Sanford boys basketball Jayden Taylor take a shot against St Elizabeths photo courtesy of Nick Halliday

Sanford hands St. Elizabeth its first loss of the season

Nick HallidayHeadlines, Sports

Sanford boys basketball Jayden Taylor take a shot against St Elizabeths photo courtesy of Nick Halliday scaled

Sanford boys basketball Jayden Taylor take a shot against St Elizabeth. Photo by Nick Halliday

No. 6 Sanford ‘s boys basketball team handed No. 1 St. Elizabeth their first loss of the season at a sold-out St. E Center Friday night. The Vikings were on an 18 game winning streak and were the last remaining undefeated team in both boys and girls basketball in the state. 

Sanford brought the intensity right from the beginning of the game as they jumped out to an early 7-2 lead. The Vikings then had a run of their own, scoring 7 straight points to force a Warriors timeout. After the timeout, Sanford took the lead and held on for a 15-13 lead after one quarter.

In the second quarter the Warriors were able to hold the lead for most of the quarter. With just about thirty seconds left Juluis Wright stepped to the line hitting 1 of his 2 shots to give the Vikings their first lead of the quarter at 22-21. 

Seconds later Aidan Tobiason stole the ball and hit a streaking DeShaun Holden down court to push the lead to 24-21 with 8 seconds remaining. Sanford’s Nico McNeil sprinted the floor and made the layup while getting fouled giving the Warriors a chance to tie the game before half. McNeil stepped to the line, but missed the shot as they trailed by one going into the half 24-23

Sanford trailed by one coming out of the half, but a three-pointer from Jordan Spencer early in the third gave them a 31-26 lead. The Vikings eventually regained the lead on a bucket by Aiden Tobiason, but Sanfords Marquis Newsom answered immediately to put the Warriors back on top with 3:45 to go.

The Warriors added two points to the lead before things got a bit scary inside the building. Spencer and teammate Kareem Hart were going for a loose ball when they banged heads, sending both players to the floor. The Vikings Kenny Hunter Jr. picked up the ball and laid it in for St. Elizabeth while the referees then blew the play dead with 2:39 to go in the quarter.

The game was stopped for nearly 10 minutes as trainers attended to the injured Warriors. Hart was cut but eventually walked off under his own power with a bandage on his forehead, while Spencer got up and was led out of the St. E Center.

The remaining Warriors did not miss a beat and instead appeared extra-motivated after the collision. Jayden Taylor, who was a force inside all night, scored twice in the paint while Stephen Conway drained a three to grow the lead to 44-36. Julius Wright ended the 7-0 run with a three from the corner, pulling the Vikings to within five points heading into the fourth quarter

Sanford slowed their pace in the fourth to slow down the prolific Vikings offense. Although they did not make a field goal the entire quarter the strategy worked as St. Elizabeth’s offense was never able to get on track. Sanford scored all 14 of their points from the free throw line, with McNeill making eight for the Warriors.

Sanford was able to hold on to a 58-51 victory. The win gave No. 1 St Elizabeth’s their first loss of the season as they enter the state championship which starts in a week. Sanford improves to 14-4 on the season and will benefit greatly from this win as they too will be competing for a state championship this season. 

Taylor had 17 to lead the Warriors. Conway added 14 and McNeill 10.

Kenny Hunter Jr. had 15 for St. Elizabeth, and Tobiason had 13.

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