Sanford tops St. Georges 39-32 for boys’ hoop state title

NEWARK — To most schools, a three-year championship drought isn’t a big deal.

But it is to Sanford School in terms of boys’ basketball state titles.

The Warriors earned their first state title since 2012 on Saturday afternoon, defeating St. Georges 39-32 in the championship of the DIAA boys’ basketball state tournament. Sanford has now won eight championships all-time, the most of any boys’ team in state history.

Sanford had lost to Howard in the title game in 2013, St. Georges in the quarterfinals in 2014 and Polytech in the semifinals a year ago over the course of the last three years.

Senior guard Mikey Dixon, a Quinnipiac University commit, led all scorers with 20 points for Sanford, which ended the game on a 10-1 run.

“Three times we came up short and now we’re on top,” Dixon said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way to get the championship in the last year. We deserve this one. We put in the work, and I really mean that, we put in the work everyday at practice because we knew this was what we wanted and we got it.”

St. Georges freshman Na’Shon Hyland buried three three-pointers in the second half, including one from the corner to give the Hawks a 31-29 lead with 4:25 left.

But St. Georges would miss its last five attempts from the floor the rest of the way. The Hawks’ only point in the final four minutes was on a free throw with seven seconds left.

Senior Jacob Walsh knocked down an open jumper to tie the game for Sanford before Dixon converted twice from the foul line for a 33-31 advantage.

“They’ve been through the wars, and they’ve been here for the last four years,” said Sanford coach Stan Waterman. “So they have some experience we were able to rely on down the stretch.”

Sanford then blocked a shot on the defensive side which led to a Dixon fastbreak and a layup in transition. On the next possession, Dixon added another pair of free throws.

Dixon’s final points of the game came off yet another fastbreak which he ended with a one-handed dunk as the Sanford crowd began to celebrate.

“It was my last high school points,” Dixon said. “That was a great feeling.”

Paul Brown paced St. Georges with 12 points as the Hawks fell in the title game for the second time in the last two seasons.

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