WILMINGTON – St. Elizabeth’s boys basketball team could do little but watch as Concord raced past them in the third quarter, building up an eight-point lead with three and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter. Following a timeout, however, the Vikings shots started to fall, and they pulled away in the fourth for a 51-39 in their regular-season finale.
The first half was marked mostly by subpar shooting and missed opportunities, and the host Vikings held a slim 18-16 advantage. It didn’t take long for the Raiders to overtake St. Elizabeth once the second half began.
Eric Neal tied the game with a six-footer. Jamere Crawford untied it with a baseline three-pointer, and after a single free throw by the Vikings’ Jordan Brown, Crawford struck again from deep to push Concord’s lead to 24-21. The Vikings’ shots were not falling, and the Raiders added three more points to their lead on a Quadaire Boyer free throw and a backdoor layup from Neal.
Concord was causing problems defensively with its full-court press, and after the Neal field goal St. Elizabeth coach Matt Rubincam called timeout with 3:38 left in the third.
Before the quarter ended, the Vikings scored 13 more points. The offense included two field goals by Jaden Dickerson, including an old-fashioned three-point play; two buckets and two free throws by Ray Jones; and two points from Tyler Tillinghast. They tied the game at 30, but Crawford dialed long distance for the third time in the quarter to restore a three-point lead for the Raiders. Jones scored late for the Vikings to make it a 33-32 Concord lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was all Vikings, who scored the first 16 points of the stanza. Justin Money put his team back on top for the first time since the beginning of the third quarter with a pair of free throws. The Vikings, who had been dominated in rebounding for most of the game, started holding the Raiders to one shot. Grant Tate came off the bench to give St. Elizabeth a boost in the fourth, scoring six points. Money added a baseline two-hand stuff for emphasis, and he made four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Boyer finally stopped the run with a three-pointer with 1:35 remaining in the game, the first points for the Raiders in the quarter.
Crawford led all scorers with 19 points, including five three-pointers. The Raiders (9-10) wrap up their regular season on Tuesday at Salesianum at 7:30 p.m., then will wait to see if they are among the 24 teams in the state tournament.
For the Vikings, Money was the only player in double figures, scoring 11. Dickerson and Nasir Brown each had nine. St. Elizabeth finished the regular season 11-9 and will find out on Friday where they will be seeded in the tournament.