BEAR — Ursuline and Caravel battled for 32 minutes, and, as many high school basketball observers expected, their game March 8 came down to the end. The Raiders were unable to get a shot off in the closing seconds, and the Buccaneers survived the DIAA quarterfinal by a 42-41 score.
Fourth-seeded Caravel advances to meet No. 1 St. Elizabeth on Wednesday at the St. E Center. The winner will play for the state championship two days later.
The Raiders, seeded fifth, went the first seven minutes of the contest before they made a field goal, and they trailed, 13-6, after the first quarter. Most of Caravel’s damage was done by their junior all-state candidate, India Johnston. She opened the scoring with a corner three-pointer, and by the time the first eight minutes had expired, she had added seven more points, including another triple.
A bucket for Caitlin St. Leger early in the second extended the lead to 17-6, Caravel’s largest of the night. But the Raiders’ shots began to fall, and they steadily closed the gap. Emily Rzucidlo scored on a free throw, but she soon found the range from outside. She added two three-pointers and two other shots as Ursuline got to within two points at 19-17. The Buccaneers went back up by four on an over-the-head bank shot from Johnston, but the Raiders scored once more to send the game into halftime at 21-19.
Emma Raftovich tied the score with the first points of the second half, and the race was on. Johnston hit on a runout to untie the score, but that lasted only seconds before Hannah Kelley knocked one down to knot it again. The Raiders trailed by a point as the third came to an end, but Rzucidlo found Kelley open under the hoop for a layup with four seconds to go, putting Ursuline on top as the final quarter started.
Caravel got the lead up to three early on, but the Raiders’ Sophia Filipowski hit a big three to tie it at 38 with 4:47 on the clock.
Johnston played a role in getting the Buccaneers back on top, but not by scoring. With 3:40 to go, she drove the lane, drawing a defender, and fed Laila Glover for the short bank shot. A minute later, Johnston found a lane through the Raiders’ defense, and her scoop shot increased the lead to four.
Filipowski came up big again, draining another three and pulling the Raiders within a point. They had two chances to take the lead in the final minute, but they could not get another shot to fall.
Rzucidlo had 14 to lead the Raiders in her final high school game. Kelley had eight. Ursuline finished the season 11-5.
For the Buccaneers, Johnston had 22 points. Caravel improved to 10-5. The game at St. Elizabeth on Wednesday will begin at 6:30 p.m. The teams met on Feb. 11, with the Vikings winning, 59-58, in overtime.
St. Elizabeth advanced to the semifinal by virtue of a 67-34 victory over Mount Pleasant. Archmere fell to Sanford, 64-25.
All photos by Jason Winchell.