Home Local Sports Strong defensive effort key as Ursuline advances to DIAA girls basketball semifinals:...

Strong defensive effort key as Ursuline advances to DIAA girls basketball semifinals: Photo gallery

The Force's Catie Cole looks for a teammate as Chamira Marshall Brothers keeps a watchful eye on her. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — Ursuline paired its defensive pressure with some dominant rebounding and balanced scoring, a combination that was too much for Charter School of Wilmington to overcome in a 57-43 final in a Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association girls basketball quarterfinal March 7.

The sixth-seeded Raiders will play Wednesday night in the semifinals against No. 2 Sanford. The Warriors advanced with a 53-27 win over Cape Henlopen.

The Raiders set the tone early, forcing third-seeded Charter into a number of turnovers that were turned into points. After Hannah Kelley opened the game with a bucket, freshman Jordin Tate stole the ball from a Force player and fed it to Chamira Marshall Brothers, who drained a three-pointer. After Danielle Kanse got Charter on the board, Ella Gordon hit from distance.

Gordon struck again after a Force turnover a few minutes later, with her triple extending the lead to 14-4. Charter senior and leading scorer Emma Brown went inside for two late in the quarter to start what would become a big night for her. Ursuline’s lead after one was 10 points.

The teams played an even second quarter. The Force opened the quarter on a 5-0 run to cut their deficit in half, with Claire Stella getting the final three on a free throw and a runner. But Marshall Brothers stymied the Charter zone defense with her second three-pointer and the fifth of the night for the Raiders, and the lead was back to eight. Ursuline got the advantage back to 10 by halftime.

The second half began with a 7-2 run for the Raiders, including an impressive play by Tate. She missed an 18-foot jumper from the free throw circle, but she followed the shot and snagged a rebound under the basket. Tate deposited the loose change for two.

That extended the lead to 14. It would reach 15 a bit later after an old-fashioned three-point play for Kelley, and that was the margin after three thanks to a Gordon triple at the end of the third.

With Ursuline milking the clock in the fourth and the outcome not really in doubt, Brown’s night came more into focus as the quarter moved along. She needed 19 points to reach 1,000 for her high school career, and she had 11 when the fourth began.

Brown started the fourth with a corner field goal, and a few minutes later she scored on a follow shot. She stole a ball from an Ursuline player shortly thereafter, but she passed up the scoring opportunity for an assist instead to a wide-open Kanse. She did score the next time the Force had the ball, leaving her two short of the milestone.

But Brown was forced to leave the game with a left knee injury with a few minutes to go. She re-entered with a minute to go, and she scored the game’s final field goal with 15 seconds remaining to reach 1,000 exactly.

Four Raiders reached double figures, led by Gordon with 15. The others were Kelley (12), Grillo (11) and Marshall Brothers (10). Ursuline (14-7) had seven three-pointers.

Brown topped all scorers with 19. Sanchez had 10. Charter finished the season with a record of 17-4.

All photos by Mike Lang.