by William Penn
Photos: SC guard Leroy Mann zips past two defenders (top). Below, forward Andrew Weatherly gets past William Penn's Devin Smith for a first quarter dunk. SC center James Cannon lays in two points in the final game of his stellar career. (bottom).
WOODSIDE -- There would be no comeback, no late-game heroics, not this time.
This time, the Sussex Central High School boys' basketball team ran out of lives.
The Golden Knights, trying to cap one of the most memorable seasons in the program's history with a trip to the Delaware state tournament's Final Four, were eliminated in the quarterfinals by William Penn, 73-53, on Tuesday, March 6, 2001.
The fourth-seeded Knights hung tough for awhile against the perennial upstate power, but fifth-seeded William Penn, and in particular center Devin Smith, began flexing its muscle in the second half at Polytech.
Smith finished with 34 points and outplayed Sussex Central center James Cannon, who scored only 12 points in the final game of his brilliant career.
The Colonials also stunned the Knights from outside as they hit 7 three-pointers to advance to the state semifinals Thursday night at the University of Delaware's Carpenter Center.
The Knights finished their season with a 21-4 record. William Penn advances to the semifinals against No. 17 Brandywine with a 16-6 record.
Sussex Central ran into trouble early as it had difficulty scoring and saw junior forward Orlando Farrow go to the bench with his second foul with 2:11 left in the first quarter.
Farrow picked up his third foul with just .6 second left in the first half and, taken out of his aggressive inside game, finished with just 7 points, well below his average of 15 points a game.
Standout sophomore forward Andrew Weatherly also collected his second foul in the second quarter, which kept the Knights from being as aggressive as they usually are.
Still, with senior point guard Leroy Mann playing like a man possessed in the final game of his career, the Knights stayed within striking distance in the first half.
Mann led the Knights in scoring with 13 points, in rebounds with 7, and tied 6-7 forward Layton Wright with 3 blocks in an attempt to give his team a boost.
The Knights had trouble scoring from the outset as they finished the first quarter with just 9 points and the first half with only 20.
They had pulled within 25-20 late in the first half but four straight points by Smith on a three-pointer and a foul shot put William Penn up 29-20 at intermission.
Any optimism the Knights had coming out of the locker room was quickly dashed in the third quarter as the Colonials built their lead to 40-25 with 5:10 left in the third quarter and upped their advantagae to 46-27 with 4:00 left in the period on a three-pointer by guard Lorenzo Wilson, who finished with 15 points.
Sussex Central managed to whittle the lead down to 52-39 by period's end on a pair of foul shots by sophomore forward Andrew Weatherly, who scored 9 points, and a three-point play on a layup and foul shot by Mann.
But any thoughts of another comeback victory -- the Knights' trademark this season -- were put to rest midway through the fourth quarter as Smith slammed home consecutive dunks to spark an 8-0 rally that gave William Penn an insurmountable 71-48 lead with just 2:10 left in the game.
WILLIAM PENN (73) -- Justin Womack 0 0-0 0, Shane Hairston 4 0-0 9, Kenny Dease 0 0-0 0, Lorenzo Wilson 6 0-0 15, Jamaar Manlove 4 0-0 9, Bernell Parker 1 0-0 2, Devin Smith 14 4-5 34, Michael Bacon 0 2-6 2, Corei Washington 1 0-0 2, Chris Delaney 0 0-0 0, Ugene Johnson 0 0-0 0, Earl Gardner 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 30 6-11 73.
SUSSEX CENTRAL (53) -- C.J. Watson 0 0-0 0, Andrew Weatherly 3 3-4 9, Frank Roach 2 0-1 4, Anthony Williams 0 0-0 0, Leroy Mann 6 1-1 13, Darris Sample 0 0-0 0, Layton Wright 1 1-2 3, James Cannon 3 5-6 12, Orlando Farrow 3 1-1 7, Jesse Makowski 2 1-2 5. TOTALS 20 12-17 53.
Three-point field goals: William Penn 7 (Wilson 3, Smith 2, Hairston, Manlove); Sussex Central 1 (Cannon).
Sussex Central coach Tim Slade on the Golden Knights' season:
"This is one of the best seasons Sussex Central has ever had. You've got to take it off to the guys who won the Henlopen Conference championship, which has never been done in Sussex Central history. I'm very proud of these guys. Any coach in the conference, any coach in the whole United States, would be glad to coach these guys. I'm just hoping they all can learn from this and we'll be back next year."
Slade on the 13-point, 7-rebound, 3-block effort of point guard Leroy Mann:
"Mann played like this was his last game of the season. At the beginning of the game I said, 'Leroy you've got to establish some senior leadership. You've got to start taking the ball to the hole. You've got to talk to the guys. You're a captain. So you've got to get in there and do what you have to do'. I thought he did a good job of trying to execute. It's just the guys didn't follow his lead. He came over to me and said, 'Slade, they're not moving around.' I said, 'I know'. I kept yelling at guys. They just wouldn't move. I don't know if they were tired from not having practiced. I don't know if the snow day hurt us or not. But this is one of those times you've got to let it all hang out and we didn't let it all hang out. We didn't execute."
Slade on the troubles of his two big men, Orlando Farrow and James Cannon:
"Farrow or Cannon are usually the ones that carried us all year. Farrow got in early foul trouble so he didn't do what he usually does. Cannon, he just didn't have it tonight. I don't know if he was mentally drained from the other night (71-69 win over Dickinson), but he just didn't have it tonight. Drew (Andrew Weatherly) played very well but at the same time they didn't play as hard as I thought they should on defense. I don't know if it was the intimidation factor. I don't know if it was the fact it was William Penn or what. We just didn't play good Sussex Central basketball tonight."
Slade on the trouble his team had scoring:
"The thing that got me is the fact that all year we've been running plays, but tonight we allowed them and their aggressiveness to take us out of our plays. We have really good, designed plays, but we just didn't execute. We have plays in which to go down low, but guys weren't looking down low. We have plays in which we screen away, they weren't screening away. It looked like a street ball game on our part and a very well executed game on their part."
Slade on William Penn's outside shooting, which accounted for 7 three-pointers:
"They shoot threes. When you have a small team like that you've got to have a really good outside shooting team. They did a good job. They just kept penetrating and moving the ball around, but at the same time my guys acted like they had never seen penetrate and move the ball out and we didn't run out there to contest the shots. I mean, me at my age, I could still hit that many shots if you leave me wide open. So they executed, we didn't. It was as simple as that."
Slade on Farrow's foul problems:
"Whenever Farrow gets in early foul trouble, it kind of takes his game away. He's usually a more aggressive type person but he couldn't do that because he was in fear of getting fouls called, which I understand that. But at the same time somebody else should have stepped up and they didn't step up."
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