Tournament starts Tuesday with a bye for boys teams; Tech and Central girls games start Wednesday
Friday, the brackets for the boys and girls basketball state tournaments were released. First and second round action begins Tuesday night, with the quarterfinals this resuming March 3 at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Along with Cape Henlopen and Sussex Tech, teams with an opening round bye are No. 2 Salesianum, No. 3 Smyrna, No. 4 William Penn, No. 5 Caravel Academy, No. 7 Sanford and No. 8 St. Georges Tech.
In the boys bracket, Cape Henlopen received the No. 1 overall seed after an 18-2 regular season, going 14-1 against the tough Henlopen Conference.
Sussex Tech is seeded No. 6. Indian River, after posting a 14-6 record, earned the No. 19 overall seed. The Indians face No. 15 Dover Tuesday in the opening round. The winner will play 2017 champion Smyrna Thursday.
The Vikings swept the season series over playoff teams Dover, Caesar Rodney and Sussex Tech, while earning big regular season wins over defending champion Smyrna and Independent standout Sanford. Cape also defeated the Henlopen South playoff teams, Indian River and Lake Forest.
Aside from falling to Smyrna last week in the Henlopen North Division championship, the Cape’s last loss came Dec. 28 against Harvard-Westlake School (Ca.) at the Slam Dunk to the Beach.
The Vikings have been led all season by the senior duo of Randy Rickards and Ian Robertson, along with a strong supporting cast of fellow senior Izaiah Dadzie and sophomores Shi’Kai Chandler and Skylar Johnson.
Hard work during the preseason paid off for the Vikings.
“Our team spent a lot of hours in the weight room and conditioning drills to improve,” Cape Henlopen head coach Stephen Re said. “These types of activities also help with mental toughness and pushing through fatigue. We’ve really focused on team chemistry, getting guys all playing together.”
Cape will play the winner of Tuesday night’s first round matchup between No. 16 Newark Charter and No. 17 Glasgow. The Vikings didn’t take on either team during the regular season.
After posting a 16-4 record during the season, the Sussex Tech Ravens were named No. 6 overall and a first round bye.
Like the Vikings, Tech was impressive against the conference, going 9-4 in the Henlopen.
The Ravens were successful thanks to a large number of contributors, starting with seniors Jaquen Burton, Khalil Bolden, Dominick Conquest, Elshaddai Mifflin and Kamron Williams. Underclassmen Ricky Kane and Devon Reynolds have also been important players.
Tech earned season sweeps over conference playoff teams Dover and Caesar Rodney, along with wins over William Penn and Salesianum, which both earned top five seeds.
“Our team focused tremendously on being able to play solid defense,” said Sussex Tech head coach Damon Ayers. “When you look at championship caliber teams, defense plays a major role in their success.”
The Ravens will open their tournament run Thursday, playing the winner of Tuesday’s first round contest between No. 11 Mt. Pleasant and No. 22 St. Thomas More. Tech did not face either during the season.
Girls competition: Tech and Central
Caravel Academy earned the No. 1 overall seed followed by No. 2 Sanford, No. 3 Conrad, No. 4 Hodgson, No. 5 St. Thomas More, No. 6 St. Elizabeth, No. 7 Ursuline Academy and No. 8 Howard, all receiving first round byes.
Squads from Sussex Tech and Sussex Central qualified for the postseason.
Tech’s Lady Ravens were named the No. 9 seed. They are opening up their tournament run Wednesday night at 6:30 against No. 24 Laurel. With a win, Tech would move to the second round Friday night taking on No. 8 Howard.
Sussex Tech finished the regular season 17-3 overall, winning nine of their last 10 games. They played tough, going 13-1 against the Henlopen Conference, with their only loss to Caesar Rodney in early February. The Lady Ravens’ only other loss came to Hodgson.
Despite a losing 9-11 record, Sussex Central earned the No. 22 seed. The Lady Golden Knights played a tough schedule, going 8-6 against the rest of the Henlopen Conference.
Central plays No. 11 St. Georges Tech Wednesday; a victory would send them to the second round and date with No. 6 St. Elizabeth.