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Photo: Tech's L.J. Walston scores on a fast break layup.
LEWES -- What looked like a possible preview of the Delaware state championship game next March turned out to be anything but in a Governor's Cup semifinal in the Slam Dunk to the Beach National Holiday Basketball Tournament on Monday, Dec. 27, 1999.
Instead, the Sussex Tech Ravens, ranked third in the state, turned in one of their worst performances in recent memory in a 79-35 loss to defending state champion and 4th-ranked William Penn before a stunned crowd.
The Ravens dropped to 4-2 with their second loss in as many days in the tournament but unlike previous games this season, when they've been able to overcome slow starts to win or threaten to win late in the game, they simply took a constant pounding from the Colonials.
Returning four starters from last year's state championship team, William Penn, behind the outstanding guard tandem of Bruce Davis and Brock Donovan, began to pull away from the Ravens in the second period when a 6-0 run created a 32-19 lead with 3:17 left before halftime. By half's end, the Colonials led 38-22.
Tech never pulled within double digits again, but the wheels really came off in the third period and into the fourth period when the Colonials ran off 23 straight points on what seemed to be an endless parade of steals for layups or free throws.
Sussex Tech coach Jerry Kobasa emptied his bench with 6 minutes left in the game and Tech would score only two more points -- in fact, its only two points of the fourth period.
William Penn helped force the Ravens into 29 turnovers including 18 by steals, with guard Zachery Jackson combining with Donovan and Davis for 11 of those steals. In addition, Tech shot just 28.9 percent for the game including 25 percent in the first half.
Tech standout Brian Polk led the Ravens with 15 points but he committed 9 of the Ravens' turnovers. The only other Raven close to double figures was L.J. Walston with 9 points.
William Penn was led by Davis' 17 points. Shane Hairston and Von Homer contributed 13 points apiece and Donovan chipped in with 9 more.
WILLIAM PENN (79) -- Zachery Jackson 3-5 0-1 6, Shane Hairston 5-6 3-6 13, Bruce Davis 7-14 1-3 17, Brock Donovan 3-8 2-5 9, Devin Smith 3-11 0-0 6, Lorenzo Wilson 0-0 4-4 4, Von Homer 6-7 1-2 13, Jamaar Manlove 2-5 0-1 4, Mike Bacon 0-1 0-0 0, Felix Wilkins 1-2 2-2 4, Aaron Duplessis 0-0 0-0 0, Mke Fistgiles 0-1 1-2 1, Eugene Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Corei Washington 0-0 0-2 2. Totals: 31-61 14-28 79.
SUSSEX TECH (35) -- Brian Polk 6-16 3-4 15, Michael Hooks 2-4 0-0 5, L.J. Walston 4-7 1-1 9, Tynell Tingle 0-8 2-2 2, Tyray Chandler 1-5 0-0 2, Darko Jankovic 0-2 0-0 0, Trey Cooper 0-1 0-1 0, Robert Smith 0-0 0-0 0, DeShawn Cannon 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Mann 0-1 0-0 0, David Collins 0-0 0-0 0, Shannon Wright 0-1 -2 2. Totals: 13-45 8-10 35.
Three-pointers: Bruce Davis 2, Brock Donovan, Michael Hooks.
Sussex Tech coach Jerry Kobasa on the loss:
"I don't know what to tell you. I've never seen us play like that. We were totally out of it. We'll go home and take a look in the mirror and see what we need to work on. Some of these kids have things they need to work on individually. We got out of psynch and we never got back into it. We have to regroup."
Kobasa on William Penn guards Brock Donovan and Bruce Davis:
"Brock Donovan is one of the best point guards in the state of Delaware. He's a four-year starter and very intelligent, an excellent ballplayer. Then you've got Davis in there. These guys have been around. They had excellent guard play today and we weren't very good at our guard play."
Kobasa on his team's slow starts the last few games:
"You can't keep coming back. Yesterday we came back against Bishop Eustace but with good teams you can't always do that. Yesterday (a 75-69 loss to Eustace) our shots started falling but today they didn't and William Penn exploited it."
Kobasa on his kids' confidence after the blowout loss:
"We'll come back. Kids are resilient. We'll look at it tonight and see where we've got to go. The good thing about down here (Slam Dunk) is it's a learning experience. We learned today that we aren't that good ... we'll get better."
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