WILMINGTON — The top-seeded St. Elizabeth Vikings started slow in their third-round game vs. 16th-seeded Caesar Rodney on March 5, but that didn’t last too long. The Vikings turned a first quarter deficit into a 72-39 win to advance to the quarterfinals on Monday night.
The Riders started the game n a 7-0 run behind six points from Stacey Deputy. The Vikings started chipping away as Rory Ciszkowski hit a jumper and Olivia Lynch scored on a beautiful baseline drive. The Riders kept feeding Deputy, who added six more points to stake the Riders to a 17-12 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
The Vikings got off to a strong start in the second quarter as Ciszkowski hit back-to-back triples to give the Vikings their first lead, 20-17. She then picked up her third foul on the next defensive possession. That, however, didn’t slow the Vikings down. Lynch buried a jumper, and Naia Pulliam scored on a layup to give the Vikings a 32-24 lead at the half.
The Vikings kept it going on both ends of the court in the third quarter behind Lynch and Pulliam. Lynch scored 12 of the 20 points for the Vikings in the stanza to take a 52-32 lead.
The St. Elizabeth defense picked up even more intensity in the final eight minutes, turning turnovers into fast-break layups. Farrah White scored on one to give the Vikings a 60-32 lead. Then, with more than a minute left, Lynch scored on an old fashion play to increase the advantage to 34 points.
Lynch scored 23 points for the Vikings (12-0). Pulliam scored 22 points, while Ciszkowski added 13. They will face eighth-seeded Mount Pleasant, who is making its first trip into the quarterfinals in 40 years.
Deputy led the Riders with 23 points, while senior standout Jada McCullough added 10. The Riders finished their season at 13-3.
All photos by Jason Winchell.