NEW CASTLE — For nearly 32 minutes on Feb. 2, the result of the boys’ basketball game between St. Elizabeth and William Penn was uncertain. In the fourth quarter, the host Colonials overcame a six-point deficit to edge the Vikings, 54-52, in an entertaining contest.
Aiden Tobiason had given St. Elizabeth a 37-36 lead with 50 seconds to go in the third when he cut down the lane, hit a short field goal and was fouled, completing the three-point play. That was the score heading into the fourth.
The Colonials tied the game twice before St. Elizabeth went on a 6-0 run for their biggest lead of the game at 47-41. Jayden Lawrence got the run started with a pair of free throws, and Julius Wright scored on a layup in traffic. Tobiason finished the streak when he got ahead of the pack following a Vikings steal and dunked. William Penn coach Gary Lumpkin called a timeout with about four and a half minutes remaining.
The coach must have told his squad the right thing because Corey Mitchell scored on a driving layup that became a traditional three-point play, cutting the deficit in half. Jaiden Guy added a third-chance layup after a turnover to make it 47-46. A minute later, after a St. E’s free throw, Guy tied the game on a twisting left-handed layup.
Shaun Chandler responded for the Vikings, bringing the ball all the way downcourt straight to the hoop for an easy two, putting his team back on top with 1:32 to go. The Colonials tied it again thanks to Guy, and, with 55 seconds remaining, Emmanuel Vonhm hit a scoop shot while falling away from the basket to give Penn its first lead since the 1:15 mark of the third quarter. William Penn added two single free throws in the final 35 seconds before a Lawrence layup with two seconds to go. The Colonials did not have to inbound the ball, and they had the narrow victory.
The fourth quarter was a fitting conclusion to a game that was close throughout. William Penn led by four after a quarter that included three ties. Wright scored the first five points of the second to give St. Elizabeth its first lead, which they held most of the quarter. The action was non-stop, with both teams playing solid defense.
The teams combined for 36 points in the first half compared with 37 in the third quarter alone. Penn’s Elin McCoy began the third with a triple to put the Colonials back on top, but Tobiason answered immediately from the corner. The Vikings stayed on top until Jalen Sample tied the game at 30 with a three. The third quarter included eight lead changes.
Guy finished with 17 points to lead all scorers, with Vonhm adding 13 and Sample 11. The Colonials ran their record to 9-5 and face another tough foe in Caravel on the road Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
Tobiason had 12 to pace the Vikings, and Lawrence had 10. St. Elizabeth (11-6) plays its final three regular-season games at the St. E Center, beginning Monday at 7:15 p.m. against MOT Charter.
All photos by Mike Lang.