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Photos: The Sussex Central boys' basketball team, 2001 Henlopen Conference champions (above). SC center James Cannon lays in two of his 12 fourth quarter points (below). SC forward Orlando Farrow (bottom) grabs one of his 18 rebounds.
LEWES -- In a year of firsts at Sussex Central High School, the Golden Knights won the program's first Henlopen Conference boys' basketball championship on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2001.
As they have so often this season, the Knights overcame a first half deficit for the 59-49 victory over Henlopen South champion Lake Forest before a near-capacity crowd at Cape Henlopen.
Senior center James Cannon, junior forward Orlando Farrow and sophomore forward Andrew Weatherly led the way for the Knights, who won their first conference title in their third attempt.
Cannon scored a game-high 28 points including 12 on 6-for-6 shooting in the fourth quarter, when Central broke open a 43-40 game to lead by as many as 13 points in the final period.
Farrow contributed 10 points and 18 rebounds including 11 rebounds in the second half.
Weatherly, fighting off a right knee injury that kept him on the bench until the second quarter, scored 9 points and provided a heap of inspiration.
Both Farrow and Weatherly, along with forward Jesse Makowski, were major contributors to the Knight football program's first Henlopen North crown and state tournament berth in the fall.
The win gave Sussex Central, the Henlopen North champion, a 20-3 overall record heading into this week's state tournament. Lake Forest fell to 16-7 overall with the loss.
Playing without Weatherly in the first period, the Knights fell behind 16-13 as they tried to adjust their 1-2-2 zone by putting the 6-4 Farrow at the point where Weatherly typically roams.
The defense wasn't nearly as effective as it is with Weatherly, though, as Farrow wasn't able to crash the defensive boards as hard, leading to a number of second chance points for the Spartans.
Even when Weatherly entered the game at the start of the second period, he couldn't play the point with his injured knee, and the Spartans took advantage to build the 29-18 lead with 2:36 left in the half.
But after guard Dorell Little gave Lake Forest that big lead, Sussex Central coach Tim Slade switched the Knights into a man-to-man defense, which moved Farrow from the perimeter of the defense to the middle.
And just like that, Lake Forest's second chances dried up and the Knights went on an 8-0 run to end the half down just 29-26.
The Knights continued their assault in the second half as a fast break layup gave them a 31-29 lead to start the third period.
Lake Forest recovered to take a 38-34 lead with four minutes left in the quarter, but the Knights, with Cannon heating up, took the lead for good on a Cannon foul shot for a 41-40 advantage with 38 seconds left.
Then, a follow shot by Weatherly with just one second left gave the Knights a 43-40 advantage heading into the final period.
Lake Forest was led by guard Terrell Hicks' 20 points. Little added 13.
LAKE FOREST (49) -- Arron Wright 2 0-0 4, Dorell Little 3 7-8 13, Anthony Butcher 0 0-0 0, Jeff Scott 4 0-0 8, Terrell Hicks 7 5-6 20, Mike Taylor 1 0-0 2, Vasean Townsend 0 0-0 0, Larry Smith 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 18 12-14 49.
SUSSEX CENTRAL (59) -- Andrew Weatherly 4 0-0 9, Frank Roach 1 0-1 2, Leroy Mann 2 3-5 7, Darris Sample 0 0-0 0, James Cannon 12 4-8 28, Orlando Farrow 5 0-0 10, Jesse Makowski 1 1-2 3. TOTALS 23 6-13 54.
Three-point field goals: Lake Forest 1 (Hicks); Sussex Central 1 (Weatherly).
Sussex Central coach Tim Slade on his team:
"We set many goals at the beginning of the year and this was definitely one of them. We have one more goal left, so we'll see what happens in the state tournament. These are a great bunch of guys. When you go into the school you'll never hear anything negative about these guys. They're just really good guys. They do really good in school. They're probably the most popular guys in school. They're fun-loving, so they deserve it. When you get guys like this, you've got to be glad for them that they've finally reached this point in their life."
Slade on center James Cannon's second half:
"In the second half we started driving in and a lot of good things started happening. We got a lot of good assists from Frank Foach and Leroy (Mann) and that's what got Cannon a lot of points. I know their team is very aggressive and I knew once they were aggressive, when they go to Cannon, they want to try to stop Cannon. I told Cannon just to go inside, use your body, and do what you do best, and he did a great job in the second half."
Slade on switching from a 1-2-2 zone to man defense late in the first half:
"We practiced all week as far as the zone because we thought we could do a good job of trapping Little and Hicks. However, their off-side guy was getting a lot of layups so I had no choice but to switch to man-to-man. I was just trying to protect the injury to Andrew Weatherly but Andrew, he just went out and played real hard and I'm proud of him. I want to go man to man, but with the injuries we've had this year it's been really tough. it seems like i don't really have any choice. It seems like every game I've got to go man to man eventually, so maybe that's something we have to work on this week."
Slade on forward Orlando Farrow's rebounding in the second half:
"Somebody in the crowd came to me and said, 'You know, he's probably gretting so tired because he's out in front on the press running and when he finally gets the ball on the offensive end he's really tired'. Switching to the man to man, their inside guys weren't so mobile, so it allowed him to get his legs back in the second half."
Slade on injured sophomore forward Andrew Weatherly's playing status for the conference championship game:
"I didn't know Andrew was playing until we got on the bus. His mom, at first, didn't want him to play and then finally he gave her a call and said 'Mom, please let me play'. And she said 'Okay, coach Slade, if you see him limping, please take him out'. I really wasn't watching him that much. I don't know if he was limping or not. But he stuck in there, got some key rebounds, he hit a key three at the beginning of the second half, so Andrew was a very big key to this win tonight. The emotion took over (for Weatherly). There's no pain, but he'll probably feel it in the morning, though."
Slade on the comeback:
"We've been through this many times. We've been down to Sallies, we've been down to Tech, we've been down to Delmar ... the biggst one. We don't get immpatient when we're down. We just fight and fight and chip away and finally we got the lead down and we just took over from there. Once we got momentum back on our side, we just focused on trying to get the ball inside, but mostly just being patient. It seemed like in the first half we just wanted to shoot a lot of jump shots. in the second half we penetrated, we hit a lot of people in the post. James Cannon came up big in the post in the paint. That was a big thing in the second half."
Slade on sophomore point guard Frank Roach's performance:
"I don't know if a lot of people realize he's a JV player. He played JV all year. At the end of the year I said, 'Frank, we need somebody else to help Leroy as far as bringing the ball up'. And he said, 'Coach, I can do it'. He came into the game, I saw the nervousness in him. I was nervous in the beginning of the game, my first time, his first time as a sophomore. But he was comfortable in the second half, and he got a little more comfortable. I said, 'Frank, just do your thing like you do on JV, penetrate or shoot your little jumper'. He said, 'Coach, okay, I got you'. He did a really good job in the second half. A lot of times i thought he was trapped and he found ways to get out of that trap, so he's going to be tough. You need to keep watching him for the next couple of years."
Sussex Central center James Cannon on his 6-for-6, 12-point fourth quarter:
"I really tried to step up in the fourth quarter. I think my team really needed me in the fourth quarter. I just tried to step up."
Cannon on his overall 28-point performance:
"That's been my best game in awhile. My scoring has been a little down but I really didn't care. I really never needed to step up, so this is a good game for me."
Cannon on the comeback:
"We've played like that all season. We're pretty used to it. When we get down, we don't really worry."
Cannon on winning the school's first conference championship in boys' basketball:
"It feels real good right now. All the hard work we put in to win a conference championship, it feels so good. We've never won a conference championship and it feels real good to be the first ones to bring it home."
Sussex Central forward Andrew Weatherly on his right knee injury:
"In the beginning of the week it was a 100 percent chance I wasn't playing, but over the days it kept improving and improving and improving. Then I went to the doctor and he wanted to try to let me play, and then I talked it out with mother today and we made the final decision that I could play. But as soon as she saw me start limping, I was done. I played it out. Once you get that momentum going, it's over. You're not going to feel it. I feel like a champion. I'll be alright (for the state tournament)."
Sussex Central forward Orlando Farrow on switching from the zone to man:
"In practive we worked on that to try to stop Little and Hicks. We saw that wasn't working in the first half and Slade said to play man to man. We came out and got aggressive and started scoring our points. In the first half, we were in a zone and I couldn't grab my rebounds, but that was my fault because I wasn't crashing like I was supposed to. In the second half, I came out and grabbed as many boards as I could."
Farrow on the comeback:
"Throughout most of the season we've been behind. We know we're the best team in the conference and we know we're one of the best teams in the state and we know when we're down, we can come back at any time. It feels good. In football we didn't make it all the way, we didn't get the conference, but in basketball we're going to take it all the way and bring the state championship home."
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