Cape’s Little Big House became the Home Dome Feb. 14 characterized by bright colors and secret sound devices, dunks and air balls and three-point bombs from way downtown and one official who went airborne and crashed into the scoring table.
And there was the pep band led by Chris Burkhart, “Hey! Hey! Baby!" It was wild!
Sussex Tech was at Cape, the only downstate gym that can hold a big game. All the handicapped spots were taken before the start of the JV game; it's worth getting hurt to park close during basketball season.
The student sections went at each other back and forth, both sides taking turns chanting “Scoreboard! Scoreboard!”
Soon after the American Heart Association “sea of red shirts” game subsided, after Cape had come back from a horrid start that saw the Vikings trailing 20-11 to win 70-64, heart rates returned to normal except for palpitations and extra beats.
‘I’ve been telling our players since I got here that young kids come into games and look up to them. And what they look up to most are players who won’t quit," said coach Steve Re after the game. “I came to Cape not because it has great facilities and not because of the pay scale, but all the teams here want to win. It’s just a great atmosphere, and I wanted to be a part of it. “
Shi'wuan Sykes was lighting it up early in the game for the Ravens, but Cape crept back, and when Jon Warren dropped down a hammer dunk on the dead run, the Cape crowd came loose. The score was tied at 24 and went into halftime tied at 30.
Cape’s Toney Floyd stepped to the free throw line for the first time in the first half with the Vikings behind 18-10 as the Ravens' student section chanted ‘Traitor! Traitor!” Floyd had gone to Tech as a freshman; that bit of “Toney taunting” immediately bit back as Floyd pasted a career-high 21 points making big shot after big shot.
Sussex Tech’s big three of Sykes with 23 points, Kevin Larkin with 21 and Rae’Kwan Deshields with 11 accounted for 55 points while Jon Warren with 22, Toney Floyd 21 and Tyreik Burton 10 were 53 of Cape’s total.
But it was Jordan Howell and Kai Vitella off the bench who made the biggest difference.
Howell looks and plays like Jon Warren when he’s on his game, so when Warren went to the bench with foul trouble, Howell stepped it up, grabbing big rebounds and making three big baskets in the second half.
“Jordan can do that; he has the talent,” Re said after the game.
Cape got away with less than three minutes to play when Toney Floyd converted a steal into a layup and that was followed by a “get out of town way downtown" three-point basket from Kai Vitella that was the dagger through the heart, giving Cape a lead of 62-55 and the eventual 70-64 victory.
Cape improved to 11-8 on the season while the Ravens dropped to 13-6.
Cape plays at Polytech at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb.18, while Sussex Tech travels to Smyrna for the Eagles' senior night.
Both the Panthers and Eagles have losing records, but each can rise up and take a serious bite out of a hopeful season.
“It is a war out there every game," Re said. “Polytech has beaten Caesar Rodney and Sussex Tech and is on a three-game win streak, and we are their last home game for seniors. We can’t go to sleep on this game.”