The defending Henlopen Conference champion Polytech Panthers are in the midst of yet another successful season on the hardwood.
A lot of that success is due to the performance of senior Antonio DePina this season. DePina, one of only 3 seniors on what has become a very young Panthers squad, has been tremendous on the court, stat-sheet, and in the locker room for the Panthers.
However, DePina may not be your typical success story when comparing him to some of the other top players in the state. For DePina, he's gone from not making his middle school team in 7th grade to helping lead the way for one of the top high school squads in the state. A point that DePina says he never could have reached if not for a lot of hard work and dedication.
"Hard work has been the key for me because I wasn't naturally talented," said DePina. "I'm the type of player that if I can't do something I go out and work on it until I can. Hard work is the main reason I am where I am now."
Recently, DePina scored his 1,000th point in a Polytech uniform. While it's an incredible feat for any player, the humble DePina admitted he never gave any thought to scoring 1,000 points. The ultimate team player, DePina said he was simply doing whatever he could to help his team win.
"The thought of scoring 1,000 points hadn't even crossed my mind," said DePina. "When I transferred my sophomore year I tried to take it game by game and play my roll."
After losing some key players to last year's team, DePina became one of the leaders of a new-look Polytech team. Out to another hot start with a record of 11-3, the Panthers could be on their way to yet another Henlopen Conference title.
While the team may be different, a confident DePina believes the same formula that's made the Panthers successful in the past will lead them there again.
"I think we are scrappier this year," said DePina. "The only thing stopping us from winning another Henlopen Championship is ourselves. If we are focused and keep our heads, we can beat anybody."
DePina and the Panthers will continue their quest for another Henlopen Conference Title on Thursday when they travel to Delcastle.