Home Local Sports St. Elizabeth edges Delcastle in boys basketball home opener: Photo gallery

St. Elizabeth edges Delcastle in boys basketball home opener: Photo gallery

Leamond Pierce takes a shot for the Vikings. He had 12 points. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — With their leading scorer sidelined, the St. Elizabeth boys basketball team needed other options to present themselves in the Vikings’ home opener against Delcastle on Dec. 14. The primary option was Jermai Herring, who put his team on his back in the second half to help them to a 56-55 win over the Cougars.

Herring scored 18 of his game-high 29 points in the second half as St. Elizabeth — without an under-the-weather Kye Rawls — held off the pesky Cougars. It was a back-and-forth affair, with the biggest lead for either team being five points. St. Elizabeth last held a five-point margin when the game was 52-47 in the closing minutes.

The Vikings led, 24-23, at the half, and they found an offensive weapon in Leamond Pierce as the third quarter opened. He had six in the third until being forced to leave after picking up his third personal foul with 5:31 remaining.

Delcastle took advantage of his absence. The Cougars trailed, 32-29, but a 12-foot bucket by A.J. Jones cut that to a point, and Aiden Laws followed by stealing the inbounds pass and driving to put the visitors on top, 34-33.

Herring, who had one field goal before the timeout, went to work after the stoppage. He hit a shot to put the Vikings back on top, then drew a foul on a Delcastle player and followed that with another bucket to make it 36-33 St. E. Julian Jackson knotted the score with a three-pointer, and the score was tied at 40 heading into the fourth.

Herring began the fourth with a triple, and Julius Wright went one for two from the line to get the Vikings a four-point advantage. But the offense went cold after that, and Jones eventually tied the game after a St. Elizabeth turnover. The Vikings found their stroke, and they scored eight of the next 11 points, capped by a Wright triple, to open up the 52-47 advantage.

Delcastle cut that to a single point with 1:30 remaining two inside buckets, but with the score 54-52 Vikings, Pierce drained both ends of a one-and-one for a seemingly safe margin. The Vikings needed each of those points because Laws hit an off-balance three-pointer as time expired.

Pierce (12) and Wright (10) joined Herring in double figures. Herring and Pierce combined to go 10 for 10 from the free throw line. The Vikings (3-0) play the second of seven straight at the St. E Center on Friday when William Penn visits for a 7:15 p.m. tip.

All 11 Cougars who played scored, led by Laws with 16 and Jones with 11. Delcastle (0-2) hosts Delaware Military on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. as they begin a four-game homestand.

All photos by Mike Lang.