WILMINGTON — St. Eilzabeth got clutch baskets when it needed them, and the Vikings converted the free throws they had to have to hold off a determined Saint Mark’s team, 46-40, in a boys basketball matchup Feb. 22 at the St. E Center. The win was the Vikings’ fifth in a row following a loss to the Spartans on Feb. 11, their first game after a three-week break.
St. Elizabeth had a three-point lead with 1.9 seconds to go in the first half when Jaden Dickerson was fouled as he threw up a desperation shot from behind half court as the buzzer sounded. Dickerson made all three free throws to increase the lead to five at the break, and those points would prove to be critical.
Jabri White cut two points off the lead at the beginning of the second half, but another foul on a three-point shot gave the Vikings three more attempts from the line. This time, Blake Bryant knocked down all three to get the advantage back to six. But the Spartans stayed close, with Nick Timmons and White scoring back-to-back to cut the Vikings’ lead to 27-25. Dickerson again provided some breathing room for St. E with more magic at the buzzer. This time, he banked in a three-pointer from 30 feet out as the clock reached all zeroes, and it was 35-29 as the fourth quarter began.
Again, White played a part in a comeback attempt. He hit a layup, and after a Spartans rebound, Dom Shepherd went the other way for another layup to pull Saint Mark’s to within two at 37-35. But the Vikings got another clutch three, this time from Jermai Herring, as they foiled yet another Spartans comeback bid. The Spartans had three opportunities to tie after getting the deficit down to two points, but two shots went awry, and the other possession resulted in a turnover.
Dickerson went one for two from the free throw line in the final minute to put the Vikings on top, 42-39, and the Spartans got the rebound after the second shot. That did not result in points, but Carter Marks scored on a free throw with 9.7 seconds left to make the score 42-40. Blake Bryant hit two free throws after that to extend the lead to two possessions, and Jake Shelton added a field goal to provide the final score.
Dickerson finished with 15 for the Vikings, while Herring added 12. St. Elizabeth (6-3) will close out the regular season at home on Thursday at 6 p.m. vs. Howard.
For the Spartans, White led the way with 15 points. Saint Mark’s fell to 6-5 and wraps up its regular season on Wednesday at MOT Charter. Game time is 5 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.