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Sanford’s strong second half leads Warriors past Padua, into DIAA girls basketball semifinals

Haley Quickel drives the baseline for Padua in the DIAA quarterfinal against Sanford. Dialog photo/Jason Winchell

GREENVILLE — Third-seeded Sanford got a combined 47 points from their two seniors, Kanisa Tucker and Allie Kubek, in a 76-46 win over No. 6 Padua in a DIAA girls basketball quarterfinal matchup on March 9 at Tatnall School. The Warriors advance to play the second seed, Cape Henlopen, on Wednesday night in the semifinals.

It was Padua who jumped out to a fast start as they took an early 11-4 lead. Senior Michelle Kozicki scored the first point on a free throw, then added a driving layup. Kate MacLennan followed with a pair of jumpers, and Brooke Emmi added two free throws.

Tess McMenamin lets a shot go for the Pandas. Dialog photo/Jason Winchell

The game seemed to change with 4:56 left in the first quarter as Kozicki was called for an offensive foul, her second of the game. The Warriors took over with her on the bench as they finished the quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Kubek had seven of those nine points and finished with nine in the first quarter.

The second quarter was on a seesaw for the first three minutes. MacLennan hit a deep three-pointer to open the quarter, but Kubek answered with a layup. Emmi added her own layup, only to see Kubek get another. Kozicki and Tucker then exchanged baskets. The Pandas took their final lead of the game at 20-19 when Kozicki scored once more.

Sanford ended the first half on a 13-3 run to take a 32-23 lead at the break.

Padua started the third quarter on a run as Kozicki scored inside, then added a free throw on the next possession. Emmi turned a steal into a layup to cut the deficit to four at 32-28.

Kubek took over, beginning with an inside put back, followed by a corner three. She scored 11 points in the third as the Warriors finished the frame on an 18-7 run to extend the lead to 15 after three.

The Warriors finished the game strong, as Tucker and Kubek dominated inside in the final quarter. Kozicki accounted for all 11 points the Pandas scored in the fourth.

Kubek had 31 to lead all scorers, while Tucker added 16. The Warriors improved to 20-2.

Kozicki ended a stellar high school career with 26 points. MacLennan had nine. The Pandas finished the season 14-7.