Game of the Week
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Boys' Basketball Forum
Battle of Division Leaders
Photo: Sussex Central boys' basketball coach Tim Slade fires up his team late in the game. In photo below, Central's Andrew Weatherly soars in for the winning points on a followup.
DELMAR -- The Sussex Central High School boys' basketball team did nothing right for 3 1/2 quarters against Delmar Thursday night in a game billed as a preview of next month's Henlopen Conference championship.
But doing everything right in the final four minutes enabled the Golden Knights to overcome an 18-point fourth quarter deficit for a stirring 58-55 victory in a battle of the conference's Northern and Southern division leaders.
Sophomore forward Andrew Weatherly's follow with 13 seconds left gave the Knights their only lead of the night and lifted the North leaders to 8-1 in the conference and 9-1 overall.
Delmar, the South leaders at 7-3, had one last chance but senior guard Ian Hudson's three-quarter court shot bounced off the rim with 4.4 seconds to go.
Central's James Cannon sank one of the Knights' 36 free throw attempts to account for the final score.
The game belonged to Delmar until the middle of the fourth quarter. The Wildcats, using a tenacious zone defense that pounced on every Central pass and shot, built a 52-34 lead with 5:14 remaining. Delmar still led 55-39 with just over four minutes remaining but failed to score the rest of the way.
In the meantime, the Knights, who committed turnover after turnover against Delmar's pressure and zone defenses, started a 19-0 run to end the game with a three-pointer by guard Darris Sample.
Baskets by Leroy Mann and Weatherly cut the deficit to below 10 points with 2:19 remaining, and a foul shot by junior forward Orlando Farrow narrowed the deficit further to 55-48 with 1:58 to go.
The Wildcats then got a break when Central missed two free throws and turned the ball over, but couldn't close the game out.
Following those miscues, the Knights cut the gap to 55-51 with 1:44 left on a three-point play by Weatherly, who drove hard for a layup off a steal from Farrow and was fouled.
Another steal by Mann led to a free throw that made it 55-52 with 1:30 to go, and after a Delmar miss, the Knights turned another steal into a layup by senior center James Cannon to pull within 55-54 with 1:01 left.
The Knights tied the game 55-55 following another Delmar turnover on a foul shot by Mann. Mann then set the winning points in motion with another steal that led to Weatherly's game-winning foul shot.
The Knights were led by Cannon's 19 points. Farrow, Mann and Weatherly were also in double figures with 14, 11 and 10 points.
Hudson paced the Wildcats with a game-high 24 points. He sank 3 three-pointers.
SUSSEX CENTRAL (58) -- Andrew Weatherly 3 4-5 10, Thomas Brittingham 0 0-0 0, Anthony Williams 0 0-0 0, Leroy Mann 3 5-10 11, Darris Sample 1 1-5 4, Layton Wright 0 0-0 0, James Cannon 6 7-10 19, Orlando Farrow 5 3-6 14. TOTALS 18 20-36 58.
DELMAR (55) -- Dustin Johnson 1 3-4 5, Ian Hudson 10 1-2 24, James Stewart 0 0-0 0, Troi Handy 0 0-0 0, Vince Stewart 3 1-2 7, Chris Zidanic 0 0-0 0, Greg Cathell 0 0-0 0, Sean Hudson 2 2-2 6, Demeris Cannon 3 2-2 8, Mike Hunt 0 0-0 0, Marcus Brown 2 1-2 5. TOTALS 21 10-14 55.
Three-point field goals: Delmar 3 (Hudson 3); Sussex Central 2 (Sample, Farrow).
Photos: Sussex Central's Leroy Mann (blue uniform) and Delmar's Sean Hudson look anxiously to the referee's call following a mad scramble for the ball.
Photos: Above left, Sussex Central center James Cannon stretches out for a rebound. Above right, Delmar's Ian Hudson converts a fast break into a layup.
Sussex Central coach Tim Slade on the victory:
"Every game is a learning experience for us. Hopefully they realize that when they want to play, they can play. A lot of times it takes something big like this, as far as getting ready to lose our second game and worrying about what people are going to say about us, to step up. Basically I said, 'Do you guys want to be cowards in the area or do you want to be winners?' And I said, 'The worst team in the league is the most talented team that can't win.' I said, 'Right now that's us. We're the most talented team in the league and we can't win.' I said, 'so right now we're the worst team.' So that kind of upset them and they stepped up."
Slade on the comeback:
"When I looked up at the clock and there were six minutes on the clock, I still had hope. Six minutes is a long time in a high school basketball game. I looked up also and saw that we were already in the bonus. I told the guys that you've got to keep attacking. These guys are going to foul you, so we can stop this clock and get to the foul line. We didn't shoot well at the foul line but when we did miss, our big men were there to clean up and try to put the ball back in. We finally started rebounding with four minutes left on the clock. So, that was a big thing. Finally, we started rebounding. I'm proud of the guys, at least for a quarter of a quarter."
Slade on his team's defense in the last five minutes, when Delmar went scoreless:
"Defensively we don't work much on man-to-man because we rely on our 1-3-1. But tonight the guys proved that the man-to-man may be the way to go."
Slade on Delmar's defensive pressure and zone defense:
"We knew that. I watched Delmar on tape and heard a lot about them in the area. Delmar's a very good team. I take it off to their coaches. They had them prepared. We knew they we were going to be full-court pressure the whole time. I wasn't prepared for them to go zone. I watched all their tapes and talked to people and that's all they do is man. On the way over here I said, 'Wouldn't it be crazy if they go zone?' And we came out ready for that man-to-man and they went zone and we weren't ready for that because we just didn't practice it. I can say a little bit of that is my fault. That's probably the most pressure we're going to get in the league all year. To come out at the end of the fourth quarter and show that we can handle that pressure, that made me feel good. Maybe, finally, the momentum went to our side and those kids on the Delmar side weren't prepared. Overall, I don't know what happened. I'm just glad we won."
Slade on the game as a preview of the Henlopen Conference championship:
"That's what I billed it up as. I said, 'Guys, this game right here is probably a preview of the conference championship. We've got to go out here and show we can play with these guys.' Hopefully they'll realize they have to play hard in order to beat this team. We're still having a problem as far as mentally being prepared for games. We'll go in, we'll see teams in the South that are smaller than us, and we automatically think, 'Oh we're going to go inside all night and dominate them.' But the South is full of talented guards. My guards are not as talented as the Southern guards. That's where we're getting burnt. We're getting burnt as far as the guard play. If I had those Southern gaurds and my Northern big men, we'd be dominating this conference like it was nothing. I tell the team, when you've got a team that's small, they can shoot, they can penetrate. Our defense is not ready (for talented guards). I'm preparing them, I'm trying, but it's not exactly ready for tough guard play as far as penetration. It's just something we have to continue to work on."
Sussex Central center Jame Cannon on the win:
"Down 18, it was a good win. Down 18, we've got to stay positive. We know we're the number one team in the conference and we decided we weren't going to leave this game without a win. Defensively, the first three quarters we weren't up to par. The last quarter we really stepped it up. We really cranked down on Ian Hudson and Sean Hudson. They're scrappy players and they play excllent defense."
Cannon on the game as a preview of the conference championship:
"It could be. We'll find out."
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