Senior forward Abbey Hearn eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career as the second-seeded Cape Henlopen girls’ basketball team bounced back from a deflating loss in the Henlopen Conference title game with a 61-40 blowout of No. 15 Charter in the second round of the DIAA tournament March 6 in Lewes.
“We picked up our defensive intensity tonight and it translated into offense,” said Hearn, who scored a game-high 19 points, grabbed nine rebounds and brought the crowd to its feet when she hit a pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter to reach the milestone. “It means a lot [to score 1,000 points], but I’m happier that we got the win.”
Cape led from the opening tip and dominated in the low post, outscoring the undersized Force 34-14 in the paint. Most of that production came from Hearn and senior forward Carlin Quinn, who recorded the first double-double of her career with 14 points and 10 boards.
Quinn reflected on the Vikings’ response to their 48-40 setback against Woodbridge Feb. 28.
“We needed that loss to reconnect us as a family and put ourselves back in the right headspace,” Quinn said. “We’ve been hanging out as a team off the court a lot this week, trying to rebuild ourselves and make sure no one felt lost after the loss on Friday. Our communication was great today. We really came together tonight.”
Senior point guard Dania Cannon did a little bit of everything for Cape, scoring 16 points to go along with five assists and seven steals. Sophomore wing Morgan Mahoney got back in her groove after a rough Henlopen title game, pouring in nine points on three three-pointers.
The Vikings used their length to smother Charter early on, holding the Force without a point for the first five minutes of action and taking a 13-5 lead after the first quarter. The margin ballooned to 15 points just before halftime, but Charter closed the gap to 30-21 midway through the third. Cape scored eight of the next 10 points to reestablish control, as Mahoney canned a three from the right wing and Quinn scored on a nifty feed from sophomore wing Mehkia Applewhite before Cannon dropped a bomb from almost 25 feet out. Up 38-23 at that point, the Vikings poured it on from there, extending their advantage to as many as 24 points in the final frame.
Head coach Pat Woods saw marked improvement in Cape’s ball movement, particularly in the second half.
“We wanted to play better than we did [against Woodbridge], and I thought we did,” Woods said. “We got better throughout the course of the game at making the extra pass. The reason we were shooting so well [before the Woodbridge game] was because we made extra passes. That was our conversation at halftime: Stop shooting all these contested shots, be patient offensively, move the ball, and get a wide-open look. Defensively, be patient also. You’re not just gonna walk up and take it from somebody. [We had to] stay solid defensively and get the first rebound. I thought we did a better job.”
The Vikings put up impressive numbers on the defensive end, as they held the Force to 28 percent shooting, won the battle of the boards 39-32, and forced 24 turnovers.
Cape was set to host Tatnall in the DIAA quarterfinals on Monday, March 9. The 10th-seeded Hornets knocked off No. 7 Caesar Rodney in their second-round matchup.