HOCKESSIN – It may have been Valentine's Day, but the Sanford Warriors showed no love to Hodgson in Thursday's matchup of top-4 boys basketball teams. Second-ranked Sanford used a big third quarter to break open a close game en route to a 61-50 victory over the No. 4 Silver Eagles in front of an overflow crowd at the Sanford Athletic Center.
The loss dropped Hodgson to 16-3 on the season and ended a 12-game winning streak. It was the Silver Eagles' first loss of the calendar year; they last lost on Dec. 29 at Salesianum.
Sanford (15-3) scored 21 points in the third, with six each in the stanza from Todd Hughes and Austin Ford, to turn a 27-25 halftime lead into a commanding 48-35 lead. The Warriors limited Hodgson to three third-quarter field goals from reserve forward Matthew Peel, keeping Nick Richards scoreless and holding Bilal Nichols to two free throws.
Richards found his shot in the final quarter, and back-to-back baskets closed the gap to 51-42. But after a timeout, Sanford regained its edge, with Sabri Thompson nailing two three-point shots helping the Warriors maintain a healthy margin.
Thompson had five treys on his way to a game-high 17 points. The only other Warriors player in double figures was Kyle Rose, who scored 13.
Sanford jumped out early, building an 18-8 lead after a first quarter, and the game appeared as if it might get out of hand early. To Hodgson's credit, the visitors battled back in the second, tying the game at 20 on successive field goals by Nichols, who finished with 11 points. At one point, Sanford committed turnovers on four straight possessions, allowing the Silver Eagles to climb back, before freshman Mikey Dixon ended the futility with a three-pointer.
Nichols was joined in double figures by Richards, who had 12, and Raymond Jones, who contributed 10.
Hodgson closes out the regular season Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. at William Penn in a game rescheduled from Jan. 26.
Sanford will look to avenge its only loss to an in-state team when the Warriors host St. Andrew's Saturday at 2:30 p.m. St. Andrew's dealt the Warriors a 57-51 loss in Middletown on Jan. 15.