Courtside View – Boys basketball first round playoff preview

Jason WinchellHeadlines, Sports

St Georges basketball Blair Thomas attempts a shot against St Elizabeth, photo courtesy of Ben Fulton

The first round of the boys state basketball tournament kicks off tonight.  The eight first round games all tip off at 7 pm as we get the 2024 tournament started.  Here is a look into the eight games today.


No. 24 Mckean (16-4) at No. 9 Howard (13-7).  These two Blue Hen Flight B teams meet again to decide who moves on in this tournament.  These teams met at Mckean on February 7th and the Wildcats took home a 80-57 win.  Nick Baysha scored 16 points to lead the Wildcats in that win.  RJ Matthews added 15 points.  The Wildcats average 63 points a game and will look to push the pace like they did on February 7th.  The Highlanders only allow 45.5 points a game and will look to keep the score in the 50’s in this game.  The winner will play at No. 8 William Penn (16-4) on Thursday night.


No.23 Glasgow (13-7) at St George’s Tech (13-7l  The Hawks had a great year including a 8 game win streak from January 12th thru February 12th. They average 59 points a game while only giving up 48 points a game.  The Dragons got off to a 5-1 start and finished the season 7-5 on the road.  Can they pull off another road win tonight or will the Hawks advance to meet No. 7 Seaford (18-2) on Thursday night.


No. 22 Woodbridge (9-11)  at No. 11 Appoquinimink (13-7)  The Blue Raiders are the only team with a losing record in the tournament but they played one of the tougher schedules in the state.  They have lost 5 of their last 6 against teams with a winning record. The Jags also had a tough schedule with all 7 losses coming against teams seeded higher than them.   They average 64 point per game and will look to push the pace in front of the home crowd tonight,  The winner will play at No. 6 Saint Mark’s (16-4) on Thursday


No. 21 Cape Henlopen (10-10) at No. 12 Sussex Central (13-7)   These two teams play in the Henlopen North conference and will meet for the third time this season. The Vikings went to Sussex Central on December 14th and pulled out a 48-47 win.  The Vikings also won 56-43 at home on February 8th.  Can the Vikings make it a sweep with a second road win tonight or will the Knights win on their home court and punch their ticket to face No. 5 Sanford (16-4)  on Thursday night.


No. 20 Smyrna (11-9) at No. 13DMA (12-8)   The Eagles had a big turn around from last season when they only won 3 games.  They won 9 of their first 11 games this season but needed to win 2 of their last 3 games to make the tournament.  They average 53 points a game while giving up 49 a game.  The Seahawks also make the tournament after a tough few seasons.  They average 60 points a game while giving up 55 points a game.  They are 5-3 on their home court this year.  The winner will play at No. 4 Sallies (12-8) on Thursday night.


No. 19 Conrad (12-8) at No. 14 MOT Charter (16-4)  These two Diamond state conference members meet tonight to see who advances in the tournament   The Red Wolves won the first meeting 58-49 on the road on January 29th.  They have won 9 of their last 10 games while the Mustangs have won 5 of their last 6 since the loss to the Red Wolves.  Which conference foe will head to No. 3 Middletown (15-5) on Thursday night.


No. 18 Laurel (11-9) at No. 15 Lake Forest (15-5)   These two Henlopen South members will meet tonight for the third time this season.with the winner moving on in the state tournament.  The Bulldogs lost to Lake at home 72-64 on January 18th.  The Bulldogs returned the favor and won 73-70 at Lake on February 15th.  These two teams can both score and the team that can reach 70 first could walk out the winner.  Can Lake be the first home team to win in the season series and punch their ticket to face No. 2 Dover (18-2) on Thursday.

No. 17 Mount Pleasant (13-7) at No. 16 Odessa (14-6)  These two Blue Hen Flight A conference members will meet for the second time this season on Tuesday night in the opening round of the state tournament.  The Ducks won at home 40-34 on February 8th.  Both these teams play outstanding defense and I expect another low scoring game tonight.  The winner will travel to No. 1 St Elizabeth’s (19-1) on Thursday.

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