On a night when starting point guard Elijah Credle was saddled with foul trouble & “Moo” Salako had trouble fending off defenders, “Lish” Gregory led the way with his rebounding & scoring to help Smyrna advance to the 2nd round of the DIAA Boys basketball State Tournament with a 46-27 victory.
Gregory was the only player in double-figures with 15 points and he constantly kept possessions alive with tipped balls & offensive rebounds. He found Salako on the inbounds pass to begin the 4th quarter and Moo slammed it home, and he had a slam of his own finding an opening to the basket off a screen in the final minutes of the game.
St. Marks controlled the pace in the opening period and never trailed, taking an 8-5 lead after the 1st eight minutes. Then Smyrna turned-up the defensive pressure forcing 15 first half turnovers as they out-scored the Spartans 15-1 in the second quarter. The Eagles maintained the lead throughout the second half as the Spartans could get no closer than 9 points.
Credle played limited minutes with foul trouble and scored 8 points, Salako added 6 while Devin Demoe chipped in with 7. The Eagles remain undefeated at 16-0 and will host Caravel Saturday in the “sweet-16” round.
The Spartans ended the season at 8-6. They were led by Dom Shepherd with 8 points & Jabri White with 7.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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