MILLTOWN — For four quarters on the evening of Jan. 17, Saint Mark’s Lauren McDonald had been a defensive blanket on Maya Hill of Delaware Military Academy. The Seahawks’ leading scorer was held without a point in regulation.
But when McDonald got tangled up with another DMA player nearly two minutes into a four-minute overtime period, Hill had the opening she needed. She drilled a three-point shot that would prove to be the winner in a 22-21 decision against the Spartans. The loss was the first in the last 10 games for Saint Mark’s.
Both teams struggled to get any shots to fall all night, and the Spartans were held pointless in the extra session until Reyyanah Johnson twisted around a defender and laid one in off the glass with 1:12 to go. The Spartans forced a Seahawks turnover with 23.6 seconds remaining, and after a timeout they went to work on a final chance at taking the win.
Saint Mark’s held the ball until the final ticks, and McDonald’s attempt from just outside the three-point arc was disrupted by Hill, who stymied McDonald all game. The ball bounced out of bounds, and the Seahawks were able to run the final two seconds off the clock for the win.
The low-scoring overtime followed a pattern evident throughout the game. Saint Mark’s took a 3-0 lead on a triply by Sophia Baffone, but that first field goal came with just over four minutes gone. The Spartans enjoyed their biggest lead at 6-0 when Hailey Short stole a DMA pass and ran three-quarters of the length of the court for a layup while being bumped. Her old-fashioned three-point play doubled the lead. Delaware Military was held scoreless until Sophia Manuel banked in a three-pointer with 14 seconds left in the first.
The defenses were sticking to shooters like flypaper, and the first point of the second did not come until just 2:48 remained in the half. Tavi Prado put the Seahawks in front for the first time with a triple with a minute left, but Johnson tied it at 11 on a three-point play that included two offensive rebounds by the senior.
DMA ended the third quarter on an 8-0 run over the final four minutes to take a 19-14 lead into the fourth. Marisa Edevane capped the run with a three-pointer, and the Seahawks appeared to be in control.
The fourth quarter followed the same pattern as the others, with scoring at a premium. But the Spartans got the first point on a Keira Benoit free throw with 3:50 to go. She missed the second, but Bella Prado grabbed the rebound and got the ball back to Benoit on the baseline. Benoir knocked down a three-pointer to get Saint Mark’s back to within one at 19-18.
McDonald tied the score with a free throw at the 3:00 mark, but that was it for the scoring. Shots rang off the rim and glass, and there were turnovers by both squads. This one was destined for overtime.
Tavi Prado had 8 points to lead the Seahawks, with Edevane adding 6. DMA improved to 7-2 and hosts First State Military on Thursday at 5:15 p.m.
For Saint Mark’s, Baffone and Johnson each had 5. The Spartans (10-2) visit Ursuline on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.