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Ursuline is second seed in DIAA girls basketball tournament, one of six Catholic schools battling for girls, boys titles

Taylor Brown of Ursuline drives for a layup ahead of Saint Mark's Hailey Short during a game in January. Both the Raiders and Spartans will be competing in the DIAA girls basketball tournament. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

Ursuline is the second seed in the 2023 DIAA girls basketball state tournament, the highest of four Catholic school girls teams to make the field. The 24 teams were revealed in Dover on Feb. 24.

The Raiders finished the season 19-1 and took the second seed in a tiebreaker over Cape Henlopen. Ursuline received a first-round bye and will host the winner of No. 18 Early College High School and No. 15 St. Elizabeth on March 3.

Ursuline, under the direction of John Noonan, features eighth-graders Taylor Brown and Jezelle “Gigi” Banks, who burst upon the high school scene this year. They are anchored by senior Hannah Kelley. They went 19-1 this year, with the lone loss coming to Sanford, the top seed.

Archmere finished the season with a 16-4 record and the Diamond State Athletic Conference championship. They feature junior Lucy Oliver and senior Sara Denning, who give the team an inside presence. The Auks earned the sixth seed and a bye in the first round. They will host the winner of No. 22 Seaford and No. 11 Woodbridge on March 3.

The 14th seed in the field is Saint Mark’s. The Spartans finished the season 13-7 and will host No. 19 Dover in the first round, which is March 1. Saint Mark’s, under coach Jim Freel, gets balanced scoring, with Sophia Baffone and Lauren McDonald playing key roles. If Saint Mark’s advances, the Spartans will meet Cape Henlopen, the third seed. The game will be at a site to be determined because Cape Henlopen High School will be unavailable on March 3.

The other Catholic high school in the tournament is St. Elizabeth, which checks in at No. 15. The Vikings, with Ericka Huggins doing a bit of everything, have battled injuries this season, but a tough schedule helped their cause. They finished the season at 10-10 under first-year coach Joe Peronti. Their game against Early College is set for March 1.

On the boys’ side, two teams from Catholic schools have made the field. Salesianum earned the fifth seed and a first-round bye. The Sals, who went 13-7 on the season, will host the winner of No. 21 Tatnall at No. 12 Polytech on March 4. Sallies, led by Trevor Trevisan, played a very difficult schedule, including both finalists for the Philadelphia Catholic League championship, Roman Catholic and Neumann-Goretti. They are led by Kareem Thomas and Isaiah Hynson but have talent up and down the roster.

Archmere is the other Catholic high school moving on to the postseason. The Auks were 13-7 behind coach Bill Ludlow, with their main scorers being Matt McCarthy and Chris Albero. Archmere is the 18th seed and will travel to No. 15 Dover on March 2.

All first- and second-round games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold online only through GoFan. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit your school’s page at www.websites4sports.com.