With the opening girls basketball games coming Friday, Cape, Central and Tech are all looking for good seasons. Here’s a preview of what’s in store.
Cape Henlopen Vikings
The Cape Henlopen Lady Vikings had a .500 finish at 10-10 last season, but it wasn’t good enough to reach the DIAA girls basketball tournament.
With first-year head coach Pat Woods and a changing system, this year’s preseason has been crucial.
“Our goals with scrimmages and practices is to get a little better each day and find out what we are capable of,” Woods said. “We have to fine tune what we do and get used to doing it at a faster, more efficient level. We have a lot of talented girls and, if we can play with maximum, consistent effort and play together, we will have a fun year.”
With an extensive background in coaching and training, and playing the game himself, Woods is hoping to integrate the same values into this Cape Henlopen team.
“I want a team that is unselfish, fearless and passionate,” Woods said. “Basketball is a game and I want us to have fun playing it. I know I’m happiest when I know I did everything within my power to do the very best that I can in whatever it is that I’m called to do. I want that for our team as well.”
The Lady Vikings season opener is at home against Smyrna Friday at 6:15 p.m.
Sussex Central Golden Knights
Through the years, Sussex Central has been one of the more consistent programs. They finished 9-11 last season, and after a tough schedule qualified for the DIAA tournament and advanced to the second round.
Central will be leaning on talented returning players, including seniors Azayah Garrison, Courtney Peden, Ambria Stratton and Raeonna Stratton, to get back to the tournament again.
“We have four seniors that have played their entire career with me and a lot of underclassmen that these seniors will need to bring along and work on getting them in the right places and doing the right things,” said Sussex Central head coach Ron Dukes. “We’re talented in all positions, but knowing our job and executing will be key.”
Central’s goals on the court go beyond wins and losses.
“One of our main goals is more assists than turnovers each game. [We] didn’t do well in this area last season,” Dukes said. “This will be a very athletic team. Speed, quickness and depth should be what lead us.”
Sussex Central plans to attack with a highly competitive roster eager to prove they’re one of the conference’s best.
“We will throw a lot of looks at our opponents so they better be ready or we will be all over them,” Dukes said. “Everyone knows there is someone ready to take their minutes, you can’t slip up or you will be watching.”
The Lady Golden Knights open their season Friday at home against Caesar Rodney at 6:15 p.m.
Sussex Tech Ravens
Last season, Sussex Tech had one their best seasons ever at 17-3 overall, taking the Henlopen Conference championship.
While the Lady Ravens’ tournament hopes ended in the second round, they return for a new season hungrier than ever.
“We have most of our team back from last year’s conference championship team, so in the preseason we’re looking to get back into shape and top form for the season opener, more so than looking to add or get a lot of newcomers integrated into our program,” said Sussex Tech head coach Justin Davis. “We only graduated three girls from last year, so having a lot of returning players that already know our system is a blessing.”
With the majority of the team back in the fold, Sussex Tech is primed for another strong season as one of the favorites to take the conference.
While optimism is nice, the Lady Ravens plan to prove last year was no fluke.
“We should be a very experienced team taking the court when the season arrives; we have six seniors on this year’s team and a lot will be required of them if we want to have another season like last year,” Davis said. “I think character, leadership and depth will be the strengths of our team and will allow us to play an aggressive style of play like we have in the past few seasons.
“We like to press and run at every opportunity, so depth will be key. So, an experienced team that plays hard and together is what I’m hoping we’ll see in game one.”
Sussex Tech plays at home Friday against Dover at 6:15 p.m.