Pivotal third quarters propel Ursuline and Caravel to championship

Glenn FrazerHeadlines, Sports

Ursuline Academy Jezelle GG Banls tales a shot against Sanford n the DIAA quarterfinals, photo courtesy of Ben Fulton

(Newark)  The two top seeds advanced to the DIAA girls basketball championship game with wins Wednesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center.

A dominating performance in the third quarter was the difference for both top seed Caravel and 2nd seeded Ursuline. 

In the opening semifinal, Sanford held a 19-11 lead to begin the second half. Then Ursuline went on a 16-0 run highlighted by Jezelle “G-G” Banks and Jazlyn Wesley in the third quarter as the Raiders out scored the Warriors 18-3 for a 29-22 advantage. Sanford rallied midway through the fourth quarter, slicing the deficit to a single point twice late, but could not overtake Ursuline. A desperation three point shot failed, giving the Raiders a 37-34 win. 

Both teams struggled to score in the first half as Ursuline shot just 15% from the floor and the Warriors managed to convert 7 of 22 shots for a 32% field goal percentage. Sanford hit two of three long range shots in the first half, but failed to connect on 8 attempts over the final 16 minutes.

The Raiders were led by Banks with 19 points and 5 assists while Wesley had a “double-double” with 11 rebounds and 10 points plus she blocked 5 shots. No school has won more state titles than the Raiders as they attempt to gain a 18th championship Saturday when they meet top-seeded Caravel.  

Caravel Academy Chasity “Speedy” Wilson attempts a layup against AI int he girls DIAA quarterfinals, Photo courtesy of Ben Fulton

Ironically, an identical third quarter performance by Caravel led to the Buccaneers win in the second semi final Wednesday night. The Bucs out scored A I DuPont 18-3 in that frame to take a huge lead into the final 8:00 of the game at 42-20.

Caravel out rebounded the Tigers 52-24 with 25 of those coming on the offensive glass. Unlike the regular season meeting when the Bucs held a commanding 41-7 lead at the half, the Tigers “hustled” to fight for the “50-50” balls and played very well defensively to trail by just 24-17 at the break. However, Caravel used a “suffocating” defense in the game’s final 16:00 to advance with a 66-27 victory.

The Buccaneers had advantages of 31-7 in points off turnovers and 28-3 in “fast break” points. Most of those were scored by guard Chasity “Speedy” Wilson on break away layups as she ended the game with 30 points, 7 steals, and 5 rebounds. Cherish Bryant added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Brycelyn Strykning was also very active in the paint, recording 4 blocks, grabbing 7 boards and scoring 8 points. As a team Caravel shot 42% from the floor, 67% from the foul line, and 17% beyond the arc. Senior Sydney Hilliard paced the Tigers with 18 points and 6 rebounds. The senior made all 4 of the team’s three-point shots – shooting 40% beyond the arc.

During the regular season, Caravel defeated Ursuline 67-63 on their home floor. These two are scheduled to tip off at 2:00 Saturday at the Bob for the DIAA championship.

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