Cape, IR, Central and Tech fared differently last year, but the tables could turn.
The Cape Henlopen Vikings reached the second round of the tournament after an 18-2 finish. After being one of the state’s best, Cape ran out of steam toward the end of the season. This year’s team isn’t as experienced and will need to grow together quickly if they hope to compete in the Henlopen Conference. Cape brings back just four players, seniors Luke D’Ambrogi and Anthony Smith, along with juniors Kristoffer Rushin and All-Conference player Shi’Kai Chandler.
That group will be essential to integrate a handful of newcomers up from JV, including juniors Samuel Luciano-Solomon, Colin Mallet and Isaac Weathersby and sophomores Ja’Vaughn Burton and Ethan Pires.
Indian River Indians
Indian River ground their way to a successful season, going head-to-head against divisional standout Woodbridge in the Henlopen South. They went on to finish 14-6 overall and qualify for the DIAA tournament.
While IR fell in the opening round, they have some impressive talent back in the fold ready to get back on the court. Leading the group are Antonio Jones, named an honorable mention All-Conference player, first-team All-Conference player Jamier Felton and fellow seniors James Jones, Michael Meehan and Kahsid Waples.
After proving a lot last season, IR is hoping it was only the beginning.
Sussex Central Golden Knights
The Golden Knights struggled last season, but with the start of any season there’s renewed hope for all, even those coming off a down year.
Central got out to a slow start last season and never recovered, ultimately finishing just 3-17 overall.
The Golden Knights were a young team a year ago. With youth comes inexperience, but after taking their bumps a season ago, they hope to use that experience to grow as a team.
While it will be tough to turn things around right away, especially in the Henlopen North, the Golden Knights will lean on senior All-Conference player Rhylee Matthews and a young core to try and put last season behind them.
Sussex Tech Ravens
Sussex Tech was another of the Henlopen North’s many standout teams. The Ravens went 16-4 and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
After an impressive campaign, Tech hopes to take another step forward behind an exciting young group. Tech will be without two All-Conference players, but has returning seniors
Brandon Johnson and Caleb Reid, along with juniors Devon Reynolds and All-Conference player Ricky Kane.
The Ravens are also adding a lot to this year’s roster, including five players from the JV and junior Ja’Shaun Johnson, a transfer from Indian River who made second team All-Conference a year ago with the Indians.
While young team may have growing pains, the Ravens should once again be a contender in the Henlopen North.