They had to wait an extra day, but the #2 Sanford Warriors girls basketball squad advanced to the State Semifinals on Thursday when they defeated #7 Seaford, 64-48.
Thursday night’s contest was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed due to, what turned out to be, a winter storm that never happened. Nevertheless, the two teams squared off a day later, in what was a highly competitive game in the first half.
The Blue Jays from Seaford came ready to play, showing they could match up well against a very skilled Sanford team. At the end of one quarter of play, Sanford was out in front 19-13.
In the second quarter, the Seaford speed and up tempo style had the Warriors off their game. The Blue Jays took advantage, outscoring Sanford 15-12 in the quarter cutting their deficit to only 3 points at the break.
Sanford led at the half, 31-28.
In the second half, the Warriors would take control and pull away from the scrappy Blue Jays.
In the third, Sanford’s offense went back to work and their defense began to play at the level most have come to expect from the Warriors this season. Sanford was able to slow down the Seaford offense and keep them pinned to the outside virtually eliminating any hope for the Blue Jays of scoring in the paint.
This led to low-percentage shots and turnovers that the Warriors capitalized on. Sanford led 50-37.
In the fourth, the Sanford defense would try to continue to shut down Seaford on the offensive end. The Blue Jays put up some fight, getting to within 10 but they could never close the gap.
The Warriors would add to their lead at the free-throw line late, as Seaford began to foul with under 2:00 to go to try and preserve time.
The difference in the game was certainly Sanford’s performance in the second half. Warriors Head Coach Marcus Thompson knew exactly what made that difference possible.
“We finally started playing some defense (in the second half),” said Thompson. “I think we got caught up in their tempo, we did a nice job at the beginning of the game executing and playing at a slower pace. Then they started pushing a little and we started playing at their pace and they’re better than that then we are.”
Thompson believed the key for his team winning was getting back to a comfortable pace. He gave Seaford credit for taking them off their game, but was pleased with how his team responded in the second half.
“When we ran our stuff and took our time we got good shots,” said Thompson. “Whether we made them or not they were good shots, when we ran out with their tempo we were taking hard and difficult shots and quite frankly they’re athletic, those are the shots they make not necessarily us.”
For the Warriors, they’re headed to the State Semifinals on Saturday afternoon to take on #3 Caravel at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.
Junior guard Alison Lewis of Sanford led all scorers with a game-high 26 points in the Warriors win. Junior Forward Jade Purnell of Seaford led the Blue Jays with 12.