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Cape boys' basketball shakes loose from Laurel 75-62 for victory validation

March 1, 2013
Cape forward Tony Hazzard puts up a shot in the 75-62 win over the Bulldogs. BY DAN COOK

Cape’s three-day-old Henlopen Conference champion boys' basketball team drew the gnarly Bulldogs of Laurel for a home game in the opening round of the DIAA basketball tourney Feb. 28. The time was right for a community pep rally, a celebration time, c’mon! All that was needed was a win.

The game was tied at the half at 29. Laurel guards Deonta Nocks and Leon West were getting to the basket.

Cape’s starting point guard Toney Floyd didn’t dress because of an ankle injury. Three JV players - Kai Vitella, Jordan Howell and Ryan Thornburg - saw first-half action. Howell tipped in a basket and Thornburg banged home a three-pointer. Andrew Grau had foul trouble, so did Gekwan Pritchett. Tyreik Burton was facing a box-and-one again. The crew of three officials combined to call an abundance of heavy-breathing touch fouls along with a bunch of walking and palming violations. The game at halftime had come to rest at the basketball village of “Weirdville.”

“The Henlopen Conference Championship needed to be validated in front of our fans with a win here tonight,” Cape’s coach Steve Re said after the game.

The stamp of validation came in the third quarter when Cape ran a 25-13 number at Laurel, opening up a window of breathing room, and the Vikings ran that home for a 75-62 victory.

Cape played at Salesianum on Sallies' home court March 2.

Cape eliminated Sallies from the state tournament at the Little Big House in March 2009, 57-49, behind 31 second-half points by Marcus Gooch.

Re responded to the general fan observation that Cape often plays down to the competition.

“Make no mistake, Laurel is a good basketball team that can stay in a game against anyone," he said. "We lacked defensive concentration in the first half and didn’t execute the game plan. The JV kids were huge for us, bought us time and contributed."

Cape was paced by Tyreik Burton 22, Jon Warren 20 ,T.T. Hazzard 13 and E.J. Fountain 8 off the bench.

Laurel was led by Deonta Nocks 20 and Leon West 11.