DMA rallies for comeback win over Smyrna to advance

Jason WinchellHeadlines, Sports

DMA Gabe Swift makes a layup in their win over Smyrna in the first round of the DIAA State Championship, photo courtesy of shotbymaddi3

WILMINGTON — Delaware Military Academy’s boys basketball team averaged nearly 61 points per game this season, but at halftime of the 13th-seeded Seahawks’ opening-round DIAA tournament game against No. 20 Smyrna on Feb. 27, they had just 13 points and trailed the Eagles by 7.

But in front of a spirited and emotional crowd inside the dome, DMA mounted a fourth-quarter comeback and moved on to the second round with a 49-48 victory. The last time the Seahawks reached the tournament was 2021, the covid-shortened season, when just two spectators per player were allowed in the building. That certainly was not the case on Tuesday.

Early on, however, DMA could not find the range at all, trailing, 20-10, until Amir Massey hit a three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in the half.

Smyrna, however, scored the first two buckets of the second half, the first on an alley oop to Obi Coleman, the second on a steal and stuff for Coleman. They held a double-digit lead with 5:20 to go in the third after a three by Logan Shaw, but DMA’s Antonio Allin answered immediately with an NBA-range triple.

DMA got it to 30-28 late in the third, but the Eagles responded with the next four points. Allin hit again from distance with about 30 seconds left in the third, cutting the Eagles’ advantage to 34-31. Smyrna, hurt by turnovers in the final minutes of the third, could not add to the lead.

Lennon got free underneath to open the fourth with a layup, and a defensive rebound led to yet another Allin triple to put the home team on top, 36-34, sending the student section into a frenzy. The Eagles needed a little more than three minutes for their first points of the fourth, but they were big ones. Marice Kilgoe drained a corner three to put them back on top by a point, and the teams were off to the races.

Good defense by Gabe Swift led to a bucket by the senior on the other end as the lead changed hands once again. Kilgoe hit Coleman for another alley-oop as Smyrna went back on top with 3:20 to go. Swift gave DMA the lead on a pair of free throws, then added two more on a steal and transition layup.
Chase Sullivan scored off glass to pull the Eagles to within a point, but Lennon scored the conventional three-point play as the Seahawks made it a two-possession game with 1:12 to go. The Eagles cut the lead to 45-43 on a short Coleman jumper after a steal, but DMA hit four free throws in the final 25 seconds to hold off any Smyrna comeback.

Lennon had 15 to lead the Seahawks, one of three players in double figures. Swift had 14, and Allin added 11. DMA (13-8) will travel to No. 4 Salesianum on Thursday night at 7pm

For the Eagles, Kilgoe and Coleman each had 15. Smyrna finished the season 11-10.

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