In front of a packed house Friday night at the Bob Carpenter Center Sanford and Ursline took the court against each other for the first time since 2019. Ursuline was able to defeat Sanford that year, but this year was a different story. The Sanford Warriors were able to hold off Ursuline en route to winning the 2023 DIAA Girls State Championship.
Sanford was able to jump out early on ursuline scoring the first 9 points of the game. However Ursuline was able to make their own run, reeling off 8 straight points of their own. Sanford then outscored 8-2 to close out the first quarter on a deep three by Azareya (Zy) Kilgo at the buzzer.
In the second quarter Sanford’s Dallas Pierce was able to carry the offense to maintain the lead into half. Pierce was perfect from the floor in the quarter going 3-3 from the floor and 2-2 from behind the arc scoring 8 points. Sanford was able to take a 10 point lead into the half by a score of 30-20.
Coming out of the half Sanford was able to keep the momentum going. They were able to expand on their lead and take a 40-29 lead with just over two minutes left in the quarter. Ursuline was able to answer back again oust scoring Sanford 7-2 behind a big three from Emma Anthony and a couple of layups from Taylor Brown and Jezelle (GG) Banks that cut the lead to 42-36 to end the quarter.
Ursuline carried that momentum in the fourth quarter. Anthony got things started by hitting her second three pointer of the game right in front of the Ursuline bench that caught her as she fell. A minute later GG did the same as she drained a three pointer of her own right in front of the bench as well. Those big threes brought the game to within 2 points at 44-42. After a timeout Banks drove to the basket making a nice scooping layup to tie the game at 44 the first time since the start of the game at 0-0.
After the two teams exchanged buckets to tie the game at 46, Sanford then took over the game to hold off the young Ursuline Raiders. Sanford was able to keep Ursuline scoreless for the last three minutes of the game. As time started to run out Ursuline had to foul to try to conserve time, but Sanford was clutch from the free throw line going a perfect 8-8 to close out the game. Pierce went a perfect 4-4 and on her fourth free throw she made her 1000th point of her career. Sanford scored the last 12 points of the game to close out the victory with a 58-46 victory.
Pierce led Sanford with a game high 24 points going 8-12 from the floor 3-3 from behind the arc and 5-5 from the free throw line. When she was asked what the game plan was she said ‘Defense, defense, defense” however it seems it was her offense with stats like she posted in the biggest game of the year. Jada Snow and Zy Kilgoe also added double figure points for Sanford with 13 from Snow and 12 from Kilgoe.
Ursuline was led by GG Banks who scored 15 points, while Taylor Brown and Skylar Bolden each added 8.
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