Cape girls top Padua 48-38 in Diamond State Classic finale

WILMINGTON — The Cape Henlopen High girls’ basketball team did not want to return from the Diamond State Classic without a victory.

So Sunday’s third-place game against Padua Academy served as a chance at redemption after dropping a close contest Saturday night.

“We as a team didn’t want to go home without a win,” said Cape senior guard Dania Cannon.

Cannon scored 21 points to lift the Vikings to a 48-38 victory over Padua in the third-place game of the IAABO Board 11 Cup bracket of the Diamond State Classic. The Vikings moved to 4-3 overall and remained unbeaten against Delaware opponents.

Cannon got Cape Henlopen off to a hot start by hitting her first three three-point attempts of the game in the first six possessions as the Vikings raced out to a 10-4 advantage early on.

“That’s what gets us going is making shots,” Cannon said. “We know that when we start making, just keep the same energy and intensity.”

“We were a little upset about our performance yesterday,” said Cape Henlopen coach Pat Woods. “I thought we played hard tonight, which was the message — play as hard as you can. I thought we did that. I enjoy playing against Padua. I like the way they play. It’s very similar to how we play. It’s always a good game against them.”

Cape led for the entire the first half and was on top 27-15 at halftime.

But a lull in the third quarter allowed the Pandas to creep back in the game. Cape Henlopen missed 11 straight shots before Mehkia Applewhite’s putback on its final possession ended the scoring droubt and had Cape Henlopen up 31-25 headed into the fourth.

Padua got as close as 40-36 in the fourth but the Vikings broke out of their shooting slump with back-to-back layups by Abbey Hearn and Cannon.

“We call it the fog,” Woods said of playing through the slump. “When it starts getting foggy out there, we got to communicate and trust our training to work through it. Don’t try to evaluate what’s going on then it’s kind of like, ‘Oh we missed this one, oh we missed this one, and this one.’ What does that mean? Nothing. It means play to the next play.”

Cannon made four consecutive free throws in the final minute to seal it for the Vikings.

Hearn also finished in double figures for Cape Henlopen with 12 points. Elizabeth Rishko and Applewhite contributed six points each.