WILMINGTON — St. Elizabeth’s boys basketball team took a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter of their game Feb. 17 at Conrad, and that was nearly not enough. The Vikings withstood a late charge by the Red Wolves, escaping with a 48-45 victory.
Paced by Jaden Dickerson and Kye Rawls, the Vikings were in control for the first three quarters. Rawls opened the game with a three-point shot, but for much of the night St. Elizabeth relied on slashing, driving field goals to build their lead. A healthy rebounding advantage also helped the Vikings keep Conrad at bay.
The Vikings took their biggest lead at 35-21 when Rawls drained his second three of the night about halfway through the third. The lead did not move much until the fourth quarter, when Conrad began its comeback attempt in earnest.
The Red Wolves got to within single digits for the first time since early in the game at 41-32 with 6:45 to go when Che’ Jackson knocked down a long three-pointer. Jackson, Conrad’s leading scorer, missed a few minutes in the first half after picking up his third personal foul, but he managed to not accumulate any more on the evening. Jaylin Horsey helped the Red Wolves take advantage of a St. E’s turnover with a baseline drive that made it a seven-point game.
Horsey struck again after another Vikings turnover, as he spun around a defender and laid the ball in, stretching the Red Wolves’ run to seven points. Dickerson stopped the bleeding with a lefthanded layup. It would be St. Elizabeth’s only field goal of the final quarter. He was fouled on the shot and made the accompanying free throw, sending the lead to eight.
Jackson and Michael Spadea would hit field goals down the stretch to keep the Red Wolves within striking distance. Leamond Pierce made a free throw with 11.8 seconds remaining; the ball bounced off the rim three times before falling through. Spychalski grabbed a key offensive rebound after Pierce’s second shot missed, and Pierce went one for two from the line again. Jackson raced down the floor and put a shot in off the glass for the final bucket of the night.
Dickerson and Rawls provided all of the Vikings’ scoring in the first, with each accounting for seven points. Five different St Elizabeth players scored in the second, and the Red Wolves managed just four field goals in those eight minutes. On their missed shots, the Vikings had a commanding edge in rebounds, thanks in part to the work of Spychalski and Jermai Herring, who grabbed a bunch of boards. Blake Bryant connected for a three, but St. Elizabeth found more success attacking in the paint. That included four points inside from Kendrick Segars who gave his team some valuable minutes.
Dickerson and Herring each scored four in the third, again from consistently going to the net. The difference in the third quarter was that the Red Wolves found more success from the field than they had in the first half.
Dickerson led the way with 18 points for the Vikings, and Rawls went for 12. St. Elizabeth (4-3) is scheduled to host Archmere on Friday at 7:15 p.m.
For the Red Wolves, Jackson had 20 points. Conrad fell to 7-4; they travel to Wilmington Charter on Saturday for a noon start.