basketball

(March 1, 2019) The Worcester Prep girls’ basketball team struggled to score during the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship game, last Thursday against the Delmarva Christian Royals in Berlin.

“We just couldn’t get the ball in the hoop. We had good looks, we just didn’t finish, and we didn’t defend the three [-point shot] in the first half,” Prep Coach Scot Dailey said after his team’s 37-28 loss. “They had 20 points in the first half and 15 of those were threes. They had five threes in the first half, six for the game.”

Senior captain Hailey Merritt was the team’s top producer with 11 points. Sophomore CC Lizas had seven.

Dailey said the team had a family environment this season. The girls built strong friendships and cared for each other, which is why the loss was so heartbreaking.

“They want to do well for each other,” he said. “The girls came together and played as one unit.”

At the end of the game, the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference award recipients were announced.

Merritt, Lizas, and seniors Hannah Merritt and Gracie Gardner, a team captain, were presented All-Conference accolades. Junior Carly Hoffman won an honorable mention award.

The Lady Mallards finished the season with a 16-4 overall record. They were undefeated in conference play during the regular season.

During the team’s banquet earlier this week, Dailey handed out awards to several players. Hailey Merritt was named team MVP. Gardner took home the Coaches Award and senior Chloe Ruddo earned the Most Improved Award.

Worcester only lost to three teams: twice to St. Thomas More, who is ranked No. 6 in Delaware, and once to Delmarva Christian, who is ranked 16th. The other loss came during the Governor’s Challenge tournament to Kings Christian Academy.

“It was an amazing season,” Dailey said. “It’s been a fun ride with those seven seniors. It was a great four years with them.”

The seven girls who will be graduating were all big contributors. Dailey has watched them grow and progress since they were freshmen.

“To say I’ll miss them is an understatement,” he added. “I know they will be super successful.”

Dailey said, for him, this season was a learning experience.

“They encouraged me to get better and I hope to continue to get better as a coach, not just Xs and Os, but how I can impact their lives,” he said.

Dailey said the group will try to reload for next season.

“We’ll have to rebuild a little bit,” he said. “Carly Hoffman, Emily Copeland, CC Lizas and Lily Baeurle, we’ll look to build off them next year.”

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