WILMINGTON – St. Elizabeth’s girls basketball team let Padua back into their game Feb. 20 time and time again, with the teams tied at 32 five minutes into the third quarter. But the Vikings went on a 7-0 run to end the quarter and built up an insurmountable lead on their way to a 59-47 Catholic Conference victory at the St. E Center. It was the regular-season finale for both teams.
St. Elizabeth started the game on a 10-2 run, only to see Padua battle back trail by just one, 13-12, at the end of the first quarter. Eight of those points came from Julie McCarron. The sophomore scored five seconds after the tip and added a pair of three-pointers, all while playing on an injured right ankle. The Pandas went ahead, 14-13, on a field goal by Cam Scully to open the second, but the hosts responded with seven straight, taking the 20-14 lead.
Again, Padua came back. The Pandas ripped off six consecutive points of their own. Scully and Brooke Emmi had single free throws, while Paige Kenton and Rachel Delate added field goals. St. Elizabeth went back in front by a pair, but Delate gave Padua the lead with a three-point shot. The contest was tied at 23 at the half after Ber’Nyah Mayo made a free throw late in the half. It was the high-scoring sophomore’s only point of the half.
Mayo changed that immediately after halftime, scoring inside. The Vikings opened the third quarter on a 9-3 run, including four points for Mayo and Julie McCarron’s third three-pointer of the evening. But Padua again fought back to knot the score on a free throw, a three for Bella Julian and a putback by Michelle Kozicki.
The Vikings then went to work, and this time, the Pandas could not close the gap. Mayo scored on back-to-back possessions as part of the quarter-ending streak. Mayo and Lauren Hines had three-pointers in the fourth, and the lead grew as large as 18 before the Pandas were able to chip away a bit toward the end of the game. St. Elizabeth shot 18 free throws in the fourth quarter, making 12, to seal the victory.
McCarron led the Vikings with 21, and Mayo finished with 16. Senior Lauren Hines added 10, including two triples. The Vikings finished the regular season at 16-3 and are likely to receive a first-round bye when the state tournament bye when the brackets are released on Friday.
Hines and classmate Alexis Lee were honored before the game on Senior Night. Hines was joined on the court by her family, as was Lee. When Lee walked to the floor with her sister and teammate, Ardavia, about a dozen Wilmington firefighters joined them. Lee’s mother, Ardythe Hope, was one of three city firefighters who died as a result of injuries suffered in a September 2016 arson.
Scully scored a team-leading 13 for the Pandas, with Michelle Kozicki adding 12. The Pandas finished 14-6, a nine-game improvement from the previous season. They will learn their playoff opponent on Friday afternoon.