WILMINGTON — After watching Woodbridge shoot its way to within two points at halftime on Feb. 5 at the St. E Center, the St. Elizabeth girls’ basketball team regrouped, turned up the defense and eventually pulled away from the Blue Raiders for a 55-39 victory. It was the Vikings’ ninth consecutive win.
The Vikings took a 9-2 lead in the first on a Rory Ciszkowski three-point shot, but the Blue Raiders bounced back with two free throws by Payton Keeler, followed by a lengthy three-pointer from Reghan Robinson, who had just begun to show off her shooting range.
Ericka Huggins continued a strong week at the beginning of the second quarter. She blocked a Woodbridge shot at one end, grabbed the loose ball and dribbled the length of the court for an easy two. She added another few blocks, but the Vikings could not take advantage. Keeler hit a triple, and a mid-range jumper by Robinson brought the visitors from Sussex County back to within three at 15-12.
St. Elizabeth managed to get their lead to seven at 21-14, but the Blue Raiders again showed their resilience. Iyanna Mims scored on a field goal and added a free throw on another possession before Robinson struck again from somewhere near Clayton Street to cut the St. E lead to 23-20 witn a minute remaining in the half. Seven seconds before intermission, Robinson connected on her longest three-point shot of the afternoon, and her Blue Raiders trailed by just two at the break.
The Vikings opened the second scoring when a steal turned into a three-pointer for Huggins. The next eight points for the home team belonged to Farrah White, and they changed the direction of the contest. White hit two free throws to increase the Vikings’ advantage to 30-23, but Woodbridge scored the next four. That’s when White took over on offense. She drove the lane for a layup, then took a pass from Sydney Hilliard after a defensive rebound and converted that into a layup. Finally, White pickpocketed a Blue Raider and went the length of the floor for two more. Hilliard added two free throws, and she intercepted a Woodbridge pass and scored with five seconds remaining in the third, putting the Vikings ahead, 40-27.
Ciszkowski scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, but Huggins did her two points better, dominating the boards and showing some shooting touch around the basket. Robinson did add two more triples toward the end of the contest to make the final score a bit closer.
Huggins led three Vikings in double figures with 18. White added 15 and Ciszkowski 14. St. Elizabeth (13-2) hosts MOT Charter on Monday at 7:15 p.m.
The Blue Raiders got 20 points from Robinson and 10 from Keeler. Woodbridge is now 10-2 and plays its next three games at home, beginning Monday at 6 p.m. against Lake Forest.
All photos by Jason Winchell.