Woodside, DE-There was plenty to cheer for at Thursday night’s boys basketball game as No. 3 Polytech hosted Cape Henlopen. In the end, the home team Panthers prevailed 77-72 with pressure defense and clutch performances in the final quarter, most notably by Kyle Gamber and Brett Shelton-Hoskins.
The visiting Vikings shook off a slow start and came to life in the 2nd quarter as they “pushed the pace” and converted five shots beyond the arc to thrill their boisterous fans. Polytech held a 26-23 lead at the 5:15 mark of the 2nd quarter when Cape went on an 18-2 run to take the largest lead of the night at 41-28. In that three-minute span, Drew Zimmerman drained two 3-pointers, assisted on two other shots, and made a nifty “ball-fake” layup for eight points. Also contributing during the “run” were Tyrone Tolson (4 points) with fast-break buckets, while Kam Trammell and Trey Leggins buried long-range shots as the Cape fans just about raised-the-roof!
The Vikings took a seven point lead at the half, and the two teams battled evenly in the 3rd quarter setting up the final 8:00 of play with the Panthers trailing by five. A critical portion of the game occurred when Xavier Brewington was whistled for his 4th personal foul mid-way thru the 3rd, and was not inserted back into the lineup until 6:15 left in the game. In his absence, Gamber, Dorrell Little, and Shelton-Hoskins picked up their game. They helped the Panthers keep within a two-possession game. Polytech head coach John Pierce told us after the game, “We have a next man up philosophy…this group is resilient.”
When Brewington returned, Cape’s Trammell hit a “three” to put the Vikings up 64-58 with 6:10 to go. Then the Panthers started their rally. Little converted a layup, Shelton-Hoskins drained a critical shot beyond the arc, and Gamber converted two traditional three-point-plays to put Polytech ahead 70-68 with barely 2:00 left. Following an empty Cape trip down the floor, Shelton-Hoskins calmly hit another, and possibly the “biggest” deep shot of the night to put Polytech up 73-68. Zimmerman made a mid-range jumper to pull Cape within 73-70 with 1:09 to go, but the Panthers would win the game at the foul line in the end.
Coach Pierce acknowledged the Cape effort and his team’s comeback in the face of adversity, “We knew Cape would come to play. This was very-very big for us to face this stress and pressure.”
Cape was led by 30 points from Zimmerman, Trey Leggins added 11, while Odin Potemski scored 10 points. The Vikings fall to 11-6 with games left against Lake, Smyrna and Middletown.
The Panthers improved to 14-3. Gamber and Little both scored 24 points and Shelton-Hoskins poured in 17. Polytech will face Milford and Hodgson at home and a road game next week at Caravel to close out the regular season.
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