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Comeback bid by St. Elizabeth boys basketball falls just short against William Penn: Photo gallery

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Jermai Stewart-Herring drives to the basket for St. Elizabeth. He led the team with 15 points. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — St. Elizabeth’s boys basketball team erased a 10-point third-quarter deficit to take a brief lead against William Penn, but the Colonials embraced the challenge and went on to a 66-58 victory Feb. 3 at the St. E Center.

The teams traded buckets to open the second half, and the visitors held a 32-22 lead. The lead was nine, 36-27, when the Vikings made a run. It began with a pair of free throws from Kye Rawls. After a steal, Jermai Stewart-Herring tapped a loose ball in. The Colonials got two of those back on a mid-range jumper, but Stewart-Herring added two more free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound and getting fouled while shooting. Penn’s lead was down to 38-33.

Another steal by St. Elizabeth led to a hoop for Justin Lawrence, and the Vikings got the ball back on a defensive rebound. After a 40-second possession, Rawls tied the game with a hoop and harm with 1:40 to go in the third. The Vikings extended the run to 13-2 and took the lead on a layup by Jayden Lawrence.

The teams traded old-fashioned three-point plays before Emmanuel Vohm scored on a short bank shot to send the game to the fourth quarter tied at 43. With each bucket, the St. E Center grew louder and louder.

Stewart-Herring electrified the crowd with a baseline dunk that put the Vikings on top by a pair, and after trading the next two field goals, Jalen Sample got the Colonials back into the lead with a corner three that made it 48-47 with 5:43 to go. St. Elizabeth called a timeout.

Jayden Lawrence got the message in the huddle, scoring out of the timeout for the Vikings, but Jaiden Guy of William Penn answered, and the Colonials held a 50-49 advantage. Again, someone stepped up for the Vikings. This time, it was Aidan Tobiason, who gave St. E its last lead of the night at 52-50 with a three-pointer with 3:33 remaining.

The crowd was hanging on every play, and the next player to step up was William Penn’s Gabe Valmond. He tied the contest, going coast to coast following a rebound. Sample struck again a short time later, lifting the Colonials into the lead to stay with another three.

The Vikings capitalized on a Penn turnover by feeding Jayden Lawrence for an easy layup to get within a point at 55-54, but that would be their last field goal. Vohm hit a hook shot with two minutes to go, and Penn made nine of 10 free throws in the final 1:23 to seal the win.

Final statistics were not available for the Colonials early Friday morning. Valmond did score his 1,000th career point in the first half. William Penn (10-4) snapped a three-game losing streak. They take on Caravel on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Chase Fieldhouse as part of the SL24 UnLocke the Light Classic.

Four Vikings reached double figures, led by Stewart-Herring with 15. The others were Tobiason with 12, Jayden Lawrence with 11, and Leamond Pearce with 10. The Vikings (12-3) get little rest; they host Wilmington Charter on Friday at 7:15 p.m.

All photos by Mike Lang.