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Ursuline basketball finishes strong at Diamond State Classic with win over Notre Dame (Pa.): Photo gallery

Skylar Bolden of Ursuline attempts to get around Lizzie Halligan of Notre Dame. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

GREENVILLE — After a big win the previous night against Plymouth-Whitemarsh, the Ursuline basketball team had just half a day to turn their attention to the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur out of Villanova, Pa. But the Raiders were ready, scoring 23 first-quarter points on the way to a 67-50 victory on the final day of the Diamond State Classic at Tatnall School.

The Irish also came to play, and midway through the first quarter they held an 11-10 lead after a field goal by Katie Halligan. The teams were sprinting up and down the court, successfully scoring on many of the possessions. The game slowed for a minute as Gigi Banks gave the Raiders the lead with two free throws, and Abby Grillo increased that to four with her second three-pointer of the quarter. Ursuline finished the first on an 8-0 run for a 23-13 lead, with the team’s stellar defense creating several offensive opportunities.

The Raiders’ offense cooled in the second, and they didn’t score their first point until more than half the eight minutes had expired. They remained solid on defense, however, and the Irish could not get any closer than six. Ursuline was able to add a point to their first-quarter margin, taking a 31-20 lead into the break.

The Raiders and Irish got the offense going again in the third. Gigi Banks dazzled the crowd, covering a lot of ground as she scored from outside and inside, picking up 10 points in the quarter. She also ran end-to-end after a rebound, drawing a defender before bouncing a pass to a wide-open Skylar Bolden for an assist on the layup.

Notre Dame’s scoring was more balanced, although Annie Greek did account for half of her team’s 14 points. She got the Irish back to a single-digit deficit with a three-pointer late in the quarter, but Banks reached into her bag of tricks one more time. After missing a runner, Banks poked the ball away from a Notre Dame player. Ursuline’s Taylor Brown was there to collect the loose ball, and she turned that into an assist with a pass to Banks for the layup.

Still, the Irish came at the Raiders. Katie Halligan opened the fourth with a three-point play, cutting the Raiders’ lead to eight. But Jordin Tate scored on a follow shot, and Brown drove the lane for a left-handed scoop shot. The Raiders made all six free throws they attempted in the fourth to seal the victory.

Banks had 19 points to lead the Raiders. Brown (14) and Grillo (13) also reached double figures. Ursuline (8-0) will travel to St. Elizabeth on Jan. 5 for a 6:30 p.m. tip.

Notre Dame’s leading scorer was Lizzie Halligan, who had 16, and Annie Greek added 15.

All photos by Mike Lang.