WILMINGTON – Ursuline’s Jezelle “GG” Banks has been in the spotlight for a while for her basketball abilities, and on Feb. 3, the freshman did a bit of everything for the Raiders. She scored 28 points, grabbed a handful of rebounds and added several steals and assists as Ursuline, the top-ranked girls team in Delaware, held off a stiff challenge from Imhotep Institute Charter of Philadelphia.
The game was part of the SL24 Memorial Classic, which benefits the UnLocke the Light Foundation. It was started in memory of Sean Locke, a Mount Aviat Academy and Saint Mark’s High School who took his own life in 2018. The foundation’s aim is to provide mental health resources for young people and to erase the stigma that some people feel when they ask for help. This year’s tournament raised more than $609,000.
The game opened with Banks and fellow freshman Taylor Brown teaming up for the first field goal. Banks won the tap, grabbed the ball and sent a no-look pass to Brown under the hoop for a layup. Banks then stole an Imhotep pass, faked a pass behind her back and scored on a layup.
Despite the early wizardry, however, the game remained close thanks in part to the Panthers’ size. They were able to get second and third chances and stayed close to Ursuline. Anise Geiger was particularly effective, scoring seven first-quarter points, and the first ended with Banks finding Jazz Wesley for a layup with one second left on the clock for a 19-16 lead.
The Raiders’s hots were not falling early in the second, and Geiger made it a one-point game with an inside attempt. With Ursuline on top, 23-22, Emma Anthony drained a three-pointer, and both Banks and Brown had triples before the half ended with the Raiders up by 10.
The Raiders’ lead got to 15 points after Ursuline scored the first five points of the second half, and, with Brown providing much of the offense, the lead remained at 15 as the game entered the fourth quarter.
Kayla Thompson opened the fourth with a three, and Aubrey Wroten got hot inside, and with 5:18 to go, Ursuline’s lead was down to 50-42. The Raiders got field goals from both Banks and Brown, but Thompson cut the lead to six with a corner three at the 2:31 mark. With the Raiders on top, 57-51, Sklyar Bolden came up with a huge offensive rebound and fed Chamira Marshall Brothers for a layup. Marshall Brothers added two more layups as Ursuline closed out the tough win.
Brown had 13 to join Banks in double figures. Ursuline (11-3) will travel to No. 2 Caravel on Thursday for a 7:15 p.m. start.
Photos by Mike Lang.