Recap of the boys basketball team's run in the DIAA State Tournament.
The boys basketball team had a stellar end to their regular season, winning 7 of their last 8 and avenged their only loss (a 3-point loss to Sanford on the road) in that span in the final game of the season. The team made the postseason as the #18 seed. The Saints were ready to make some noise and surprise the higher seeds in the DIAA State Tournament.
Vs. #15 Delmarva Christian HS
Their first matchup was against #15 Delmarva Christian two hours away on the road. The Saints came out early hitting shots and shutting down Delmarva. In the 4th quarter, the 10-point lead they had built started to slip away. Delmarva kept closing the gap and was able to stop the Saints with new defensive strategies. It seemed as if there was nothing that could be done to slow down the comeback and things were dire when Delmarva scored to go up 54-53 with less than 15 seconds left. The Saints were able to advance the ball to mid court and called a timeout with 11 seconds left. Frank Koblish ’22 inbound the ball to Talan Esposito ’24 who ran a dribble handoff to Noah Tuveson ’23. Delmarva was worried about the Saints shooters of Koblish and Tuveson and let Tuveson get the ball to Brandon Graves ’22 at the top of the key. Graves put the ball on the floor and blew past the defender to lay the ball in with 3 seconds to give the Saints a 1-point lead. Delmarva attempted a half court shot that fell short and the Saints held on to advance to the next round.
Vs. #2 Caravel Academy
The Saints next opponent was the #2 team in the tournament. Caravel Academy was highly ranked and had secured a bye in the 1st round. There was little rest for the Saints as they had played only 48 hours prior. The rest and quick turnaround played in Caravel’s favor to start the game. The Saints found themselves down 11-6 after the 1st quarter. The shots started falling in the 2nd quarter and this time the Saints were in the lead 23-21 at the half. The Saints now had the upset in reach. In the 3rd quarter Koblish and Tuveson were able to find success from behind the arc and gave the Saints a 39-34 advantage after the 3rd quarter. Caravel tried to close the gap but the Saints were always able to respond. With 1:48 left in the game the Saints were up 49-44. Caravel, not used to playing from behind this season, struggled to create turnovers and make shots. The Saints secured rebounds and Caravel kept sending the Saints to the free throw line to try to extend the game. Koblish, Graves, and Esposito all made free throws to grow the lead and help the Saints secure a 61-51 upset to advance to the quarterfinals.
Vs. #10 Seaford
The quarterfinal matchup pitted two teams that were both playing their 3rd game in 5 days. A win would put the team into the state semifinals. Unfortunately things did not start well for the Saints. They found themselves in an early hole like the game before down 14-7 after the 1st quarter. Seaford was able to extend the lead 26-11 in the 1st quarter but the Saints still found life as they closed out the half with an 8-0 to close the gap 26-19. There was hope that the team would play another great 2nd half but it appeared as if the magic had run out. Seaford burst out of the gate to open the 3rd quarter and the Saints never recovered. With around 2 minutes left in the game, Coach Myers pulled his seniors Jake Kelly ’22, Mike Lilley ’22, Graves, and Koblish one final time and the group received big applause from the Saints Nation in the stands. Seaford ran away with the win 70-46.
It was a tough loss as the Saints came one win away from returning to the state final four two seasons in a row. The team made a great run with memorable wins over Sanford and Caravel and finishing the season with a 9-2 record in the final month.