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2016 Slam Dunk to the Beach: Delaware high school's roundup

01/02/2017, 1:00pm EST
By DESD, Pat Garyantes

Sanford's Jyare Davis lone Delaware representative on 2016 Slam Dunk All-Tournament Team

LEWES-  Cape Henlopen once again was the host of Delaware’s premier boys’ basketball showcase, Slam Dunk to the Beach.  The 2016 field was packed with talented teams and players from Ontario, Canada, all the way down to Florida.  Eleven players entered Slam Dunk as ESPN top rated players for their respective classes, including the 4th rated player in the country for the 2017 class, Mo Bamba (Westtown), 12th rated player in the 2017 class and Kentucky commit, Nick Richards (The Patrick School), fellow Kentucky commit Quade Green (Neuman Goretti), and Jalek Felton (Gray Collegiate) who well be suiting up for Roy Williams at the University of North Carolina next season.  Three teams came to Lewes nationally ranked in USA Today’s Boys Basketball Super 25, Patrick School (#10), Roselle Catholic (#15), and Neuman-Goretti (#17).

With a field loaded with talent, some of Delaware’s finest made sure to make a statement among many college coaches and national media outlets in attendance.  In total, four of the First State’s high schools took part in the event, Sanford, Smyrna, Mount Pleasant, and host school Cape Henlopen.

The host school of the Slam Dunk to the Beach, Cape Henlopen, entered the showcase with a 3-1 record in the early part of the season, with victories over Poly Tech, Caesar Rodney, and Sussex Tech.  The Vikings are led by junior forward, Randy Rickards, who had scored at least 15 points in each of the Vikings first four games.  Cape’s first matchup of the showcase came against one of Delaware’s highest ranked teams, undefeated Mount Pleasant (5-0).  The Vikings would struggle to shoot against Mount and struggled to take care of the ball as well, turning it over 27 times in the game.  Randy Rickards would have his lowest scoring total of the season with only 9 points as Cape fell to Mount Pleasant in a scrappy game, 48-42.  A bright spot in the opening game for Cape was point guard, Cory Barnes.  The 6’2 freshman shot 5-9 from the field for a team high 12 points and also collected 5 rebounds and 2 assists.   Cape Henlopen closed out Slam Dunk to the Beach with a 69-52 defeat to Eleanor Roosevelt High School (MD).  Randy Rickards led the way for the Vikings in that one with 14 points.

Mount Pleasant looked to continue their hot start to the season down the beach.  The Green Knights came to Cape Henlopen undefeated, 5-0, with blowout victories in each of their five games.  Mount has a few new faces to their team for the 16-17 campaign to surround their sophomore standout, KVonn Cramer, and a few of those faces helped Mount to a 2-0 record at Slam Dunk.  Fah’Mir Ali, formerly of Salesianum, turned his struggles around in the fourth quarter against Cape Henlopen and led Mount Pleasant to their 48-42 victory.  Ali finished with 13 points to lead the Green Knights, followed by a 5-5 performance from Cramer who finished with 11.  The Green Knights returned to form on Thursday morning as they throttled St. Michael’s, from Ontario, 69-43, behind Cramer’s 22 point, 4 block performance. 

“I think we came together as a team,” Cramer said of his teams’ two game experience, “It’s a little different from last year.  Team’s focused on me more this year but I relied on my teammates and allowed them to step up.” 

Smyrna headed down to Lewes 5-0 on the season and were dominating opponents in all but one game thus far.  Smyrna had won four of their first five games by a minimum of 21 points, with their only tough game being a four-point victory over William Penn.  The Eagles would be humbled at the beach as they lost both of their contests by a combined 13 points.  Their opening day matchup came against a Bishop McNamara (MD) team that started five very talented sophomores.  The Eagles would jump out to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter but it would be short lived as they trailed McNamara 31-26 at halftime.  The second half would see some of the most competitive basketball of the week and with 2.8 seconds left in the game Smyrna trailed 52-49 with the ball under their basket.  The inbounds play set up Caleb Matthews for a game-tying three-point opportunity but he mishandled the ball and it rolled out of bounds sealing the victory for McNamara.  Matthews and Jaymeir Garnett led the way for the Eagles with 13 points each.  In their second matchup, Smyrna took on local power, Sanford, and their freshman stand out, Jyare Davis.  Once again, the second quarter doomed the Eagles as they were outscored, 23-14, in the second frame as they fell to the Warriors, 64-54.  Caleb Matthews put together a nice game in the loss scoring 15 points, grabbing 6 rebounds while setting his teammates up with 7 assists.

“I’m just excited the boys got the moment to play at this venue, with the names that float around the Slam Dunk to the Beach,” head coach Andrew Mears said about his teams’ experience, “all of this will definitely prove valuable at the end of the season.”

The final Delaware team to take the stage at the Slam Dunk to the Beach was the defending state champion, Sanford.  The Warriors are a much different team this year with a lot of young players on their team, including freshmen phenom, Jyare Davis.  The Warriors came into play on Wednesday with a tough 1-3 record, despite winning their only in-state game of the season, 60-49, against Glasgow.  Once again, the young Warriors would struggle with another out of state opponent in Philadelphia’s Archbishop Wood.  Wood had themselves quite the week, defeating nationally ranked Roselle Catholic (NJ) on Wednesday night, 83-72, before dismantling Sanford, 72-47.  Jyare Davis was the only Warrior to collect double figure scoring, 18 points, while Wood had four separate players score over 10.  Davis and the Warriors would be redeemed, however, the following day as they improved to 2-0 against Delaware opponents with a 64-54 victory over Smyrna.  Davis again proved why he’s one of the state’s best as he poured in a game high 26 points to go with 12 boards and 3 assists.  Connor Rufo also came up with a solid game for Sanford, scoring 11 points and distributing 4 assists. 

“It’s great competition, a great place to come out and play,” said Davis of Slam Dunk DE.  “We schedule tough out of state opponents every year, and for us, this year, we’re very young so we’re taking some lumps but the hope is that we will be better come February,” head coach Stan Waterman said of his young bunch.  “We’re going to look for things to build on and focus on things we’ve done well,” is what Waterman says his team will do moving forward from Slam Dunk.

 Jyare Davis was the lone Delaware high school player to be awarded with All-Tournament Team honors, joining the star-studded list of:  Mo Bamba (Sr. Westtown), Collin Gillespie (Sr. Archbishop Wood), Jalek Felton (Sr. Gray Collegiate Academy), De’Vondre Perry (Sr. Baltimore Poly), Jeremy Roach (Fr. Paul VI), and Keith Williams (Sr. Bishop Laughlin).

 

 

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