Home Local Sports Ursuline Academy leads five Catholic high schools in DIAA girls basketball tournament

Ursuline Academy leads five Catholic high schools in DIAA girls basketball tournament

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Ursuline's Emma Anthony applies pressure defensively during the SL24 Memorial Classic earlier in February. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

Five Catholic high schools are among the 24 teams that will compete for the 2024 Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association girls basketball championship. The seeds were announced Feb. 23 in Dover.

Ursuline tops those schools, coming in as the second seed. They topped No. 3 St. Elizabeth on a tiebreaker; the Raiders defeated the Vikings back in early December, and head-to-head is the first tiebreaker. Padua is in as the fourth seed and, like Ursuline and St. Elizabeth, will enjoy a first-round bye. Archmere earned the ninth seed, and Saint Mark’s is 15th.

The Auks’ Lucy Oliver drives toward the basket on Tatnall’s Mackenzie McGrisken. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

The Auks went 12-8 this season after starting the year 1-4. They have wins over tournament teams Howard, Delaware Military Academy, Conrad and Wilmington Charter, and they also played Appoquinimink, Ursuline, Caravel, St. Elizabeth and Padua, all in the top eight, as well as Wilmington Friends.

Coach Dan Pisani gets points from Lucy Oliver and Bridget Malloy, and the Auks are known for tenacious defense. They also tend to outrebound their opponents. Archmere will host No. 24 Smyrna on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Moglia Fieldhouse. The winner will visit No. 8 Appoquinimink on March 1 at 7 p.m

Ava Frohnapfel of the Spartans looks over Padua’s Riley Bransfield.

Also getting a home game in the first round is Saint Mark’s, who also went 12-8 in 2023-24. Coach Val Karch’s team had a challenging schedule that included tournament teams A.I. DuPont, Wilmington Charter (twice), Conrad, Padua, Ursuline (twice), DMA, St. Elizabeth and Friends.

A number of players can score for the Spartans, including Lauren McDonald, Sophia Baffone, Sophia Karch and Hailey Short. Karch is not shy about going deep into her bench for contributions.

The Spartans will host No. 18 Cape Henlopen on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. The teams last met in the second round of last year’s tournament, with the Vikings eking out a one-point win. The winner of this game travels to Ursuline on March 1 at 7 p.m.

The Raiders, under the guidance of coach John Noonan, went 14-6 against a schedule that included a challenging out-of-state slate. One of those games, the regular-season finale, was at Long Island Lutheran in New York, the No. 2 team in the country. In Delaware, they also played tournament teams Padua, St. Elizabeth, Archmere, A.I. DuPont, Saint Mark’s (twice), Caravel (the top seed), Woodbridge, Sanford and Cape Henlopen.

Raiders freshmen GG Banks and Taylor Brown have drawn headlines all season for their play. They can score and play defense, but they are not alone. Skylar Bolden, Jazzlyn Wesley and Emma Anthony normally join them in the starting lineup.

Taniyah Reese connects on a shot for the Vikings.

The third seed, St. Elizabeth, went 17-3 under coach Tye Taylor. They played a challenging in-state schedule that included Ursuline, Padua (twice), Appoquinimink, Conrad, Wilmington Charter, Saint Mark’s, Caravel, Archmere, Sanford, Howard and DMA.

Ericka Huggins, a senior, leads the way for the Vikings, scoring a good percentage of their points and providing size in the middle. She is joined by ZaMylah Seda-Owens, Milan Paulin, Taniyah Reese and Makayla Sullivan, among others.

St. Elizabeth will host the winner of No. 19 Conrad at No. 14 DMA. All three teams are members of the Diamond State Athletic Conference.

Padua’s Abby Grillo has a few steps on DMA’s Maya Hill. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

Finally, Padua checks in at the fourth seed after going 16-4, one year after finishing 7-13. Coach Denise Igo-Sackett can count on Abby Grillo for a good percentage of the Pandas’ scoring, but others, including Grace Trerotola and Kai Dwirantwi, are options on offense. Abby Hayes runs the offense from the point. Scoring points is not normally an issue. They also play tough defense.

Padua took on Ursuline, Appoquinimink, St. Elizabeth (twice), Saint Mark’s (twice), Friends, Dover, DMA, A.I. DuPont, Hodgson and Archmere, along with a few tough foes from elsewhere.

The Pandas are set to welcome the winner of No. 20 Hodgson at No. 13 Howard on March 1 at 7 p.m.

Tickets for all tournament games through the quarterfinals are available at https://gofan.co/app/school/DIAA. They must be purchased online.

The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 4, the semifinals on the 6th, and the championship on March 9. The semis and final will be played at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.

The full bracket is below.