Cape Henlopen held on to defeat Polytech 66-65 in overtime Saturday night, in the Henlopen Conference boys' championship game played at Smyrna High School.
"We came into this game with total confidence that we could win it, said Cape coach Steve Re. "I told my players that they played with the heart of a champion tonight," he said.
Polytech scored the last basket of the game on a layup by the Panther's Antonio DePina with 6.4 seconds left in the extra session, but time ran out before Polytech could get a final possession for a game-winning basket. Several Panther players declined to be interviewed after the heartbreaking loss.
The Panthers Richard Hicks tied the game at 56-56 with 4.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game into the overtime session.
Both teams took turns building leads, but both Polytech and Cape battled throughout the evening to stay in striking range of their opposition.
This was a game of ups and downs with some brilliant offensive sets, but also some occasional defensive lapses by the Vikings and the Panthers. This made for a very exciting and entertaining game for the packed house.
Cape's Tyreik Burton led the Vikings with 20 points and teammate Toney Floyd had 13 points in the exciting, dramatic victory. Burton said he was thrilled to finally win the game and the conference championship, "I'm really happy for my team, and I'm just glad we didn't have to play another overtime."
Devaughn Murray led Polytech with 20 points, while DePina had 18 and Harry Johnson added 13 points.
Polytech, now 17-4, is the No. 7 seed in the DIAA state basketball tournament, and will play the winner of the Dickinson-St. Elizabeth game in second round action on Saturday, March 2. Meanwhile, 13-8 Cape is the 13 seed, and will host No. 20 Laurel in the first round on Thursday, Feb. 28.