WILMINGTON — Cape Henlopen High never let the top seed pull away.
In fact, the No. 17 seeded Vikings tied the game and had multiple chances to take the lead.
But not enough shots fell and Mount Pleasant escaped with a 50-47 victory over Cape Henlopen in the second round of the DIAA boys’ basketball state tournament Friday night.
“It was a heart-breaker,” said Cape Henlopen coach Stephen Re. “We didn’t make some shots at the end there when we had some really, really, really good looks. It just didn’t go in.”
Mount Pleasant advanced to the quarterfinals, where it will meet St. Georges at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday. Cape Henlopen ended its season at 15-7.
The Green Knights looked to have sealed it when they went on an 8-0 run with under a minute left.
Cory Barnes scored on a layup and was fouled. He hit the resulting free throw before the Vikings forced a five-second call on an inbound play.
Ian Robertson scored on a putback to make it a 50-47. The Green Knights missed the front end of a one-and-one giving Cape a chance to tie the game on its final possession.
Robertson got himself open, but his three-point attempt rimmed out with three seconds left. Mount Pleasant missed another free throw on the other end but Randy Rickards’ desperation heave from the other foul line was off the mark.
Cape Henlopen never led in the second half but tied the game on three different occasions.
Mount Pleasant used a 9-0 run in the third to take a nine-point lead. But the Vikings tied it with a three-pointer by Jerry Harden early in the fourth quarter to make it a 38-38 game.
Cape had a chance to take the lead on ensuing possessions, but couldn’t knock down its shot attempts.
“Wow did we play great defense in the second half,” Re said. “I think we lacked the ability to score in crucial times which hurt our momentum. We didn’t get out of that fast enough. Turnovers hurt us a lot too with some careless turnovers.”
Rickards was Cape’s leading scorer with 14 points. Robertson followed by chipping in 10 points.
Both Rickards and Robertson are juniors and will return next season for Cape Henlopen. The Vikings started one freshman and had another play off the bench.
“If we can continue to work hard in the summer I like our team,” Re said. “If we can be better teammates and grow up a little, I like our team a lot. I like our team now, we’ve got good guys. We just came up short.”
Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at firstname.lastname@example.org