Cape Henlopen defeats Woodbridge 56-42 for Henlopen Conference girls basketball title

Cape’s Niyashja Mosley shoots against Woodbridge’s Cha’Kya Johnson in the second quarter during the Henlopen Championship at Dover High. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — A year ago, Cape Henlopen High finished only 10-10 and missed making the DIAA state tournament.

But that doesn’t mean the Vikings couldn’t set their sights pretty high this season.

On Friday night, Cape added a Henlopen Conference title to its already-impressive resume after beating previously-undefeated Woodbridge, 56-42, in the league girls’ basketball championship game at Dover.

The conference title was the 12th for the Vikings but their first since 2006.

“I don’t think any of those girls are surprised,” said Cape coach Pat Woods, a former player for the Vikings and Wesley College. “Everyone says it was a big turnaround. But we came out from the jump and said these are our expectations.

“When we set team goals at the beginning of the season, this was one of them. It does mean a lot. I think it validates what we’ve doing. I’m just happy for them.”

With junior Abigail Hearn scoring 24 points, North champion Cape (18-3) trailed only once — when the South champion Blue Raiders (20-1) scored the first point of the contest.

After leading 25-19 at halftime, though, the Vikings didn’t really put away the victory until the second half.

Cape stretched its advantage to 39-28 after three quarters before going up by as much as 52-33 with 2:53 remaining in the game.

With most fans arriving early for the boys’ game, the girls’ matchup was played before a sellout crowd, too.

“We knew they were going to trickle in for the boys’ game — especially because it’s a home game for Dover,” said Hearn. “But it was just crazy. I’ve never played in front of this many people.”

“It was fun,” said sophomore Dania Cannon, who added 13 points for the Vikings. “We were just like, don’t be nervous. Just play hard, play together and play our game.”

It was a tough night for Woodbridge, which was trying to capture the program’s first conference crown. The Raiders also lost in the Henlopen title game a year ago.

Cha’Kya Johnson led Woodbridge with 19 points while Janeira Scott and Sierra Smith added nine points apiece. All three players are only sophomores.

“I thought they did a great job of limiting us to one shot,” said Raiders’ coach Emilio Perry. “We felt like this would be great year for us to get things going. We have a good young group (but) we never want to take anything for granted. We tried to seize the opportunity that we had tonight.”

Both teams earned first-round byes when the DIAA state tournament bracket was determined on Friday. Both will open play in the tourney’s second round on Friday.

Woodbridge was seeded fourth and will host the winner of the Sussex Central-Tatnall first-round matchup. Cape Henlopen was seeded No. 8 and will host the winner of the Lake Forest-St. Georges game.

The Vikings have already beaten both Lake Forest and St. Georges this month. They also lost by only nine points to top-seeded St. Elizabeth during the regular season.

“I like where we are,” said Woods. “We wanted to play them (St. Elizabeth) again so we’ll see.”

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