Cape girls open with 68-44 win over Polytech

Cape’s Mehkia Applewhite puts up a jumper between Polytech’s Yaa Asantewa Afriyie (left) and Maria Granitto. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

WOODSIDE — The Cape Henlopen High girls’ basketball team wanted to get out and run for its season opener.

The Vikings raced all the way to a 20-point lead before the first quarter was over.

Cape Henlopen began its season with a 68-44 victory at Polytech High in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division matchup. The defending Henlopen North champions start the year at 1-0.

Dania Cannon recorded a double-double to pace the Vikings with 18 points and 10 steals. Abbey Hearn followed with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Mehkia Applewhite of Cape Henlopen scores on an un-derhand layup with Polytech’s Maria Granitto trying to block.

Lauryn Head also finished in double figures with 11 points. Mehkia Applewhite added nine points of her own.

The Vikings led 20-1 after the first six minutes thanks to an abundance of forced turnovers and its up-tempo play.

“We have a lot of athletes on our team,” Hearn said. “Dania and Mehkia push the pace and everybody kind of follows. It’s easy to play with them when they’re pushing the pace and getting easy layups.”

Polytech closed the gap to 11 points early in the third quarter before the Vikings responded. Cape Henlopen led by as much as 32 points in the fourth quarter.

“I wanted to see if we could bring urgency and intensity from the jump,” said Cape Henlopen coach Pat Woods. “Our conversations during timeouts was, how long can we maintain this? Can we keep bringing it? I thought they did pretty well. I love playing at a fast pace, they love playing at a fast pace. We do it everyday in practice.”

Cape’s Carlin Quinn looks for help after being blocked by a Polytech defender.

The Vikings kept Polytech off the scoreboard until there was 3:50 left in the first quarter. Cape Henlopen held a 9-1 lead by that point.

The Panthers did not score their first field goal until there was 1:04 remaining in the first quarter. The Vikings led 23-5 at the end of the quarter and 37-22 at halftime.

Polytech was paced by Yaa Asantewa Afriyie who netted a game-high 24 points.

Cannon recorded six assists and five rebounds to go along with her double-double. Carlin Quinn pulled down 12 rebounds while Morgan Mahoney (three blocks) and Ella Rishko (five rebounds) led the Cape defensive effort.

“Defense is everything to us,” Hearn said. “We always run our offense based on how we play defense. We try to get out and run on long rebounds and outlet passes.”

“Defense has to be disruptive,” Woods said. “You try to take people out of what they want to do.”

Abigail Hearn of Cape eyes the basket with Polytech’s Jazmin Kellam trying to stop her shot.

Cape Henlopen returns most of its core from last season’s team which 17-3 in the regular season and won the Henlopen Conference title game by defeating Woodbridge. The Vikings reached the quarterfinals of the DIAA state tournament before falling to St. Elizabeth.
They want to continue that success this season.

“Our expectations are high,” Woods said. “We talk about that a lot. We have high expectations of ourselves. So you have to manage that. Does that add pressure to us? Does that add excitement to us? What does that do to us? We talk about that quite a bit and they embrace it, they like the moment.”

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