WILMINGTON – The unbeaten Woodbridge Blue Raiders rode a 23-5 third quarter to defeat the sixth-ranked Padua Pandas, 47-43, on Jan. 24. The Pandas hadn’t played in 12 days, and the Blue Raiders endured a long bus ride, and it showed early as both teams struggled shooting.
Michelle Kozicki dominated inside as she scored on an offensive putback, and then hit a mid-range jumper to give the Pandas an 8-4 lead. The Pandas used an early run in the second quarter behind Kozicki and Paige Kenton to stretch their lead to 17-7.
Both Kozicki and Kenton, however, picked up their second foul and took seats on the bench. The Blue Raiders found their stroke, with Sierra Smith hitting a deep three, and Tykeya Nelson banking one in to make it 17-13. Margaret Schulte played key minutes for Padua and made two free throws and a layup to help the hosts to a 22-14 halftime advantage.
Haley Scott hit an early three-pointer in the second half for the Pandas, but Kozicki and Kenton each picked up fouls and returned to the bench with the lead at eight. Woodbridge got another pair of three-pointers – Smith and Nelson struck again – before Janeira Scott took over. She scored 11 points to lead a 20-2 run to put the Blue Raiders in front, 37-27, at the end of the third quarter.
The Pandas fell behind, 39-27, before Kozicki and Kenton helped them chip away at the lead. They cut it to 41-37 after Scott made a free throw on a Woodbridge bench technical. But Janeira Scott stole an inbounds pass and scored, then she fed Cha’Kya Johnson to extend the lead to 45-37. The Blue Raiders held off the Pandas despite going 0-for-7 from the foul line in the final stanza. Padua also struggled from the line in the fourth, making just five of 13.
Kozicki led the Pandas (7-4) with 16 points, while Kenton added 12. They kick off a three-game road stretch on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Archbishop Prendergast (Pa.) before heading to Ursuline on Monday and Caravel next Thursday.
Janeira Scott finished with a game-high 21 to lead the Blue Raiders, who remained undefeated at 13-0. Nelson added 11, including three three-pointers. Woodbridge is at Sussex Academy on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.