There were some sweaty palms as the boys and girls Delaware state playoff brackets were announced Friday.
“Just what I thought,” Laurel head coach Shawn Phillips tweeted after his Bulldogs grabbed the No. 20 seed with a 15-5 record.
Rival Delmar also made the tourney at the No. 21 seed at 11-8. The Wildcats will play No. 12 Dover (13-7) 7 p.m. Wednesday, while the Bulldogs travel to No. 13 St. Marks (13-7) at the same time. All first round games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.
In the Henlopen North division, Sussex Tech and Cape Henlopen made the playoffs, despite their sub .500 records.
The No. 18 Ravens (9-10) travel to No. 15 Hodgson, and head coach Steve Perry said it will be a tough game because of the winning tradition of both programs.
But Tech’s practice will be the key in getting them ready.
“We’re ready,” he said. “One good thing we got is a lot of time to practice, which we didn’t have over the last few weeks. That’s a plus for us. We’ll be OK. We’re still young, some inexperienced players but now our seniors gotta step up.”
Cape’s late wins against Tech and Delcastle helped the Vikings secure the No. 24 seed and a matchup at No. 9 Howard (16-4).
While those two wins helped, Vikings’ head coach Stephen Re said it was the 17-point fourth-quarter comeback against Seaford that started it all.
“To be honest with you, those two wins were absolutely huge,” he said, “Beating two good teams like that right at the right time of the year when you’re supposed to be playing your best. … I think it actually started before that when we played at Seaford.”
The Vikings were down 17 points in the fourth quarter with 6 minutes to play. And came all the way back to win.
With the Blue Jays up one with 14.9 seconds left, freshman Ian Robertson was fouled attempting a 3-pointer, and made all three to win the game for the Vikings.
Despite the 9-11 record, Cape got in because of the strength of its schedule.
“The strength of schedule was definitely a key factor,” Re said. “When you lose a group of guys that we lost last year, and everybody says, ‘You want to rebuild, rebuild, rebuild,’ and ideally you’d like to keep a tradition of winning.”
The Vikings came into this season with idea that were guys who had been in the program, they were getting better and it was their time to step up.
“It’s one of the hardest working group of guys that I’ve had on a daily basis since I’ve been coaching. … I’m glad we get to continue to compete,” Re said.
In the girls bracket, Sussex Central secured a first-round bye with the No. 6 seed and look to repeat its magic from last year with another final four run.
Besides the Golden Knights, the boys schools will be traveling to games up north.
Re said he thinks his team is the one nobody wants to play as they’ve won games down the stretch. Perry had a cool and confident tone about Hodgson, along with the immensely talented Ravens.
Delmar is a team of athletes and shooters that can take anyone down on any given night with Kavon Trader, Shane Leatherbury and Larry Ennis.
But Phillips tweeted what he thought about his matchup.
“Love going upstate,” he tweeted.
On Twitter/Instagram: @DTimes_Marshall
Henlopen South First Team
Larry Ennis, Delmar
Randy Dupont, Woodbridge
Gary Warren, Laurel
Kei’Juan Major, Indian River
Chucky Auguste, Laurel
Henry Naismith, Milford
Rahim Smith, Seaford
Devin Karvits, Milford
Dontwain Cornish, Lake Forest
Shane Leatherberry, Delmar
Henlopen North First Team
Devaughn Mallory, Polytech
Jordan Allen, Dover
Latrelle Lee, Smyrna
Juwan Gray, Polytech
Shi’Wuan Sykes, Sussex Tech
Ja’vier Worthy, Smyrna
Clanton, Sussex Central
Drew Mulcahy, Cape Henlopen
Richard Hicks, Polytech
Davione Robinson, Caesar Rodney
Jaquan Hooks, Caesar Rodney