After 36 minutes of intense action, the Henlopen Conference boys basketball championship game came down to a mathematical miscue on Saturday night.
With 6.4 seconds remaining in overtime, Polytech’s Antonio DePina grabbed an inbounds pass and drove up the baseline for an easy layup. But there was a problem.
The Panthers were trailing by three points – not two.
The clock ran out, and Cape Henlopen celebrated a 66-65 victory at Smyrna High.
The wild finish capped a wild game filled with big plays and big runs by each team. Tyreik Burton led Cape (13-8) with 20 points, and Toney Floyd added 13. Devaughn Murray led Polytech (17-4) with 20 points. DePina scored 18 and Harry Johnson chipped in 13.
Burton hit one of two free throws to give the Vikings a 56-53 lead with 25.5 seconds left in regulation. The Panthers called timeout with 14.5 seconds left to set up a play, and Polytech’s Richard Hicks drained a huge 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 56 with 4.7 seconds to go. Burton’s heave from half court missed the mark, and the game went into overtime.
A pair of free throws and a layup by Devaughn Mallory pushed Polytech ahead 60-56 with 2:44 left in the extra period. But Cape came right back, as Andrew Grau hit a 12-footer and Burton scored on a driving layup to tie it at 60 with 2:11 to go.
A free throw by Johnson and two foul shots by Mallory put the Panthers back up 63-60. The Vikings answered with two free throws and a driving layup by Burton, and Grau’s tip-in pushed Cape to a 66-63 lead with 47 seconds to play.
Grau then blocked a shot on the Polytech end but missed two free throws with 16.5 seconds to give the Panthers another chance. DePina scored, but it was a point short.
The game did not affect the seedings for the upcoming DIAA Boys Basketball State Tournament. Cape is the No. 13 seed and will play host to No. 20 Laurel in a first-round game on Thursday night. Polytech earned a first-round bye as the No. 7 seed and will host the winner of Thursday’s Dickinson-St. Elizabeth game in the second round next Saturday.