WILMINGTON – Ashley Campbell introduced herself to St. Elizabeth’s girls basketball fans on Dec. 4 in the best way possible. The junior center, who transferred into St. Elizabeth this season, scored 16 points as the Vikings opened their season with a 54-22 win over Mount Pleasant at the St. E Center.
Campbell spent much of the evening matched up against Green Knights center Zaria Newson, who is three or four inches taller, but she managed to get open over and over again. The Vikings nailed three three-point shots in the first quarter, but the rest of their field goals were of the two-point variety.
Mount took the first lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Brennah Scott, but Campbell responded with back-to-back buckets. The first came on a third-chance opportunity, while the second was the result of the Vikings’ press, which caused a turnover. St. E’s next three shots were triples – from Arianna Henry, Juliann McCarron and Ber’Nyah Ward-Mayo, and when Ward-Mayo found Naia Pulliam with a deft pass that led to a layup, all five Vikings starters were on the scoreboard.
St. Elizabeth maintained a 12-point lead at the half, but the second quarter was noteworthy for a non-scoring play. With 1:24 left in the second, Scott was called for her third foul. More importantly, she injured her right ankle and did not return, costing the Green Knights one of their best shooters.
The Vikings put the game out of reach in the third. Mount Pleasant made just one field goal, while Ward-Mayo, who sat out the second quarter, scored six points, including four of four from the free-throw line. The hosts’ defensive pressure continued to pay dividends, and the lead was 20 after three.
Vikings coach Dan Cooney was able to get playing time for all of his players in the final quarter. They responded by holding Mount Pleasant off the board. Campbell added the final six of her points, the last two coming off an assist by McCarron, who saved a ball from going out of bounds under the hoop by flinging it behind her back right to Campbell, who eased in the layup.
Ward-Mayo had 12 points and McCarron 11 for St. Elizabeth. The Vikings (1-0) are on the road Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at William Penn.
For Mount Pleasant, Newson had six, and Scott had five in limited action. The Green Knights, who are 0-1, will try to bounce back in their home opener on Thursday against district rival Concord at 4:45 p.m.