SMYRNA — At the start of the second quarter, Polytech High’s rotation of Devaughn Mallory, Juwan Gray and Ricky Hicks — its three main offensive weapons — was on the bench.
And the Panthers didn’t miss a beat.
Chase Chappel came off the bench to net 15 points and lead a balanced effort as the Panthers won, 54-38, at Smyrna in a Henlopen Conference boys’ basketball contest on Thursday night.
Polytech built its big lead thanks to a stifling defensive job in the second quarter when it held Smyrna to just on field goal. That run started when Chappel and Tim Bulter came into the game with the Panthers’ second unit.
Chappel scored six of his points in the second quarter and capped off a 9-2 run to begin the third with a three-pointer.
“I pride myself on defense,” Chappel said. “The three-point shooting just kind of comes along with that. My teammates find me and get me open so I can knock down some shots.”
“He can do a lot for us as far as shooting and defense,” said Polytech coach John Pierce Jr. “He’s just a pleasure to have on our team. He definitely compliments everything that we do.”
Polytech’s largest lead of the game was 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Gray had 12 points and Hicks was also in double figures with 10. Mallory, who scored his 1,000th career point on Tuesday, was held scoreless for the first three quarters and ended up with four.
“That’s our focus this year, playing as a team and sharing the ball,” Pierce Jr. said. “(We want) our guys having fun out there with what we’re doing.”
“It was really balanced because usually our leading scorer is Devaughn and he has 18 or 20,” Chappel said. “Everybody was contributing tonight. It’s good.”
Mallory didn’t have to score, though, to affect the game. He and Gray each had multiple blocks and helped lead a defensive performance that saw Smyrna shoot 2-of-13 from three-point range.
“Just basically doing whatever it takes to win,” Gray said. “If somebody is coming down the lane, yeah I’m going to go block the shot and either get rebounds or do whatever I need to help us win.”
Polytech started the second half with back-to-back layups by John Pierce, III and Hicks. Two possessions later Chappel finished off a lob from Gray with another layup for a 31-15 lead, the Panthers’ largest of the game, and forced Smyrna to call timeout.
The closest Smyrna got the rest of the way was within 12 points.
Smyrna (5-4, 11-5 overall) was led by Latrelle Lee’s 14 points. Ja’vier Worthy chipped in 10.
The Eagles last led late in the first quarter when it was 8-7. Hicks, who scored eight of his points in the first quarter, gave Polytech the lead for good with a three-pointer.
Polytech has now swept both Smyrna and Dover, its two closest competitors in the North. The Panthers still have four more division games left, starting at Caesar Rodney on Saturday (6:15 p.m.).
Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached
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