HOCKESSIN — St. Elizabeth’s girls basketball team watched a 12-point lead shrink to just one over the course of a few minutes late in the third and early in the fourth quarters, but the Vikings absorbed the punch and went on to a 62-57 win at Sanford on Jan. 21.
The early season battle pitted the Vikings, seeded fourth by Delaware Live/302Sports, against the No. 3 Warriors. The two perennial powerhouses — two of the four teams still standing when the 2019-20 season was canceled — had not met since January 2015. The Vikings’ last win over the Warriors came the season before that.
The game got off to a back-and-forth start, with St. Elizabeth tying the game at 12 on a layup from Olivia Lynch after a long outlet pass from Januarie Tate. But Sanford’s Zy Kilgoe scored the final four points of the quarter to give the hosts a 16-12 lead.
The Vikings’ took charge in the second, led by Rory Ciszkowski. The junior was certifiably hot in the quarter, pulling St. E’s to within one at 18-17 on a three-point shot off a nice drive and kick from Farrah White. She set up on the wing the next time down the floor, and she hit another triple to put the Vikings on top by two, although Abby Meredith answered with a triple of her own to restore the Warriors’ one-point advantage.
Meredith picked up her third foul just after that, sending her to the bench, and the Vikings took advantage. Ciszkowski would hit three more field goals before halftime, including another three, giving her 15 points in the quarter. Naia Pulliam added another five points, and the team’s lead was 10 at the half.
But the young Warriors, who have just one senior and two juniors on the roster, scored nine of the first 11 points of the third, with an Amiya Carroll jumper making the score 36-31. The Vikings, however, found another gear, scoring the next seven on a 12-footer by Tate, a three-pointer from Lynch and a transition layup for Pulliam.
After a timeout, the Warriors began the climb back. Meredith added two more threes as they whittled the St. Elizabeth lead down to just three, 47-44, after three. Two free throws by Dallas Pierce at the beginning of the fourth quarter got it back to a one-point game.
The Vikings responded yet again. Tate gave them some breathing room with a big triple. Ciszkowski added a layup, with an assist for Lynch, who then added a layup of her own to extend the St. E’s run to seven points and the lead to eight. The Warriors staged one more comeback, getting to within three on a steal and bucket from Pierce, but Lynch sealed the win with two late free throws.
Lynch led the way for St. Elizabeth with 21 points. Ciszkowski had 17. The Vikings (4-0) have no breaks on the schedule. They host second-ranked Caravel on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before traveling to No. 1 Conrad next Friday.
Four Warriors reached double figures: Meredith (16), Pierce (13), Carroll (12) and Kilgoe (10). Sanford fell to 2-1 and remains home for its next three games, beginning with Wilmington Friends on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.