Late rally sparks Vikings to Diamond State win


Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON – Alanna Speaks scored 21 points, including the winning bucket with 15 seconds remaining, to lift St. Elizabeth to a 60-57 win over St. Anthony (Long Beach, Calif.) in the seventh-place game of the St. Francis Healthcare Cup at the Diamond State Classic Tuesday morning at the St. E Center. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Vikings.

Speaks’ field goal helped St. Elizabeth overcome a nine-point deficit as they trailed, 54-45, with about four minutes to go. A jumper by Jordyn Humes cut the lead to 54-51 before the Saints’ Alaja Edwards ended the run, but that would be St. Anthony’s last field goal. St. Elizabeth’s eighth-grader Olivia Tucker then stepped up. She hit a free throw to cut it to one at 56-54, then, after a Saints free throw, tied it with a three-point shot with minute to go.

That set the stage for Speaks’ game-winner. St. Anthony missed a potential tying field goal with 10 seconds to go, and Alex Thomas scored the game’s final point on a free throw.

“I was tired of losing, so I had to get back in the game and play like I usually play,” said Speaks, who also had 17 rebounds.

St. Elizabeth rebounded after a tough loss Monday to Caravel in which the Vikings nearly erased at 17-point deficit heading into the final quarter. Led by Alex Thomas, the Vikings raced out to a 15-10 lead over St. Anthony after the first quarter. Thomas finished with 20 points, and Tucker added 11.

St. Anthony bounced back in the second led by 6-5 freshman Semaj Williams. She helped the Saints dominate on the boards, and they converted their second chances. St. Anthony took a 27-23 lead into halftime and was up, 44-38, after three quarters.

For a second straight day, the Saints were plagued by foul trouble. Three of their starters had three fouls with two minutes to go in the second quarter, and two of them fouled out by the midway point of the fourth. That left the visitors from California with just six available players.

St. Elizabeth is 4-2 heading into Saturday’s Catholic Conference battle with Padua. The Vikings and Pandas tip off at the St. E Center at 6:30 p.m. They follow with Ursuline on Monday at 7:15 p.m., also at home, before meeting Sanford on the road Jan. 12 at 4 p.m.