WILMINGTON — St. Elizabeth’s girls basketball team used the long ball to stay close, but the Vikings’ seven three-pointers were not enough to overcome Roland Park Country School (Md.) in the Delaware Orthopaedics Specialists Cup bracket on Dec. 29 at the Diamond State Classic. The Reds placed three players in double figures in a 52-43 win.
It was an unusual day for the Vikings for two reasons. First, they were wearing their burgundy road uniforms despite being in the St. E Center. Secondly, the second of six games scheduled for the day began at 11:45 a.m., much earlier than what the team is accustomed to.
Roland Park’s Mir McLean won the opening tap, and that was the least of the damage she would do on the afternoon, particularly in the first half. Later in that very first possession, McLean took the ball on the low block, spun to her left and went off the glass to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.
After a Vikings miss, McLean showed the next weapon in her arsenal. She drove into the lane, pulled up her dribble, spun and hit a 12-foot jumper. The Vikings cut the lead to one on their first hoop, a second-chance baseline three-pointer from Olivia Lynch, who kept her team in contention long into the game.
McLean — who is headed to national powerhouse Connecticut to play her college ball — added two more field goals and two free throws before the quarter ended. Gabrielle Franks established herself inside to add two more buckets, while St. Elizabeth stayed close thanks to two more threes. They finished the first in a 14-9 hole.
Lynch drew the Vikings to within three by beginning the second quarter with a slashing bucket in tight. Rory Ciszkowski added a second-chance bucket and a three-pointer, and when Lynch nailed her third triple from the top of the key with 4:24 remaining, the game was tied at 19.
But it was McLean to the rescue again for the Reds. She deposited a third-chance layup to put Roland Park back on top. That started a 7-1 Reds run to end the half as St. Elizabeth simply lost its shooting touch.
The Vikings opened the scoring in the third when Ashley Campbell fed Rory Ciszkowski for a three, but points would be at a premium for both teams. The Vikings would score just four more points in the third on field goals by Lynch and Naia Pulliam. Pulliam’s mid-range jumper at the 5:38 mark drew St. E’s to within three at 28-25. Neither team would score again for more than two and a half minutes until Cameron Levine drained a long two.
Lynch energized the St. E Center with a hot start to a high-scoring fourth. She curled into the lane for two points early, then tied the game at 32 with a triple. But McLean countered quickly, banking in a runner to get the Reds back into the lead with 6:37 to go.
That sent Roland Park on their way. Sophia Deal had a field goal and, later, a three-pointer, and Simmons had a triple and an old-fashioned three-point play. That helped offset the offense from Lynch, who scored the Vikings’ final four field goals.
Lynch finished with 26 points on 11 field goals. Rory Ciszkowski added nine. St. Elizabeth fell to 2-4 and will play Seminaire Saint-Francois of Quebec, Canada, on Monday at 9:30 a.m. on the final day of the Diamond State Classic.
McLean led the Reds with 21. Teammates Simmons (11) and Deal (10) also reached double figures. Roland Park will meet Red Bank Catholic (N.J.) in the fifth-place game Monday at 11:15 a.m.