WILMINGTON — The 22nd-seeded Saint Mark’s boys basketball team played a zone defense to perfection in their 41-37 win over No. 11 St. Elizabeth on March 1st in a DIAA state tournament first-round game.
The Vikings won both meetings between the rivals this year, averaging 67 points in those two wins. The Spartans, however, came out in a zone and kept the Vikings’ offense off-balance all night.
The Spartans jumped out to a 12-7 first quarter lead. The Vikings cut into the lead in the second quarter but a thunderous Jabri White dunk sent the Saint Mark’s student section into a frenzy. The Spartans took a 19-17 lead into the break and started the third quarter with the same smothering defense.
The Spartans outscored St. Elizabeth, 13-8, in the third quarter behind a pair of threes by Gavin Marks.
The Spartans’ 32-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter was the largest of the game, but the Vikings brought a pressure defense to cut the lead to 37-34 with 2:54 left after a pair of Kye Rawls free throws. Saint Mark’s grabbed a loose ball on a pair of missed free throws, and Prince DeWitt knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Spartans a 39-36 lead with 20 seconds left.
Rawls was fouled with 8 seconds left and made one free throw, but DeWitt knocked down two more free throws to seal the 41-37 win.
White led the Spartans (13-8) with 13 points, while DeWitt added 11 and Marks nine. They advance to meet the sixth seed, William Penn, Thursday night at 7 p.m. on the road.
The Vikings were led by Rawls, who finished with 11 points. They finished the season with a 15-6 record.
All photos by Jason Winchell.