NEWARK — Saint Mark’s girls basketball team went on a 10-point run covering a seven-minute span in the first and second quarters to take control of its Dec. 5 game at Newark, and the Spartans went on to a 51-32 nonconference win.
The host Yellow Jackets held a 9-6 lead with three minutes to go in the first quarter when one of their players was whistled for a technical foul. Serena Pluta made one of the two free throws, and the Spartans were on their way. Ava Berardi tied the game with a field goal a bit later, and Sophia Messick gave them the lead on a runner with a minute left. That’s how the first quarter ended.
It took more than 90 seconds for the first points of the second quarter to come, and Pluta provided those on a third-chance basket. She was fouled on the play and added the free throw. Berardi hit a 17-footer a minute later to make it 16-9 before Newark’s Selena Whelan-Postell dropped a runner from the lane. Allyson McGonigle added two field goals in the final minutes of the half to help the Spartans to a 22-15 lead at the break.
Saint Mark’s put the game out of reach with a 19-point third quarter. Pluta scored four more points before picking up her third and fourth fouls in quick succession, and Sophia Messick replaced her with 4:37 to go in the third. Messick paid immediate dividends when she nailed a corner three to push the lead to 35-19, although the Jackets’ Geonua Pipkin replied with a triple of her own. Messick scored the final bucket of the third on a second-chance hoop to extend the lead to 41-23.
Messick added four more points in the fourth, and Alyssa Cresto completed an impressive debut with her final four as the Spartans would not let the Yellow Jackets back into contention.
Pluta led the Spartans with 12 points, while Messick and Cresto, both freshmen, had 11 and 10, respectively. The Spartans are 1-0 and will host Polytech on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
For the Yellow Jackets (0-1), Pipkin scored nine points; Dymond Gordon added 8. Newark is off until Dec. 13, when they hit the road to Concord for a 3:30 p.m. tip.