NEWARK – For a basketball junkie, March is perhaps the greatest month of the year. Of course, the best-known basketball is March Madness, the men’s college tournament. There is also the women’s tourney, which draws heightened interest in Delaware with the local talent that will be taking part.
To that, you can add high school hoops. The last week has been a bonanza for those who like to watch teenagers give everything they have, as the boys’ and girls’ playoffs have been going on at the various schools and, this weekend, the Bob Carpenter Center.
Saturday was the girls’ turn, as Sanford, Ursuline, Appoquinimink and St. Elizabeth advanced to Wednesday’s semifinals. Top-seeded Sanford meets fifth-seed St. Elizabeth, which knocked off No. 4 Caravel on Saturday. Ursuline and Appo, the No. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively, meet in the other bracket. Both are rematches of games from early in the season. St. Elizabeth knocked off the Warriors, 42-34, on Dec. 15, while the Raiders took care of Appo, 57-42, on Dec. 20.
Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to the Bob on Saturday, but I caught most of the first game and the remaining three games Sunday, when the boys’ quarterfinals were held. A thumbnail recap:
In the first game, No. 3 Newark held off a game St. Georges squad, 65-59. Down most of the game, the sixth-seeded Hawks battled back to tie the game at 49 before the Yellow Jackets closed it out. Raymond Anderson for St. Georges was the high scorer for the game and the day with 27 points.
Game two matched an athletic Mount Pleasant, a 10 seed, against run-and-gun Hodgson. Tomir Gibbs put on a show for the Green Knights, scoring 11 points in the first quarter as his team led, 15-14, after one. Hodgson steadily asserted itself as the game wore on, taking the lead but never blowing out Mount on the way to a 60-53 win. Tyaire Hudson led the Silver Eagles with 21.
The true surprise of the quarters, Polytech, was next on the court against Concord. The 12th-seeded Panthers were shocking No. 4 Concord and most of the 4,846 in attendance by leading at the half, 25-15. Cold-shooting Concord was outscored, 17-4, in the second, but a different Raiders team came out of the locker room for the second half on the way to a 60-46 win. DeShawn Lowman had 12 points in the third en route to 17 total, sharing team-high honors with J. Walter Lawson. Polytech star Eric Laster scored 13, but the offensive show belonged to his teammate Antonio DePina, who had 21.
Finally, top-seeded Sanford took the court against No. 8 Howard in a highly anticipated match. The Warriors and Wildcats played a tight opening stanza, with Sanford up by just one at 11-10, but the second and third quarters belonged entirely to Sanford. Anthony Mosley and Khalid Hart both missed dunks, but the Warriors made up for them with a few dunks and an alley-oop or two. Hart finished with 21 to lead Sanford, while Tyrone Brown led Howard with 12.
See part two.