field goal while being fouled. The free throw was off line, and those were the only points for Polytech in the quarter. The Auks’ lead was eight after one.

The Panthers had more success going to the basket in the second, but they were unable to make a field goal. All five of their points in the stanza came from the free throw line. Archmere, meanwhile, again did all of its scoring from the middle point of the quarter on. Oliver was the first to hit, converting a steal a midcourt into a transition layup that included a nice stutter step to shake a defender. She scored again, then picked up an assist on a bucket by Malloy. Brynn Bastian-Pastore hit from distance to make the halftime lead 19-7.

The lead grew to 17 in the middle of the third before Hopkins scored down low for the Panthers’ first field goal since the first. That was the beginning of a modest 6-0 run, with Hopkins hitting again and Sky Naranjo finishing a runout to cut the deficit to 11. Polytech was able to trim one more point off the lead later in the third, but the Auks closed out the quarter on a 7-3 run, with Malloy adding a three from the top of the circle as part of that stretch.

Lydia Scarpaci scored to open the fourth, sending Archmere’s lead to 16, and it stayed in that vicinity until the Auks cleared the bench in the final two minutes. The Panthers scored the final five points of the morning.

Oliver, Malloy and Scarpaci each had 10 for the Auks, who improved to 4-1. Sara Denning added eight, and the other three points belonged to Bastian-Pastore. Archmere will face Damascus (Md.) in the championship game of the Hope bracket on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. at the St. E Center.

Hopkins had 10 to lead the Panthers. Polytech (4-2) will take on Wilmington Charter on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the St. E Center.

All photos by Mike Lang.