Lady Ravens grab Henlopen North title with win over Polytech

GEORGETOWN – With a 59-40 victory over Polytech Saturday afternoon, Sussex Tech grabbed the Henlopen North girls’ basketball title.

Junior forward Janiya Stevens scored a team-high 14 points, while junior guard Airelle Parker added another 10 points for the Lady Ravens. In all, 11 different players scored in Tech’s 19-point victory.

“Being 15-3, with our schedule and our conference, I’m extremely proud of that,” said head coach Justin Davis. “For our girls, from day one, winning the conference was a goal and obviously to do that you have to win the division first. They’re really happy and proud.”

With the North title in hand, Sussex Tech will face Woodbridge (16-4) in the Henlopen Conference championship Friday, Feb. 23 at Dover High.

Airelle Parker (3) steals the ball and takes off down the court on a fast-break during Sussex Tech’s 59-40 win over Polytech Saturday afternoon (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“The Henlopen North is tough,” coach Davis said. “There are no easy games in the Henlopen North – I know that’s a cliché, but we mean it. There are no holes in the schedule, so if I sat down at the beginning of the season and said, ‘I think we’ll be 15-3,’ you do that as a coach and at lot of times the games you count as wins and losses surprise you both ways.”

In Saturday’s contest, the Lady Ravens’ offense got off to a quick start, putting up 21 first-quarter points and taking a 37-21 lead into halftime.

“Offensively, I’ve been pretty good but I’ve been more about trying to get the ball to everyone else and I try to get the open look as much as I can,” said junior forward Mi’Cah Shelton of the team’s offensive success. “One person can’t be the whole team, so all of us just have to work together.”

In the second half, Sussex Tech’s press defense started to wear down Polytech. The Panthers managed just four third-quarter points and 14 fourth-quarter points as Sussex Tech cruised to the North title.

“Polytech’s size hurt us the first time we played them,” said coach Davis. “I’m proud of how the girls did on the boards today. They (Polytech) have some good post players, some really athletic girls that get on the boards and they’re a young team, so they’re going to be here for years to come.”

Junior guard Arnaisa Taylor (1) goes in for a lay-up during Saturday’s Henlopen North-clinching win over Polytech (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

With 15 wins under their belt, Sussex Tech has already matched last year’s win total with a pair of regular season games still left on the schedule.

The team’s ultimate goal? Making a return trip to the Bob Carpenter Center and competing for the state championship, of course.

After a DIAA quarterfinals trip at The Bob last season, the Lady Ravens have used its 55-27 tournament loss to eventual state-champion Ursuline as motivation this season.

“We always feed off of that. We want to make it back to that point and even make it beyond. We never stop working hard,” Shelton said.

With a slew of juniors and a ton of depth on the roster, the Lady Ravens feel they can match up with just about anyone at this point.

“I don’t think any other team has as much depth as we do,” Janiya Stevens said. “Even when someone gets in foul trouble or someone is really tired, we can just easily sub-in and sub-out and nothing will be lost.”

The Ravens will suit up against Laurel (Monday, Feb. 19) and at St. Marks (Wednesday, Feb. 21) this week before competing for the Henlopen Championship game against Woodbridge Friday, Feb. 23.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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