WILMINGTON – The Cape Henlopen girls basketball team had been having trouble getting off to good starts this season.
That wasn’t a problem Tuesday during the Vikings’ first game in the Diamond State Classic.
Cape screamed out to a 14-1 lead in the first 2:46 and never looked back on the way to a 52-19 victory over Perryville (Maryland).
“It was almost as if we were taking the first hit, and then we were having to fight our way back,” Vikings coach Lauren Carra said. “We were putting ourselves in a hole, and with as young as this team is, mostly sophomores and juniors, it’s hard to have to bounce back like that.”
There was no need to bounce back this time. Cape controlled the Panthers (0-3) from the opening tip, hitting six of its first eight shots, including 3 of 4 from behind the 3-point arc.
“When we practice, our coach helps us with our shot,” said junior Sydney Pedersen, who hit three 3s on the way to a game-high 13 points. “We just hype each other up when it comes to shooting, and when you’re open, shoot it.”
The Vikings got open early and often. Pederson dropped a 3 from the right wing, Niya Mosley converted a turnover into a fast-break layup, Carly Truitt canned a 3 from the right corner and Pederson swished another deep 3 for a 14-1 lead with 5:14 still remaining in the first quarter.
“It’s been a work in progress for us this season,” Carra said. “We’re hitting our stride right now, which is a good time.”
The Vikings created much of their offense with their defense, forcing Perryville into seven turnovers in the first four minutes. Abby E’Nama, a 6-foot-2 senior, added an intimidating presence inside with eight blocked shots for the game.
“We’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on the defensive end of the floor,” Carra said. “Putting pressure on the basketball, making teams uncomfortable.”
The Vikings led 22-5 after the first quarter and stretched it to 35-8 at the half.
Cape Henlopen (4-2) advanced to meet Wilmington Friends in the championship game of the New Castle Insurance Cup bracket at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Carra said tempo will be key against the Quakers.
“At times, we let teams take us out of our game,” said Carra, a former University of Delaware standout. “We’re looking to just play Cape basketball and play the way we’re capable of playing.”
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ