Mallards Down Royals in Double OT

BERLIN- It isn’t often a 28-27 girls’ high school basketball game can qualify as a barnburner, but Worcester Prep’s dramatic win over visiting Delmarva Christian in double overtime on Monday did just that.

The Mallards’ double overtime win over the Royals on Tuesday had all the drama of a big time high school or even college basketball game despite the relatively low point total after six periods of play. Worcester led early and improved its lead to 12-8 late in the second quarter after a Molly Marshall lay-up with 2:30 remaining. However, Delmarva Christian added a lay-up of its own and couple of late free throws to lead 13-12 at the half.

At the start of the third quarter, Worcester’s Devon Zorn drained a long jumper to put the Mallards ahead again at 14-13 and Meredith Smith made it 16-13 seconds later after pulling up a jumper on a fast break. The Royals cut the lead to 16-13 with just over three minutes remaining in the third, but Zorn nailed a long three-pointer to extend the Mallards’ lead to 19-13. The Royals hit a pair of free throws with under a minute left in the third to cut the lead to 19-15.

Smith converted on a bank shot with just over six minutes left in the fourth to extend the Worcester lead to 21-16, but Delmarva Christian converted a basket in the paint with 5:20 remaining to cut the lead to 21-18. Zorn then hit another long jumper to extend Worcester’s lead to 23-18. The Royals then turned up the pressure on defense, forcing the Mallards into several turnovers down the stretch.

After a pair of Delmarva Christian free throws cut the lead to 23-21 with just over three minutes remaining, it appeared whoever had the ball last might come out the winner. The Royals tied the game at 23-23 with 2:31 left in regulation on a fast-break lay-up. After both teams swapped turnovers during a frenzied final two minutes, Delmarva Christian took the lead, 25-23, on a steal and a converted lay-up with 59 seconds remaining.

Delmarva Christian had an opportunity to add to its lead with 33 seconds left, but missed the front end of a one-and-one from the line. The two teams wrestled for the ball, but the possession arrow pointed Worcester’s way, giving the Mallards a last chance to tie or win the game.

The Mallards missed on a good look in the paint, but retained possession and went to work with 14 seconds left in the game. Worcester worked the ball around the perimeter as the clock ticked down before Marshall hit a dramatic bank shot from the corner to tie the game at the buzzer.

In the first four-minute overtime period, both teams had good looks at the basket before the Royals took the lead again, 27-25, with a lay-up at the 2:15 mark. Delmarva Christian was fouled on the play and had a chance to extend its lead, but missed the ensuing free throw. About 23 seconds later, Worcester’s Lilly DiNardo hit a jumper at the 1:52 mark to tie the game again at 27-27.

Delmarva Christian was fouled with 49 seconds left and went to the foul line with a chance to steal a victory, but both attempts failed and the game headed to a second overtime. In the second extra period, Worcester’s Olivia Wilgus was fouled driving to the basket with 2:17 remaining and converted the second of two free throws to provide the Mallards with what turned out to be the winning shot.

However, the drama was far from over. The Royals were fouled in their offensive end, but missed both free throws. On the second shot, the ball was tied up, but the possession arrow again belonged to Worcester. DiNardo was fouled, but missed both free throws, leaving the door open for another opportunity for the Royals. Delmarva Christian got a steal at mid-court with seven seconds left and the Royals’ player drove to the basket and collided with a Worcester player.

For what seemed like an eternity, no call was made immediately, but the referee called a charge on the Royals, turning the ball back over to Worcester. Again, Delmarva Christian stole the inbounds pass with three seconds left, but could not get a shot off before the clock expired and Worcester escaped with a low-scoring, but action packed 28-27 win.