The Slam Dunk to the Beach boys high school basketball event will have something extra this December.
An extra Delaware team.
The Delaware Sports Commission has increased the number of in-state teams from five to six. Host Cape Henlopen, Sanford, Appoquinimink, Dover, Mount Pleasant and St. Elizabeth will compete against each other and some of the nation’s best Dec. 27-29 at Cape Henlopen High.
Each of the six Delaware teams will play at least two games, one against an in-state opponent and one against an out-of-state opponent. The field of national teams coming to Slam Dunk will be announced in June.
Slam Dunk returned to Lewes for the first time in 11 years last December, with 16 teams drawing more than 10,000 fans and generating an estimated $1 million in economic impact in the area over three days. Among the top players in last year’s event were Roselle (N.J.) Catholic point guard Isaiah Briscoe, who has signed with Kentucky, and Our Savior New American (N.Y.) center Cheick Diallo, who has yet to decide on a college destination. Both athletes will play in the 38th annual McDonald’s All-America game on April 1.
Sanford will be in Slam Dunk for the second consecutive year. The Warriors went 1-2 in Lewes and finished an 18-5 season with a 48-46 loss to Polytech in the semifinals of the DIAA Boys Basketball Tournament. The backcourt of first-team All-State selection Mikey Dixon and third-team All-Stater Eric Ayala returns.
Appoquinimink went 18-4 in only its seventh year of varsity basketball this season, falling to eventual champion Salesianum in the DIAA quarterfinals. Second-team All-State guard Myles Cale leads a strong cast of returnees.
Dover expects to be a strong representative of Kent County. The Senators return all but one player from a 14-8 team that reached the second round of the DIAA tournament, including second-team All-State guard Jordan Allen.
Mount Pleasant will be another team to watch, as the Green Knights return all but two players from a 21-3 team that reached the DIAA semifinals. First-team All-State guard Raheim Burnett is among the returnees.
St. Elizabeth also appears to have a bright future. The Vikings return all but two players from a 17-5 team that reached the DIAA quarterfinals, including first-team All-State guard Jordan Money.
Host Cape Henlopen went 0-2 in the 2014 Slam Dunk, but reached the state tournament and returns seven players from this year’s team.
Three-day passes are available for $58 online at www.slamdunktothebeach.com or by calling (844) 594-2257.
Spring sports begin
• Friday’s snow may put a damper on some of the high school baseball openers scheduled for Saturday, but the second Upstate Downstate Girls Soccer Challenge should be good to go on the artificial turf fields at Appoquinimink.
Sussex Tech will get it started against Appo at 10:30 a.m., followed by Brandywine vs. Woodbridge at 12:30. St. Mark’s will take on Caesar Rodney at 2:30, with Dover meeting Caravel in the final game at 4:30. Admission is $5 and is good for all day.
• The track and field season also kicks off with the A.I. Relays at A.I. du Pont High. The action starts at noon, and admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students.
Rounding it up
• Polytech forward Devaughn Mallory has been named the Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-7 senior averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds per game as the Panthers went 23-2 and reached the championship game of the DIAA Boys Basketball Tournament.
• Howard High’s alumni basketball games, which benefit student scholarships, will start at 1 p.m. March 28. Four games will be held: 1980s vs. 1990s, 1990s vs. 2000s, 2001-07 vs. 2008-14 and students vs. staff. Entry fee is $100 per team or $10 per person.
VIP tickets ($20), which will include a catered meal in the Howard gym balcony, will be limited to 80. Regular tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, email Tena Gladney at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark Sills at email@example.com or Tynetta Clemment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ