WILMINGTON — Padua Academy made the most of its offensive opportunities to open up a 13-point halftime lead, and the Pandas never looked back in a 46-31 victory over Saint Mark’s on Feb. 15. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Saint Mark’s, but a scheduling conflict necessitated a change to Padua.
The Pandas seemed to get a boost from being in their cozy gymnasium, although Sophia Messick laid in the first hoop of the night for the Spartans. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Pandas tied it on a runner by Paige Degnan, and they took the lead 30 seconds later on a three-pointer by Natalia Frabizzio. It was the team’s first of seven threes on the night.
The teams were even at 9-9 when Ally McGonigle hit a long baseline two-pointer, but the tide turned after that. Frabizzio put the Pandas on top with two free throws, and the Spartans came up with a few empty possessions. Kate MacLennan took an inbounds pass with eight seconds left in the first and drained a three from the wing for a five-point Padua lead.
Emily Trainer grabbed an offensive rebound in the opening seconds of the second and put the ball in the hoop to extend the Pandas’ lead to seven. But the offenses bogged down after that. The only other points of the first four minutes of the quarter came on a pair of Spartans free throws.
Padua found some offense in the final minutes of the second. Grace Trerotola connected from three-point land, and a bit later Kylie Moor added a three. Saint Mark’s was called for traveling with three seconds to go, giving Padua one more opportunity. Kate MacLennan took the inbounds pass, dribbled just over half court, and launched a shot that banged off the glass and in for the 27-14 lead.
Some shots began to fall after the intermission for the Spartans, but they were able to shave just one point off the Padua lead after three quarters. Saint Mark’s closed the gap to 11 points on several occasions, but they were unable to make enough headway to put the outcome in doubt.
Frabizzio had 15 to lead the Pandas, who also received 10 from MacLennan. The Pandas improved to 2-9 and are scheduled to travel to Archmere on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
For Saint Mark’s, Ava Berardi had 11 points, and Messick added 10. The Spartans (5-7) wrap up the regular season on Friday against Ursuline. The game begins at 7:15 p.m.