St. Elizabeth's Lady Vikings are the 2013 champions of Delaware high school basketball after defeating Caravel Academy 60-46 Monday night in the DIAA title game played at the University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center. This was the Lady Vikings first championship since 2007.
Guard Jocelyn Rodriguez, the only senior starter for St. E's, scored a game-high 20 points, and was clearly the floor commander for the Vikings. "She took over the game," said St. Elizabeth coach Tom Ferrier. "Every single time we needed a big basket, Jocelyn Rodriguez got a big basket. We told the kids before the game, 'win it for yourselves, win it for your parents, win it for the parish, for your high school, but most important, we said win it for Jocelyn Rodriguez because she won't have another chance, and they did that," he said.
After a sluggish first period by both teams due to jitters, the Vikings turned on the offense and developed a 28-14 lead. Macy Robinson, Sabrina Hackendorn and Alex Thomas found the range offensively, and the trio pounded the boards to prevent the Lady Buccaneers from getting second chance shots or getting back into the game.
In the third quarter, Caravel made a small run and cut their deficit to nine points, but missed a series of jumpers and layups and trailed 39-27 heading into the final quarter.
Caravel again had a small rally and cut St. Elizabeth's lead down to six points at 43-37 on a three-pointer by Caroline Davis at the 5:01 mark. But the Bucs committed several crucial turnovers and missed two layups down the stretch and were unable to even up the score.
As the clock wound down, the student cheering section erupted in wild cheers for their new heroes.
"Well, it feels amazing, and I'm so happy we did it, not only for ourselves, our coaches, our fans, and most importantly our one senior on the team this year (Jocelyn Rodriguez), she deserved it, and she played an excellent game, and I'm so happy it happened tonight, said Macy Robinson, who scored 10 points. "We had a little trouble in the fourth quarter, but we stepped it up, we knew how badly we wanted it, how hard we worked all year, and we went out there and we attacked them, and did everything we could to win the state championship," she added.
Alex Thomas scored 14 points for the Vikings, and Hackendorn added 12 points and 9 rebounds. Hackendorn said it took a real team effort to bring home the title. "It took everything we had. We were so nervous before the game, but we realized how bad we wanted this, that we had to work hard, and it happened in the second quarter," she said. As far as winning the championship in her junior year, Hackendorn added, "It's unreal, I can't believe it, it's the most amazing feeling in the world."
Page 2 of 2 - After the game, the winning team has the honor of cutting down one of the nets. While Rodriguez was taking her turn, the student-body crowd chanted "M-V-P, M-V-P" in honor of her great game. "Before the season, my teammates promised me a state championship. I didn't expect to score as much or play as well as I did, but I knew at the beginning of the game that I would give 110 percent, I promised them that, and if I did that for them, they would return it, and that's why we came out on top," said Rodriguez.
Yasmin Walker and Ky'Asia Stanford each scored 12 points for the Lady Bucs, and Caroline Davis added 11 points and 6 rebounds.
For Caravel, it's 'wait until next year,' but with a young team, look for another successful season from the Lady Bucs. "I didn't think we started playing until the second half, and that was the Caravel I've seen for the last month of the season," said Caravel coach Kristen Caldwell, who played for the Bucs several years ago.
"I thought they absolutely killed us on the offensive boards the entire game, and that's really tough, when you're playing decent defense, and they are getting one, two or three offense shots, and that was a killer, and I give them a lot of credit, that's one team of tough kids and good basketball players. But I am so proud of my girls," she said.
A crowd of 2, 175 witnessed the game, according to DIAA.