WILMINGTON — Padua’s basketball team took the lead from Saint Mark’s early in the third, and the Pandas did not relent, going on to a 53-42 home victory on Jan. 10.
The shot that gave the Pandas the lead for good was emblematic of their night. Lillianna DiMarco took a mid-range baseline jumper that was deflected by a Spartans defender. DiMarco kept her eye on the ball, grabbed it as she took a step toward the basket and laid the ball in off glass to put her team up, 28-27, That began an 8-2 run that gave Padua a 34-29 lead.
Out of the timeout, the Pandas’ Abby Grillo drained a three-point shot, although Sophia Baffone answered for the Spartans. Another Grillo field goal a few minutes later, however, stretched the Pandas’ lead to nine.
Saint Mark’s climbed back to within five when Sophia Karch scored, but Grillo ended the scoring in the third quarter on a slick up-and-under to send Padua into the fourth up by seven.
After a high-scoring third, the final quarter did not feature as many points, but the intensity was still there. The Pandas controlled the offensive boards, creating multiple opportunities to extend the lead. Abigail Hayes and Kai Dwirantwi both had field goals, the only two for Padua in the fourth, but the Pandas’ defense kept the Spartans off the scoreboard. Saint Mark’s went nearly three minutes before they made a free throw.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair between the longtime rivals. Dwirantwi had three inside field goals in the first quarter and 10 points by halftime, while Lauren McDonald had nine in the first half. Padua had a four-point lead early in the second but hit four free throws to tie the score at 17, but Grace Trerotola answered after the final free throw with a three for the Pandas. The lead changed hands four or five times in the final two and a half minutes of the half.
Dwirantwi finished with 17 to lead the Pandas, who also got 11 from Trerotola. Padua improved to 7-2 and will visit Wilmington Friends on Jan. 16 at 4 p.m.
For Saint Mark’s, McDonald had 15, while Hailey Short added nine. The Spartans (7-2) are back on the court Thursday night at Red Lion. Tipoff is at 6.
Photos by Mike Lang.