Strong second half pushes Polytech past Sanford

Although it wasn’t pretty, the job was done. The Polytech Panthers (22-1) upended the Sanford Warriors 48-46, to advance to the DIAA championship game.

A trend in the last few games, the Panthers got off to a slow start. Although they would be down just 15-13 after one quarter, Polytech would only score 4 points in the second, and go into halftime trailing 22-17.

The Panthers would get things going in a hurry after the break. Just 15 seconds after coming out of the half, senior forward Juwan Gray would net a three from the left corner, and a minute later, point guard Ricky Hicks would knock down another. A Devaughn Mallory layup would leave the game tied with 33 seconds to go in the third. The teams would trade consecutive baskets, before finishing the quarter knotted at 35.

In the fourth, Sanford would take a 5 point lead, before Polytech stormed back. The Panthers went on a 8-2 run, 5 points coming at the hands of Mallory. With 2:42 left in the game, Polytech had the lead for the first time since late in the first quarter. After Mallory and Chappel both went 1-2 from the line with less than 13 seconds left, it would be Sanford guard Kyle Evans taking up the floor driving left and putting up a scoop shot that went back iron.

Polytech advances to the DIAA final, where they will face #6 seed and defending state champion Salesianum. The Sals won the previous semifinal against Mt. Pleasant, and will look to stop Polytech from being the first Henlopen team from winning a state basketball title since Seaford in 1997.

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