WILMINGTON — Ursuline’s train was a bit slow leaving the station, but once the Raiders got a bit of momentum, there was nothing that could stop them in a 56-22 win over Wilmington Friends on March 4 at Laffey-McHugh Gymnasium in the second round of the DIAA girls basketball tournament.
The Quakers, seeded 22nd in the 24-team field, surprised No. 11 St. Georges in the first round, and they wasted no time getting to work against Ursuline. Field goals in the first minute from Margo Gramiak and eighth-grader Naomi Allen put the visitors on top, 4-0, much to the delight of the Friends student section. But the Raiders, the sixth seed, quickly bounced back.
Consecutive six-foot shots off glass by Hannah Kelley tied the game at 6. The teams traded four buckets, but late hoops for Kelley and Abigail Grillo put Ursuline on top, 14-10, after one.
Kelley struck again to begin the second before Caelan Grubb cut the Raiders’ lead in half with a three-pointer. But it was all Ursuline after that.
After pounding the ball inside for the first quarter-plus, the Raiders began setting up shop outside the circle. More specifically, Chamira Marshall Brothers. The sophomore came off the bench and caught fire, hitting four three-pointers in the second quarter alone as part of a 21-0 run that covered the balance of the first half. Each triple meant a louder cheer from the Ursuline students. Kelley added another four points during that streak.
“I was feeling great,” Marshall Brothers said. “Some days you can be like that, some days you don’t. I guess tonight was the night.”
When they weren’t playing offense, the Raiders were harassing the Quakers with their signature pesky defense. Their pressure caused several Friends turnovers, and they also disrupted the Quakers’ offense by clogging up every passing lane. It all added up to a 37-13 halftime advantage.
Reagan Brady hit a corner three to open the second half and end the Ursuline run, but the damage had been done. The Raiders stretched out their offense in the second half, although they still managed to knock down an additional five threes in the final two quarters. Eighth-grader Claire Gordon also got a few minutes and took advantage with a mid-range bucket.
Kelley led the victors with 19 points. Marshall Brothers had 16, and Grillo added 10. The Raiders (13-7) will travel to No. 3 Wilmington Charter on Monday at 7 p.m. in a quarterfinal-round battle. The Force advanced with a narrow 41-39 win over No. 14 Saint Mark’s on Friday.
Marshall Brothers said she wasn’t too familar with the Force, but she will be by Monday night.
“I know their guard is very good. She gets a lot of possessionsm,” she said, referring to senior Emma Brown. Brown scored 27 points against Saint Mark’s on Friday.
Allen led the Quakers with 6 points. Friends wrapped up the season 11-11.
All photos by Mike Lang.