Home Local Sports Wilmington Charter scores final five points, defeats Saint Mark’s in girls basketball...

Wilmington Charter scores final five points, defeats Saint Mark’s in girls basketball opener

Hailey Short drives for Saint Mark's while being guarded by Wilmington Charter freshman Catie Cole. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — Saint Mark’s stayed with Wilmington Charter throughout the teams’ game on the afternoon of Jan. 12, but the Force scored the final five points to take a 41-36 victory. It was the season opener for both squads.

The Force overcame a one-point halftime deficit with a big third quarter. Emma Brown gave Charter its first lead of the second half after converting a steal into points, but the Spartans’ Sophia Messick responded with an old-fashioned three-point play on the next possession. Freshman Catie Cole restored the Force’s lead with a field goal that made it 24-22, and Charter took a 31-28 lead into the final quarter.

Messick and Brown continued their scoring into the early going of the fourth. Messick drained a three, her second of the game, to tie the score, but Brown picked up the and-one to put the Force back on top by three. Charter extended the lead to five at 36-31, but Saint Mark’s had a run left in them. The Spartans turned up the defensive pressure, and Allie McGonigle provided the offense. She hit consecutive field goals, the second one a triple, to knot the score at 36 with 2:30 to go in regulation.

Those, however, would be the final points for the Spartans. They had an opportunity off a steal, but after holding the ball for nearly a minute, they were unable to score. Claire Stella made one of two free throws to make the score 37-36 in favor of the home team, and they would add one more field goal by Brown, then a pair of late free throws from Cole to seal the win.

After a slow start for both offenses, the Spartans found a groove midway through the first. Alyssa Cresto scored the first five points of the afternoon, and a three-pointer from freshman Lauren McDonald boosted the lead to 12-6.

Charter, however, would score the final four points of the first quarter and the first four of the second, taking a 14-12 lead. The Force scored many of their points on second chances, as they picked up a number of offensive rebounds. Messick scored all seven of Saint Mark’s points in the second quarter, including a pair of free throws that ended the Force’s run.

Messick, a sophomore, led all scorers with 17 points. McGonigle added seven. The Spartans (0-1) visit Padua on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

For the Force, Brown had 15 and Cole had 10. Wilmington Charter (1-0) hosts Newark Charter on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

All photos by Mike Lang.