GREENVILLE — A layup by Riley Hevelow 40 seconds into the game gave Newark Charter a short-lived lead over Saint Mark’s, but the Spartans would quickly take control in a 44-27 win on the second day of the Diamond State Classic at Tatnall School on Dec. 28.
The Spartans played a smothering defense against the Patriots, creating offensive opportunities all evening by dominating the rebounding and creating turnovers throughout the game. They took the lead on a free throw from Sophia Messick, who was fouled on a drive after intercepting a Newark Charter pass. After the Patriots leveled the score at three, Messick found the net on a corner three, and she added a free throw on a third-chance shot shortly thereafter.
A three-pointer from Lauren McDonald, followed by a transition layup by Messick increased the Spartans’ lead to 12-3, but those would be the team’s last points of the quarter. A Hevelow triple was part of a quarter-ending 6-0 run to cut Saint Mark’s lead to 12-9 after one.
The Spartans separated themselves from Newark Charter in the second. They held the Patriots to just four points – all on free throws – while getting points from five different players.
Danielle DiDomenico got the scoring started nearly two minutes into the quarter with a mid-range jumper, but Kourtney Warren got those two points back for Newark Charter on a pair of free throws to once again get the difference to three points. Messick, however, scored on a baseline drive, and the Spartans were on their way.
A big spark in the quarter came from junior forward Bella Prado. She set up shop in the key, and the Spartans kept feeding her. Hailey Short found Prado underneath for a layup. Prado went to the free throw line on the Spartans’ next two trips down the court, making one each time. After a Lauren McDonald three, Prado went down low once more, and she and Katie Lennon would both score inside before halftime.
The second half was evenly played, and the Spartans were never threatened.
Messick had 14 to pace the Spartans, while Prado reached double figures with 10. McDonald and Lennon each had eight. Saint Mark’s improved to 6-2 and is back in action Monday at Delcastle for a 3:45 p.m. tip.
Hevelow led all scorers with 17. The Patriots (3-1) host First State Military on Jan. 6 at 3:45 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.