WILMINGTON – On a night when their star player was blanketed by an opposing defender all night, the Ursuline girls basketball team turned elsewhere for scoring. The Raiders pushed Central Dauphin (Pa.) to three overtimes in a Diamond State Classic meeting on Dec. 27 before the visitors from the Harrisburg area took a 50-44 win in the St. Francis Healthcare Cup, the tournament’s main draw.
Maggie Connolly, the Raiders’ scoring leader, was held to five points thanks to an aggressive box-and-one and man-to-man defense that had her matched up primarily against the Rams’ Faith St. Clair. But the Raiders picked up points from a number of other sources, such as promising freshman Lauren Dorsey, who finished with 15.
Raiders were not in sync in the first half, putting just 12 points on the scoreboard, but their tenacious defense and relentless press kept their opponents to just 19 – with nine of those coming in a 90-second stretch late in the second corner on three three-pointers out of the hands of Sam Gress. They came out with a renewed purpose after the break. Kaleigh White got Ursuline started with a 15-footer on the team’s first possession, cutting the Rams’ lead to five. After a Central Dauphin turnover, Dorsey drilled a three-point shot, and it was 19-17. After a Dorsey free throw, the scoring slowed, and the teams entered the fourth tied at 23.
The teams traded buckets for a stretch, although at one point the Rams took a three-point lead, 29-26, with a few minutes remaining. Ana Olszewski knotted the score with her only points of the night, a triple. Each team missed a three-point attempt, but Jamie Brann scored on a baseline jumper for Central Dauphin with 1:40 left on the clock.
Connolly, who had been held to one three-pointer on the evening, tied the game at 31 on a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left on the clock. A shot by Nadia Romanchock at the buzzer glanced off the rim, and the squads headed to overtime No. 1.
The Rams scored all five of their points in the first extra session on free throws, while Ursuline picked up another triple from Dorsey and a field goal out of the hands of White with 20 seconds left. Central Dauphin had a shot roll off the rim in the final seconds of the overtime, and the teams moved on to a second extra four minutes.
Allie Olmstead fed Dorsey for a nice layup to open the second overtime, but it was the Rams who held the lead as the four minutes neared their end. Gress hit one of two free throws with five seconds left to give the Rams a 44-41 lead, forcing the Raiders to make a three-pointer. And that’s exactly what they did. Connolly, as expected, brought the ball across center court, but with St. Clair stuck to her like glue, she dealt the ball to White at the top of the free throw circle. White put up her shot, which hit the net as the buzzer sounded, and she was enveloped by her teammates.
Unfortunately for Ursuline, those would be the team’s final points of the night. Romanchock found Brann underneath for a baseline layup about 90 seconds into the third OT, and Brann scored on the next possession in transition. The Rams turned up the defense, and they went on to the hard-fought victory.
White had eight points and Abby Rzucidlo seven for the Raiders, who fell to 2-3. They return to action at the Diamond State on Friday at 11:45 a.m. against Archbishop Spalding (Md.).
Gress scored 17 and Brann 15 for Central Dauphin, which advances to meet Mater Dei (Calif.) on Friday at 3:15 p.m.