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Top-seeded St. Elizabeth High School leads three Catholic teams into DIAA boys basketball tournament

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Steven Nixon Jr. sees an opening for St. Elizabeth. The Vikings are the top seed in the state tournament, which begins Tuesday. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

St. Elizabeth, which lost just one of 20 games during the regular season, is the top seed in the 2024 Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association boys basketball tournament, which gets going on Feb. 27. The 24-team field was announced Feb. 23 in Dover.

The Vikings are one of three Catholic high schools in the boys field. Salesianum, the defending champion, is seeded fourth, and Saint Mark’s is sixth. All three teams received a first-round bye.

St. Elizabeth, coached by Mike Cassidy, won its first 18 games before falling to Sanford, which earned the fifth seed in the tourney. The Vikings had wins this season over tournament teams Salesianum, Saint Mark’s, William Penn, Dover, Middletown, all in the top eight, as well as Howard, MOT Charter, Delaware Military Academy, Conrad and Appoquinimink, all of whom made the postseason.

Senior Aiden Tobiason leads the Vikings, but he is not alone. St. Elizabeth can count on a number of players to step up, including Kenny Hunter Jr., Steven Nixon Jr., Julius Wright and Tobias Reese.

St. Elizabeth will host the winner of No. 17 Mount Pleasant at No. 16 Odessa on Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. The Vikings did not meet either the Green Knights or the Ducks this season.

The Sals’ Luke Brown disrupts this shot by the Senators’ Chase Little.

Salesianum finished with a 12-8 record against a schedule filled with challenges from around the region. The Sals lost to Philadelphia Catholic League powers Archbishop Wood and Neumann-Goretti, but those and other games provided valuable experience for the players and bonus points that helped their seeding.

Seniors Isaiah Hynson, Kareem Thomas, Zach Swartout, Justin Hinds and Luke Brown give this team a veteran presence that can come in handy during the tournament.

The Sals, coached by Taylor Trevisan, will host the winner of No. 20 Smyrna at No. 13 Delaware Military Academy on Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. Salesianum defeated Smyrna earlier this season.

Alassan N’Diaye of the Spartans goes up with the left hand.

Back in the postseason after a one-year absence, Saint Mark’s had one of the biggest season-over-season improvements in the state. The Spartans finished 16-4, seven games better than the previous season. The defeated tournament teams Conrad, Laurel and DMA this season, and they also played St. Elizabeth (twice) and Salesianum.

Coach Lonnie Wright relies on a veteran lineup that includes seniors Chase Wright and Christian Taylor and junior Mike Friend, along with their top scorer, sophomore Alassan N’Diaye. Wright can go deep into his bench as well.

The Spartans will await the winner of No. 22 Woodbridge at No. 11 Appoquinimink. Their second-round game is set for Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. Saint Mark’s did not play either team this year.

All tickets to DIAA postseason basketball until the semifinal are available at https://gofan.co/app/school/DIAA. They must be purchased online.

The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 2, with the sites and times to be determined. The semifinals, on March 7, and the championship, on March 9, will be held at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.

The bracket is posted below.