MILLTOWN – St. Georges Tech competed in its first-ever Blue Hen Conference basketball championship and walked out of St. Mark's High School with the title following a 55-47 win over Newark on Saturday afternoon.
Spectators were on their feet much of the afternoon to watch the hard-fought, back-and-forth contest. The game started out with the teams trading baskets and Newark leading, 11-10 after one quarter. Senior Jashun Greer scored nine of those points. The Yellow Jackets extended the lead to 19-16 during the next quarter, thanks to a pair of three-pointers, but the Hawks responded with an 11-2 run and led, 27-21, at halftime.
St. Georges (18-3) continued its hot play into the third, scoring seven of the first nine points to increase the advantage to 11 at 34-23. But Newark (13-8) turned on the press and forced some turnovers. An 8-0 run by the Yellow Jackets cut the lead to three, and a few minutes later they got to within a point, 38-37, which was the score heading into the final eight minutes.
A quick three-pointer by Newark sophomore Brendan Sherman shot Newark into the lead, but St. Georges sophomore Lamar Hamrick answered with one of his own. Hamrick's basket started a 9-0 Hawks run – seven of which he scored – and when it was over, St. Georges was in front, 47-40. But the Yellow Jackets would not go away, responding with seven of the next eight points, including a Greer free throw that brought Newark to within one at 48-47.
Senior Zaire Jacobs-Beazer provided some breathing room for St. Georges with a field goal with a little more than a minute left, and the Hawks hit their free throws in the final minute to ice it.
Hamrick led the Hawks with 23 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, while Jacobs-Beazer added 13. Greer finished with 16 to pace the Yellow Jackets, but only four came after halftime.
Both teams open play in the state tournament at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The 10th seed, St. Georges hosts No. 23 Wilmington Charter, while Newark, the 11th seed, takes on No. 22 Laurel. The Hawks defeated Charter, 47-34, on Jan. 23.
Tickets for the first round are $5. Call the schools for availability.