Basketball is a five-person game, so losing two of your best players at the same time can be devastating.
The Concord girls have played their last five games without injured senior guard Holly Panchak, and their last four games without injured sophomore guard Z’hane Snow. But the Raiders are surviving – even thriving – after receiving a major boost from another guard on the way to an 8-0 start.
Panchak was averaging 13.7 points through three games, and Snow was averaging 12.3 points through four games. Without them, Aahliyah Selby has taken her game to another level.
“I’ve been around a long time, and I would venture to say there isn’t a better pure shooter than her in the whole state of Delaware right now,” Raiders coach John Armstrong said of Selby. “Handle, score, steals, anticipation, she has done everything.”
The junior is averaging 16.5 points per game, but has scored at a 21.4 clip over her last five games. That includes a 20-point performance in which she went 10-for-10 from the field in a 66-48 victory over Woodbridge on Dec. 29.
“She’s been tremendous,” Armstrong said. “Just solid and stone-faced and getting it done for us. Without her, we would have had a couple of losses by now.”
Both Panchak and Snow are expected to return in the next 10 days.
“When we get them back, I think we’re going to be really strong contenders,” Armstrong said. “We’ve been able to hold the fort so far while they’ve been coming back.”
The fourth-ranked Raiders have won every game by at least 11 points. They will likely be favored in each remaining game until Feb. 23 – their regular-season finale at No. 1 Ursuline.
“I tell them, ‘Don’t look forward to that. You’ve got to take it one game at a time,’” Armstrong said. “This is the time that if you’re not paying attention, a team that on paper is not supposed to beat you can sneak up on you and give you a loss.”
Long way to go
The Cape Henlopen boys basketball team is 4-5, and takes a four-game losing streak into Friday night’s game at No. 4 Smyrna. But the Vikings’ losses have come to Concord in overtime, Appoquinimink, Dover and tough Maryland opponents Arundel and Bishop McNamara.
“Because of the schedule that we constantly have, our records are never as good as people think,” Cape coach Stephen Re said. “But we’ve been in the [state] tournament every single year, and we make noise when we get in there. I know this team is going to get better as the year goes on.”
The Vikings have won at least one DIAA tournament game in six of the last nine years, and reached the semifinals in 2014.
Rounding it up
— The St. Mark’s boys basketball team spent four days at Disney’s All-Star Resort in Orlando, Florida, and played in the annual KSA Holiday Tournament. The Spartans (6-1) lost to Cypress, California, 38-37 on Dec. 29, but bounced back to defeat Ichabod Crane of Valatie, New York, 38-30 the next day.
— St. Elizabeth was the only Delaware school to win one of the four brackets as the 25th annual Diamond State Classic girls basketball tournament wrapped up last week at the St. E Center. The Vikings defeated Caesar Rodney 51-46 in the Delaware Cup final.
Neumann-Goretti of Philadelphia defeated Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.) 47-36 in the championship game of the St. Francis Healthcare Cup, the tournament’s eight-team national bracket. Seton Keough (Md.) edged Central Bucks East (Pa.) 37-33 in the First State Orthopaedic Cup final, and Oxford (Pa.) nipped William Penn 30-28 for the New Castle Insurance Cup championship.
— Malvern Prep (Pa.) dominated a 15-team field in the annual Battle at the Beach wrestling tournament last week at Indian River. The Friars won eight of the 14 weight classes and scored 280 points to easily outdistance runner-up Milford (194½). Sussex Central was a close third with 191 points.
Milford had three individual champions – Robbie Rosser at 106 pounds, Bart Dalious at 145 and Bryan Wynes at 285. Sussex Central’s Lucas Hudson took the title at 170.
— Division I top-ranked Smyrna put a feather in the cap of Delaware wrestling by edging the McDonogh School 31-28 in a dual meet last week in Owings Mills, Maryland. The Eagles got victories from Dakota Kerr, Kalen Wilson, Larsen Wilson, Hunter Moyer, Tony Wuest, Terren Carter and Chase Archangelo. It marked the second straight year the Eagles topped McDonogh, as they won 33-30 last season in Smyrna.
— Lyle Hemphill, a 1988 St. Elizabeth graduate and the son of former longtime St. E football coach Joe Hemphill, has been named FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop. Lyle Hemphill just completed his fifth season at Stony Brook, which led FCS in total defense (250.1 yards per game allowed) this season.
— Tickets for Saturday’s four Concord at Brandywine basketball games will be pre-sold only at both schools on Thursday and Friday in the cafeterias from 10:45 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. No tickets will be sold at the door. Junior varsity girls will tip off at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by junior varsity boys at 10:15, varsity girls at noon and varsity boys at 1:30 p.m.
— Tickets for Tuesday’s Howard at Mount Pleasant boys basketball game will be pre-sold only at both schools on Monday and Tuesday. No tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for students.
— A.I. du Pont is seeking a head coach for boys tennis and assistant coaches for boys lacrosse and track and field. Send resumes to athletic director Mark Alley at email@example.com by noon Friday.
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ