The high school basketball season is only a few weeks old, however it’s never too early to make a good first impression.
Entering this week’s action, three Henlopen Conference squads remain undefeated. Caesar Rodney leads the Henlopen North at 5-0, while Laurel and Milford sit atop the Henlopen South with 3-0 marks.
While some within the conference have started the season off on a good note, others are still searching for consistency after a handful of regular season games.
With the holiday break just around the corner, several local girls teams will get a chance to right the ship at the annual, 12-team, Pat Borowski Classic Tournament at Lake Forest beginning next Tuesday.
After four games, the Polytech Panthers are still searching for their first victory of the season.
The Lady Panthers opened their schedule with six straight losses, all to Henlopen Conference opponents, falling to Sussex Tech, Cape Henlopen, Dover, Sussex Central, Hodgson and Delcastle.
While each loss also came by double-digits, there have been some brights spots for a young Polytech squad.
One of only two seniors on the squad, Tamia Mathias, has led the way for the Lady Panthers’ offense, finishing with double-digit points in three of six games. Meanwhile, freshman YaaYaa Afriyie has shown potential early.
“Tamia has stood out for us, she brings a relentless defense and the overall knowledge of the sport,” said Polytech Head Coach Dayra Diamond. “We also have newcomer, YaaYaa, she brings speed and a pretty good deep ranged shot.”
Coming into the season, Coach Diamond and the team have strived to be tough competition for their opponents. Next week’s Pat Borowski Tournament will offer a young team a valuable opportunity to take on some top teams in a tournament format.
While the Lady Panthers are hoping to earn a win or two and find some momentum at the annual Lake Forest tournament - the Dover Lady Senators hope the tournament is a chance to improve after starting the season 1-4.
Dover has been through alot in just five games, facing off against three conference opponents and the reigning state champions. The Lady Senators kicked off the season falling, by double-digits, to rival Caesar Rodney before a three-point loss to a rebuilding but talented Sussex Central squad. They’d go on to earn their first victory of the year in an 18-point win over Polytech but dropped their most recent game to defending DIAA State Champion Ursuline Academy.
Senior Brionna Hill has been the standout for the Lady Senators, posting two double-digits point efforts so far this season. Meanwhile, juniors Ashley Manifold and Tajanae Henry-Coney have also contributed on the offensive end and a several other underclassmen have impacted things on the defensive side.
“So far, I think Brionna has established her presence,” said Dover Head Coach Taylor Tuck. “A few of my underclassmen, Kerrianne [Smith] and Tamyah [Jones], have stood out on the defensive end.”
With a young team under a first-year head coach, growing pains are to be expected. However, a chance to participate in the Borowski Tournament offers them an opportunity to grow even more together.
“I think once the girls gain more confidence in themselves and in their teammates, we’ll learn to work together to highlight everyone’s strengths on the court,” Tuck said. “We haven’t had a lot of time to practice together, so I think more players will stand out as the season progresses.”
While both Polytech and Dover hope to use the tournament as a momentum builder, the host Lady Spartans look to reclaim the title which was won by Hodgson Vo-Tech last season.
Lake Forest started the season winning three of their first five games.
Seniors Arika Burrell and Nicole Scott, along with sophomores Grace Aguilar and Nicole Scott, have helped lead the way for the Lady Spartans.
About the Pat Borowski Tournament
The annual holiday tournament at Lake Forest is held in honor of long-time coach of the Lady Spartans, Pat Borowski. Borowski, a graduate of John Dickinson High School and former standout player at the University of Delaware, ended her high school coaching career at Lake Forest with over 300 victories and was three times named the Henlopen Conference of the Year.
This year’s tournament features 12 teams including host Lake Forest. Eight of the competing tournament teams face-off against the Lady Spartans in the Henlopen Conference including Dover, Polytech and Sussex Central from the North Division and Indian River, Laurel, Milford, Seaford and Woodbridge from the South Division. The remaining three schools come from the Blue Hen Conference in Appoquinimink, Middletown and St. Georges Tech.
The action begins at noon on both Tuesday, December 27 and Wednesday, December 28.