Home Local Sports Stellar defensive effort, Sophia Messick’s 24 help lift Saint Mark’s girls basketball...

Stellar defensive effort, Sophia Messick’s 24 help lift Saint Mark’s girls basketball past Delcastle: Photo gallery

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Hailey Short looks to drive the lane for Saint Mark's in the Spartans' game Feb. 11 at Delcastle. Saint Mark's is the 14th seed.

WILMINGTON — Saint Mark’s girls basketball team put some space between themselves and Delcastle in the second quarter, held steady in the third and pulled away for a 55-35 victory on Feb. 11.

The Cougars, playing a run-and-gun style, jumped out to an 8-2 lead, with #4D getting four of those. But Sophia Messick responded with a three-pointer, and the Spartans’ pressure began wreaking havoc for Delcastle. Saint Mark’s run hit eight points when Gina Cantagallo came off the bench and almost immediately drained a three that put the Spartans on top for the first time at 10-8.

The Cougars struggled from the field in the second quarter, and they fought the turnover bug as well, and the Spartans took advantage. Moira Marcozzi showed off her long-distance abilities with a three-pointer, increasing the lead to 15-10. Later in the second, Messick pushed the advantage to double figures. She hit a three, moved back to play defense and poked the ball away from a Delcastle player, then went three-quarters of the length of the court for a layup and a 22-12 lead.

The Cougars managed just four points in the stanza, with Ny-Asia Brown scoring them. Two came on a field goal early on, and the others were free throws in the final minute.

Brown scored eight of Delcastle’s 14 first-half points, and the Spartans began the second half by double-teaming her. The Cougars adjusted by sending the ball inside to their senior center, Emani Lucas-Davis, who ended up with three short field goals and a free throw in the third quarter, and to Cydney Brown, who had nine second-half points.

But Saint Mark’s offense was clicking in the second half. Bella Prado matched Lucas-Davis with three buckets from close range, and Ava Frohnapfel provided additional firepower down low with four third-quarter points.

When they weren’t scoring inside, Messick was busy from the outside. She hit a three-pointer in each of the first three quarters, then tacked on six more points in the fourth. Prado added four more as well in the final eight minutes.

Messick had 24 to lead Saint Mark’s, with Prado also in double figures with 10. The Spartans (12-4) host Padua on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

For the Cougars, Burton finished with 13, and Lucas-Davis had nine. Delcastle (6-10) visits Mount Pleasant on Monday at 3:30 p.m.

All photos by Mike Lang.