Home Local Sports Second-half run pushes St. Elizabeth past Saint Mark’s in boys basketball showdown:...

Second-half run pushes St. Elizabeth past Saint Mark’s in boys basketball showdown: Photo gallery

Jermai Herring of St. Elizabeth lets a floater go in the first half at Saint Mark's. Herring led all scorers with 22 points. Photo courtesy of Nick Halliday

MILLTOWN — St. Elizabeth boys basketball coach Mike Cassidy called a timeout with 4:11 left in the third quarter of the Vikings’ game Jan. 18 at Saint Mark’s after Spartans forward Jabri White had gone coast to coast for a layup that put Saint Mark’s ahead, 30-26. Whatever Cassidy said in that huddle must have made an impression.

Those were the last points the Vikings would surrender until 4:26 remained in the game. In the interim, St. Elizabeth ran off 14 straight on the way to a 56-43 victory in the highly anticipated matchup. Both teams entered the game with one loss apiece.

The Vikings’ run started shortly after that timeout, as Kye Rawls grabbed a rebound and sprinted the other way for a layup. Next, Leamond Pearce capitalized on a Spartans turnover for his own length-of-the-floor run to a layup that tied the game. Jermai Herring took over the scoring from there. He drained a three-point shot to give St. Elizabeth the lead, connected on a twisting layup, then made a pair of free throws to stake the Vikings to a 37-30 lead heading into the fourth.

Pearce hit a jumper and Herring made a free throw early in the first few minutes of the fourth, extending the lead to 10, before James Baffone scored for Saint Mark’s on a baseline jumper to end the streak. The Vikings, however, would not be caught. They dominated the rebounding and hounded the Spartans defensively, preventing Saint Mark’s from mounting a significant comeback attempt.

Offensively, Pearce’s field goal was the last the Vikings would get on the night, but they made the most of their numerous trips to the free throw line. Their final 17 points, beginning with Herring’s single shot, came from the foul line. Rawls and Herring took all but two of those shots. Rawls made seven of 10 attempts, while Herring was true on eight of 10. Overall in the game, St. Elizabeth made 21 of 26 from the line.

Before the Vikings made their run, Saint Mark’s had held a small lead most of the way. Rawls opened the scoring with a three-pointer, but after some early shooting woes, the Spartans tied the score on a triple by Baffone. The Spartans led, 9-7, after one.

The offenses heated up in the second quarter. Saint Mark’s twice had leads of five points, the second time after a baseline jump shot from Chad Dohl. It was 24-21 Spartans with time running down, but Herring sent the teams into halftime tied by nailing a buzzer-beating three.

Herring finished with a game-high 22 points, while Rawls had 14 and Pearce 12. The Vikings (9-1) host Archmere on Friday night at 7:15.

For the Spartans, Baffone was the lone player to reach double figures; he had 16. Saint Mark’s fell to 7-2 and travels on Thursday to Georgetown to meet Delmarva Christian. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

All photos by Nick Halliday/302Sports.