St. Georges ends Ravens’ tourney run in quarterfinals 45-39

NEWARK — St. Georges didn’t care that St. Thomas More was a great Cinderella story.

And, after reaching the state finals two years ago, the Hawks weren’t going to get flustered just because they were trailing.

So, sure enough, with Sunday’s DIAA boys’ basketball state quarterfinal game up for grabs in the closing minutes, St. Georges swooped it and snatched it.

The sixth-seeded Hawks netted 10 of the contest’s final 11 points to earn a hard-fought 45-39 victory over the No. 14 Ravens at the Carpenter Center.

Making the program’s first trip to the quarterfinals, St. Thomas More (17-6) led by as many as 13 points in the first half. The Ravens also stayed in front for a span of almost 25 minutes that started late in the first quarter.

But Blue Hen Conference Flight B champion St. Georges (19-4) outscored St. Thomas More 17-6 in the fourth quarter, holding the Ravens without a field goal over the last eight minutes, to earn its second trip to the Final Four in the last three years.

The Hawks will face seventh-seeded Delcastle (16-6) in Thursday’s semifinals at 6:30 p.m. in the Carpenter Center.

St. Thomas More coach Cheston Boyd, though, found it difficult to be too disappointed considering everything his program accomplished.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said the third-year coach. “This is a wonderful atmosphere. It was fun. Honestly, for us to do what we did with what we have as far as school size and the amount of kids we have to work with. … for us to make it this far with what we’ve got has been totally amazing.

“There’s nothing to be sad about.”

“It’s just a tough loss,” said junior center Aaron Scott, who tallied nine points. “We did everything right that we could but we made a couple turnovers that let them get momentum. We left everything on the floor.”

St. Georges took the lead for good at 39-38 on a blocked shot and then a run-out layup by freshman Nah’Shon Hyland with 1:49 left.

The Ravens had a chance to get the lead right back but Corey Gordon missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation after being fouled with 1:34 remaining.

The Hawks, on the other hand, sealed the win from the free throw line, going 6-for-9 in the final 1:13. Kyson Rawls, who finished with a game-high 20 points, was 6-for-6 in the span.

As a team, St. Thomas More was 0-for-11 from the field, 6-for-9 from the foul line and had two turnovers in the fourth quarter. Its 39-point total was its lowest of the season.

Even though the Ravens led 26-17 at halftime, Boyd knew the toughest part of the afternoon was still to come.

“There were no smiles in our locker room at halftime or any thoughts that it was over,” he said. “They (the Hawks) just kept on coming. Our (lack of) depth got to us a little bit. And they’re really athletic so they drain a lot out of you on defense. It eventually caught up with us.

“That’s what it makes it tough — they keep on coming.”

“We just rallied the guys together and said, ‘Let’s buckle up and go,’” said Rawls.

“They’re a good team and they hit some really good open shots,” St. Georges coach Rod Griffin said about the Ravens. “They got us on our heels in that first half. But we were determined to play really good defense.

“I thought we made some good adjustments and showed them some different looks. We bought a little time on the defensive end. And experience at anything you do — especially when you’re in a playoff environment — it really, really helps.”

Sophomore guard Gregory Bloodsworth finished with a team-high 14 points, fueling St. Thomas More’s first-half run with eight points and a pair of three-pointers before intermission. Elias Revelle added eight points in the game.

Gordon and Alvin West also hit threes for the Ravens, who outscored St. Georges 26-8 in one first-half stretch.

It just didn’t last.

But, considering it has only one senior on the roster, St. Thomas More plans on getting opportunities like this again.

“We’re going to work better in the offseason and try to get back here next year,” said Scott. “It feels good playing in an environment like this. It’s big so a lot of people get to look at you as a school that no one really knows anything about. I like that feeling — getting noticed.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.