Woodbridge girls stun Cape for conference title

DOVER — Woodbridge High’s girls’ basketball players knew they were considered the underdog on Friday night.

The Northern Division winner is almost always the favorite in the Henlopen Conference championship game.

But the Blue Raiders may have changed some people’s minds.

Woodbridge battled past North champ Cape Henlopen in the closing minutes to pull out a 48-40 victory over the Vikings before a sellout crowd at Dover on Friday night.

The conference title was the first for the South champion Blue Raiders (17-4), who were playing in the conference championship game for the fourth time in the last five years.

The Vikings (18-3), on the other hand, have won 12 Henlopen titles. That includes the one they won last season with a 56-42 win over Woodbridge.

This was also Cape’s first in-state loss of the season.

Woodbridge coach Emilio Perry said the title means a lot, especially to a school still coping with the death of football standout Troy Haynes last year.

“It’s a big weight off of our shoulders,” said Perry. “We’ve been dealing with a lot in our community. We always told the girls, we’re doing it for something bigger. We’re doing for our community as well.”

With the Vikings hanging onto a 37-35 lead in the final four minutes, Sierra Smith buried back-to-back three-pointers to give the Blue Raiders the lead for good.

Woodbridge reeled off 14 straight points in one stretch, finishing the contest on a 16-3 run.

“We worked so hard for this, it was crazy,” said Smith, who netted 16 points. “It’s history. It’s our time. We got the job done.

“That’s my thing,” she said about her three-pointers. “We needed to, I had to. That’s a good feeling.”

Janeira Scott added 13 points for Woodbridge while Cha’Kya Johnson added 12.

Dania Cannon tallied a game-high 17 points for Cape with Abbie Hearn adding 14. But the Vikings, who were playing their first game since Feb. 13, struggled with their shooting all night.

At one point, Cape missed 19 straight shots from the floor, going 10 minutes without a field goal.

“I said, if we do this next week (in the state tournament), that’s it, game over,” said Vikings’ coach Pat Wood. “We did that tonight and we get to play on Friday. At least that’s good.”

When the DIAA state tournament brackets were determined on Friday morning, both squads received first-round byes as a top-eight seed. Both teams will host second-round contests on Friday night.

Seeded No. 2, Cape Henlopen will host the winner of the first-round matchup between No. 18 Sussex Central and No. 15 Wilmington Charter. Woodbridge is seeded No. 8 and will host either No. 9 Archmere or No. 24 Sussex Tech.