Caravel eliminates St. Thomas More 58-33 in girls hoop semifinals

St. Thomas More’s Olivia Lynch pulls down a rebound against Caravel in the first quarter during the state finals girls basketball championship at the Bob Carpenter Center on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

NEWARK — A month ago, St. Thomas More lost to this same Caravel Academy team by 34 points.

Yet here the Ravens were, in the state semifinals with a lead after the first quarter.

The top-seeded Buccaneers were able to respond, though, rallying to defeat St. Thomas More 58-33 on Friday night to reach the DIAA girls’ basketball state championship.

Caravel will meet third seed Conrad on Monday night in a championship game featuring two teams who have never won a state title. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

St. Thomas More was playing in the semifinals for the first time in school history. The Ravens wrapped up their season at 16-5.

St. Thomas More led by as much as seven with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.

“I was very impressed,” said St. Thomas More coach Crystal Gordon. “They’re never scared and always fight to the end. We had two tough games in a row and then this game, emotionally and physically, it takes a toll on you.”

Caravel used a 9-0 run to take a 17-14 lead in the second quarter. DahNaija Barnes tied it when she drained a three-pointer for St. Thomas More.

St. Thomas More’s DahNaija Barnes shoots against Caravel in the first quarter during the state finals girls basketball championship at the Bob Carpenter Center on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

The Buccaneers answered on the next possession and went in front for good on Karli Cauley’s three-pointer. Caravel outscored the Ravens 16-4 in the second quarter and was on top 26-18 at halftime.

St. Thomas More closed to within 10 in the fourth quarter on a floater by Olivia Lynch. The Buccaneers, though, ended the game on a 17-2 run.

Barnes ended up as St. Thomas More’s top scorer with 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. Aniah Patterson also finished in double figures with 10 points while Lynch had nine points and six rebounds.

St. Thomas More’s Aniah Patterson shoots against Caravel’s Sasha Marvel in the first quarter during the state finals girls basketball championship at the Bob Carpenter Center on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

While the loss hurt, Gordon said this year was a step forward for the small Catholic school in Magnolia. The Ravens only had eight players on Friday.

“We started out really uncertain,” Gordon said. “We weren’t sure how strong we could be and how many girls we would have. We actually lost one of our main players but we were battle-tested and we kept on believing no matter what. We’re here and we’re glad to be in the conversa-tion and we’re glad to have played in this game.”

St. Thomas More has been in the state tournament the last three seasons but only had made it as far as the quarterfinals before reaching the semifinals this year.

“It’s an amazing step forward,” Gordon said. “This year, something clicked. We had a lot of small victories and we stayed strong. We’re glad to have made the moves that we have this year.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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