WILMINGTON – For three quarters Monday afternoon, Caravel looked like the clearly superior team in its showdown with St. Elizabeth. The Buccaneers took a 37-20 lead into the final eight minutes as the short-handed Vikings struggled to get anything going in the St. Francis Healthcare Cup game at the Diamond State Classic. St. Elizabeth, however, flipped the switch, staging a furious fourth-quarter comeback that came up just short in a 47-44 as Caravel held on in the battle between two of Delaware’s better girls basketball teams.
Senior Alex Thomas opened the scoring, hitting a three-point shot that gave St. Elizabeth a 3-0 lead, its only advantage in the game. Caravel scored the next six and was on its way to its fourth win of the season. The Buccaneers stretched their lead in the second as the Vikings had trouble hitting shots and Caravel senior Shannon Tobin nailed two three-pointers, while senior Micah Morgan had another. The halftime score was 22-10.
The Vikings hit just four field goals in the first half, and their shooting woes continued into the third. Through three quarters, only Thomas had hit from the field for St. E’s other than single baskets by freshman Alexis Lea and sophonore Alanna Speaks. St. Elizabeth was playing without starting guard Lexi Bromwell, who suffered an ankle sprain in the team’s game Sunday, and key reserve Sarah Metz, who stayed home sick.
The veteran Bucs appeared to be in control as the game entered the fourth with a 37-20 lead, but St. Elizabeth would not quit. The Vikings cut the deficit to five at 47-42 when senior Jordyn Humes was fouled as she attempted a three-pointer with 16.2 seconds to go. Humes made two of the three free throws. On its next possession, Caravel was attempting to run out the clock when the Buccaneers lost control out of bounds, giving the Vikings a chance to tie. Thomas went up for a trey, but Caravel put a hand on the ball before she left her feet. The officials correctly ruled it a jump ball, and St. Elizabeth retained possession with .3 seconds remaining.
Thomas took the inbounds pass at the top of the key, but her quick shot fell well short of the hoop, and Buccaneers coach Kristin Caldwell breathed a sigh of relief.
Thomas scored 14 to lead St. Elizabeth, which lost its second game of the Diamond State Classic and fell to 3-2. The Vikings have little time to rest, heading back to the court at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to meet St. Francis (Calif.). Caravel received 14 points from Morgan and 12 from Tobin. The Bucs are now 4-1 and will meet Cicero North Syracuse (N.Y.) Tuesday at 11:15 a.m.