St. Georges young and talented basketball team survived several hard comeback attempts by Newark to wrap up a 55-47 victory over the Yellowjackets Saturday afternoon at St. Mark’s gym. The victory secured the Hawks first-ever Blue Hen Conference title.
“This was a great victory for our program,” said St. Georges coach Rod Griffin. “And I think this will give us great momentum going into the tournament next week, and I am very proud of them. To go from 4-16 last season to 18-3 right now is a phenomenal feat, and it’s due to a lot of hard work,” he said.
Both teams started off slowly in the spacious St. Mark’s gym, however Newark was able to build an 11-10 lead after one quarter. But the Hawks came storming back in the second quarter to grab a 27-21 lead at the half as Kyson Rawls got a three-pointer just before the buzzer.
In the third quarter, it was Newark’s turn to ramp up the pressure as the Jackets closed the gap to one point at 38-37. Midway through the quarter, Newark trailed 30-23, but a quick burst of offense brought the team within striking distance with one quarter to play.
In the fourth, St. Georges widened the lead to five, but again Newark got within one at 47-46 before Zaire Jacobs-Beazer hit a layup and Lamar Hamrick and Rawls scored to point the game away.
Griffin said when the pressure’s on, his team plays with a lot of poise. “I want to think we have some great mental toughness, and the combination of the team being in great shape and our mental toughness has helped this team tremendously,” he said.
Tenth-seeded St. Georges takes on #23 Charter, while 11th-seed Newark, now 13-8, plays against #22 Laurel, now 13-6. Both games are on Wednesday evening.