(Feb. 15, 2019) The Worcester Prep girls’ basketball team secured the top seed in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference tournament with its 51-8 victory over the Saints Peter & Paul Sabres on Wednesday in Berlin.

The Lady Mallards also captured the regular-season championship title.

“It’s our third championship in four years, but our first solo regular-season championship, so that’s what we were fighting for tonight,” Prep Coach Scot Dailey said.

Worcester shut out Saints Peter & Paul, 15-0, in the first quarter. At halftime, the Mallards led 29-6. By the end of the third quarter, the home team had pulled ahead 39-8. The Berlin squad outscored its opponent 12-0 in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we played well,” Dailey said. “We’re leaning on our experience, but we’re really focusing on executing in the half-court on offense. That’s where the game is going to be won or lost, when you get into a close game whether or not we can score.”

Dailey said the last few years the Mallards struggled to score, but this season, they are putting points on the board.

“This year we can score, but one of the biggest things is, can we score in the half-court offense? Tonight, we demonstrated that,” Dailey said. “We had 51 points and over 40 of those were in the half court, I would say. We were definitely trying to move the ball around, trying to score in the half court, let them get their defense set up and us execute.”

Senior captain Gracie Gardner had nine points, six rebounds and five steals. Senior Hannah Merritt added nine points and five rebounds. Senior captain Hailey Merritt chipped in eight points and three steals. Sophomore CC Lizas contributed seven points, six rebounds and three steals.

Worcester improved to 14-2 (11-0 ESIAC) with the victory. As the No. 1 seed, the Mallards will host the fourth-seeded Salisbury School Dragons in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference semifinals on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The Prep squad won 61-11 and 40-8 over Salisbury during the season.

The winner will face either the Salisbury Christian Jaguars or Delmarva Christian Royals, Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

If Worcester wins on Tuesday, the team will host the championship game.

“We’ve worked on putting a couple little defenses in [and] a couple little wrinkles on offense and defense. We’re going to need to D.R.E. – we need to play Defense, we need to Rebound and we need to Execute,” Dailey said. “It’s been an exciting season. It’s been an exciting run with this group of seniors [with] the success we’ve had. We just want to try to cap it off and win the tournament championship.”

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