WILMINGTON — Saint Mark’s used an early 10-0 run to seize the lead from Conrad, and the Spartans went on to a 48-35 victory at the Wolves Den on Dec. 20.
Aubrey Mundy gave the Red Wolves a 4-2 lead at the 6:00 mark on a short field goal, but the Spartans answered and then some. Hailey Short tied the score with a pair of free throws 30 seconds later, and Sophia Baffone fed Sophia Messick for the go-ahead three-point shot on their next possession. Next, Lauren McDonald knocked down two free throws, and Baffone hit her first three of the day to make the score 12-4.
Conrad’s Erin Glanz ended the run with a left-handed scoop shot with 2:40 to go in the first, but the Red Wolves would spend the rest of the game playing catch-up. Messick and McDonald each would hit triples to put Saint Mark’s up by double digits, but Conrad scored three points in the last 37 seconds of the quarter to get to within 18-11 after one.
The Spartans’ shooting cooled off in the second quarter, and the Red Wolves were getting multiple looks on their possessions. Conrad was able to cut the Spartans’ advantage to 18-14 after a Rana Jackson free throw, and Saint Mark’s was held scoreless until 3:08 remained in the half when Messick hit a runner. She was responsible for all six of the Spartans’ second-quarter points. The lead was eight at the break.
Five straight points from Baffone early in the third — on a baseline jumper and a three-pointer — got the Saint Mark’s lead back to double digits at 32-18, and that 14-point margin happened twice more in the third. But the young Red Wolves, playing in front of an exuberant student section, did what they could to stay close.
When Rory Gillin hit a bucket with 3:12 to go in the game, Conrad trailed by nine at 40-31. The Red Wolves brought the pressure on the Spartans, who missed a few shots, but the home team was unable to cut further into the lead. Baffone brought some relief to the Saint Mark’s bench and fans with 1:49 remaining when she drained a key three. That sparked the Spartans, who increased the advantage to 15 on a traditional three-point play by Keira Benoit.
Messick led the Spartans with 15, while Baffone had 13 and McDonald added nine. Saint Mark’s (5-1) is off until Dec. 30 when they meet Newark Charter at 8 p.m. at the Tatnall School in the final game of the Diamond State Classic.
Jackson led a balanced Conrad scoring effort with nine points. The Red Wolves (2-3) host Delcastle on Thursday at 5:15 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.