Seaford coach Vince Evans said after the 77-64 win over the Polytech Panthers in the Henlopen Conference championship, “We have it, it is ours, and we earned it!”
From tip-off to final buzzer the Blue Jays played solid team ball on both sides of the court with four players scoring in double digits.
Seaford point guard and play maker Careen Bolden said, “We worked hard at practice and in the game. We grew up together and we know how each other plays, we know how each reacts.”
Seaford came out in the third quarter and outscored Polytech, 24-15, which would be the deciding quarter in the game. Evans said, “We all had a sour taste in our mouths after losing last year and we knew we could win and worked hard all year. We knew we had to stay together and lock in on defense.”
Polytech’s scorers pulled in their game averages but Seaford had more players in double digits including Makel Hubbard (20), Kashmier Wise (17), Brent Ricketts (13), and Careen Bolden (12). “Makel (Hubbard) did a good job on Kyle Gambler (17 points) and Aviyon/Brent were strong defense on Dorell Little (14 points), who averages 22 plus a game. They can put up 30 points on any given day and so these guys did a good job on team defense,” said Evans.
Seaford took an opening 7-0 lead and Polytech came back after connecting on a three-point shot from the corner and then tied the game at 14-14 with seconds to go in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Bolden showed his power on rebounds muscling out Polytech and scoring on offensive boards. Hubbard also was tenacious under the basket and pulled in a rebound on a missed free throw by Akendre Matthews, scoring for Seaford plus one on the Polytech foul. In the final seconds of the half Seaford crawled and scratched their lead to five points.
Seaford turned it on in the third quarter and dominated the court, outscoring and frustrating the Panthers. Bolden’s passing and offensive movement ignited the team and Wise sunk a three-point basket. Polytech put on a full court press that Seaford broke down in three quick passes and jumped out to a 43-27 lead. The confidence built and Bolden’s dunk with a defender on his back brought the crowd to its feet and Seaford led 55-41 to end the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Seaford needed to hold on to the lead. Coach Evans said the team is doing better to control the clock while Bolden said of the team’s passing game, “It is all about working it out at practice and work on transition and getting to our spots so we know where each other is going to be at during the game.”
Seaford scored early in the final quarter. Aviyon Matthews was fouled for a three point score. Seaford took the air out of the Panthers on two dunks and in the final seconds Matthews took the inbound pass and was fouled for a three point play and 77-64 win.
“The kids earned this. They have been working hard for three years for this moment. Polytech has good kids that can score, we had to stay locked in and we did,” said Evans. “We have to get ready for the state tournament, one practice at a time.”
Seaford will play at home against the winner of the first round game between Dover and Archmere.
Polytech- Brewington 7 4-9 20, Shelton-Hoskins 5 0-2 13, Gambler 5 5-6 17, Little 5 3-3 14.
Totals: 22 12-20 64
Seaford- Ak. Matthews 1 2-4 4, Ricketts 6 0-0 13, Bolden 5 2-2 12, Wise 7 0-0 17, Av. Matthews 3 1-1 8, Mifflin 1 0-0 3, Hubbard 9 0-0 20.
Totals: 32 5-7 77
3-Point Goals:PT 8 Shelton-Hoskins 3, Brewington 2, Gambler 2, Little)
Sea 8 (Wise 3, Hubbard 2, Ricketts, Mifflin, Av. Matthews)