No. 24 seed Smyrna upsets No. 8 Appoquinimink

Glenn FrazerHeadlines, Sports


Smyrna girls basketball Kylie Jones hit four three pointers in their win over Appoquinimink, photo courtesy of Hudl

The Smyrna girls basketball team barely made it into the DIAA tournament. The Eagles as the No. 24 were the final team to qualify. They  have made the most of their opportunity by eliminating No. 9 Archmere in the opening round and Friday night they knocked off the 8-seed Appoquinimink 70-62. Up next, a date with the top seed Caravel in the elite-8 round on Monday. Junior guard Kai Burnette led Smyrna with 27 points including 10 in the decisive third quarter as the Eagles built a 20 point lead. Burnette told me, “Everybody doubted us, but we’re gonna keep going.” 

The Jags trailed by as many as 23 points early in the fourth quarter but went on a furious run to slice Smyrna’s advantage to 66-62 with :45 to go on a floater by Sofia Montebell. She scored 22 points – draining a game high six three point shots. However, Appo’s rally fell short as Smyrna sophomore Amiyah Ellerbe calmly “swished” four straight foul shots in the final :26 to ice the game. Ellerbe said, “I looked at the scoreboard and I knew I had to knock them down.”

The Eagles took a lead of 36-27 into the locker room at the half as Talaney Pierce used her height advantage (5’-10”) to dominate in the paint scoring 11 points. The Eagles extended the lead to 54-34 after three with Burnette driving the lane scoring 10 points. Burnette opened the final quarter with consecutive three point makes and it appeared the “rout” was on. The home team Jaguars forced a number of turnovers and went on a 21-8 run to finish the game as Deja Martin posted 18 of her 25 in that rally.

These two met in the final regular season on February 20 as Appo won by 12 points. I asked Smyrna head coach Erique Gumbs what the difference was this time. “The boys team helped us in practice with man defense and we worked on their mid-court trap.” “The girls have been locked in since the Archmere win.” 

The Eagles were led by Burnette with 27 points, Pierce added 13, Kylie Jones made 4 three’s to finish with 12, and Ellerbe scored 11.

The other scores from Friday night were: Caravel 64-25 over Odessa, Howard edged Padua 49-47, A I duPont 58-39 versus Seaford, Ursuline over St Marks 69-38, Dover eliminated Delmarva Christian 49-37, Sanford 78 to 36 against Woodbridge and St Elizabeth got by DMA 35-32.

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