Raven girls grab bracket title at Pat Borowski Classic

St. Thomas More’s Aniah Patterson brings down a rebound against Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

FELTON — The St. Thomas More Academy girls’ basketball team cruised to its second straight Pat Borowski Classic championship with Friday night’s 55-42 win over Dover High.

Senior Aniah Patterson led all scorers with 17 points, while teammates Jessica Simmons and Glennyce James added 15 points each for the Ravens (6-0).

“It feels good,” Patterson said. “Ever since we’ve been in this tournament we’ve been first place, so we just had to do the same thing we did last year.”

“We had to fight for this win,” the freshman James added. “It feels really good.”

The Ravens had defeated Polytech High, 46-40, Thursday afternoon to set them up in Friday night’s Bracket B championship showdown with the Senators (4-3).

St. Thomas More’s Olivia Lynch drives the ball against Dover’s Kerianne Smith in the second quarter during the Pat Borowski Holiday Tournament at Lake Forest. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

After a sluggish start in the opening quarter of STMA’s six-point win Thursday, Ravens coach Crystal Gordon wanted to be sure her team got off to a better start this time around.

“I wanted to get some points on the board early, I wanted us to get out and run a little bit because we always do better when we get out there and can run a little bit, and kind of just pick up where we left off yesterday,” Gordon explained.

St. Thomas More scored the first seven points of the game and led by as many as 11 points through the first eight minutes.

“We were 30 percent in the first half yesterday, so I was trying to stay away from that,” Gordon said. “We shot a lot better today.”

Dover’s Tamyah Jones gets fouled against St. Thomas More.

“Our mentality coming into the game was we have to run them up so that when it comes to the second half, we don’t lose our momentum. And that was basically it,” said Patterson.

Trailing 17-8 at the end of the first quarter, Dover came out in the second quarter with more energy and put together a nice run to jump back into the ball game.

The defense began putting full-court pressure on STMA’s offense, forcing turnovers and setting the offense up with scoring opportunities in transition.

The Senators cashed in, out-scoring the Ravens 11-6 in the second quarter to trail just four points, 23-19, at the halftime break.

“Sometimes when we get up, we get comfortable, so we really needed to just stay mentally focused, get to the basket, do what’s working and play the game we know how to,” Gordon said.

The Senators’ Kerianne Smith looks to shoot against St. Thomas More in the first quarter.

“They were able to speed us up a little bit, which I knew they would — that’s how they get momentum — so we were just playing into their hand. I told the girls to just slow down and play the game the way we play it.”

Just as she did to begin the game, Patterson set the tempo quickly for STMA to open the second half, hitting a three-pointer just 20 seconds into the third quarter.

Dover’s Tamyah Jones and Amber Bryane recorded back-to-back baskets to pull to within four points at the 5:04 mark of the quarter, but James knocked down two pivotal three-pointers just minutes later to regain the momentum for the Ravens heading into the final quarter.

The Ravens saved its highest-scoring quarter for last, putting up 18 points in the fourth to seal the double-digit victory.

Four different girls scored for STMA, with sophomore Olivia Lynch contributing eight points behind the double-digit performances from Patterson, Simmons and James.

Jones and senior Riana Sizer each put up 11 points to lead the scoring for Dover. Sophomore Z’Naiya Robinson added another 10 points for the Senators.

With holiday tournament season officially in the rearview mirror for the undefeated Ravens, the focus will now shift to the team’s busy January schedule.

“Our focus as a team heading into the rest of the schedule is to play as a team and to continue to fight and go above and beyond of what we can actually do,” said Patterson.

“I think it’s really big to get these two wins,” said Gordon. “We’re a young team, so I really needed us to have some confidence going into January. We just have to get the momentum while we can.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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