Former AD Rosa honored, Spartans hold off Vikings

By Justin Enloe 12:21am, January 28, 2014 - Updated 12:24am, January 28, 2014
VIDEO: Highlights and Reaction to St. Mark's Victory
On a night in which former Athletic Director and Basketball coach Tom Rosa was honored , St. Mark's used a strong second half to beat the visiting St. Elizabeth Vikings 55-42, on the now aptly named "Tom Rosa Court".

There were a number of guests in attendance, including those who spoke during the pre-game ceremony, all of whom echoed the same sentiment. The man who had served as AD for 31 years was more than just a coach and an educator, but he was a great friend to them all. Once the game got underway, the team made the former coach proud.

The first points of the game came off a Brandon Gautier 3-pointer which gave the Vikings the early lead but the Spartans answered back with a 6-0 run making it 6-3. Once they regained the lead, they would not relinquish it.

Points came at a premium early in this contest as the Spartans led 18-13 after the second quarter. St. Marks slowed the game down with their patient half-court offense and played stingy defense the whole way through. St. Elizabeth was able to keep pace early thanks to an aggressive trapping defense and 3/4 court press that forced turnovers and got them out in transition.

The second half was all St. Mark's though as the Spartans stretched their halftime lead to as many as 19 points after the break. The Spartans were able to spread the Vikings defense and take advantage of a team forced to chase the game as the deficit grew.

Senior Nick Papa led all scorers with 19 points, including 11 of his team's first 18. Papa worked hard in the paint the entire contest, using countless well-timed pump fakes to get his defenders to leave their feet and get himself clean looks at the basket. Junior Matt Williams poured in 10 points of his own for the Spartans, who seemed like he would never miss a mid-range jump shot.

The Vikings were led by the senior Gautier who finished with 14 points, 11 of which came in a furious 4th quarter where he attacked the basket and added a pair of 3 pointers to try and pull his team back within striking distance.

In the end, the Spartans proved to be too much for the traveling Vikings who now fall to 3-8 on the season with a trip to Salesianum looming on Thursday.

St. Marks run their record to 9-2 and get a big bounce back victory. They will travel to Archmere for a showdown against the Auks on Thursday night.

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