The Eagles finished 12-0 in the Henlopen Conference Northern Division, while the Blue Raiders went 14-0 in the Southern Division
In the Henlopen Conference boys basketball championship Friday, Feb. 24, Smyrna High, which finished 12-0 in the Northern Division, will face Woodbridge which ran the table in the Southern Division.
The title game will be played at Cape Henlopen High School, 1250 Kings Highway, in Lewes at 8 p.m.
Smyrna head coach Andrew Mears said while the Eagles didn’t play the Blue Raiders this season, “we’ve kept our eye on them.”
“We have to do our homework, but I like how we match up against anyone when we’re playing our brand of basketball,” said Mears. "We hang our hats on our defense. When we play the way we’re capable of playing, we get quality shots on offense and force a one-and-done on the defensive end."
Southern Division champ Woodbridge finished the regular season 14-0 in the division and 18-2 overall. Their losses were to Northern Division team Caesar Rodney, 65-62 on Jan. 20, and to St. Georges Tech from the Blue Hen Conference, 53-52 on Jan. 28.
Smyrna, the Northern Division champs, went 12-0 versus division opponents and 17-2 overall. Both of the Eagles’ losses were in the Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament in Lewes. Bishop McNamara of Maryland edged the Eagles 52-49 Dec. 27, while defending Delaware state champs Sanford defeated Smyrna 64-54 on Dec. 29.
Since that loss, the Eagles have won 12 in a row.
Records vs. common opponents
While Smyrna and Woodbridge didn’t play each other this season, here’s how they fared against common opponents:
Caesar Rodney -- Woodbridge lost to CR 65-62 Jan. 20, while Smyrna defeated the Riders twice, 66-31 Dec. 15 and 60-47 Feb. 3.
Milford -- Woodbridge defeated Milford twice, 69-56 Dec. 8 and 64-50 Jan. 26, while Smyrna also beat the Bucs, 63-41 Dec. 20.
Polytech -- Woodbridge knocked off Polytech 74-41 Jan. 31, while Smyrna beat the Panthers twice, 59-26 Jan. 3 and 77-37 Feb. 7.
Offense vs. defense
Woodbridge has the more prolific scoring team, averaging 68.6 points per game, while the Eagles averaged 59.1. The Blue Raiders scored 70 or more points eight times this year, while Smyrna only did that twice.
Smyrna, on the other hand, has the better defense on paper, holding opponents to an average of 39.7 points per game. The Blue Raiders aren’t far behind though, giving up just 41.6 points per game.
Consistently leading Woodbridge on offense are senior TeVion Waters, and the Corbin brothers, Cornell, a senior, and Hassan, a junior. In the team’s last five Southern Division games, Cornell and Hassan each averaged 19 points per game, while Waters averaged 12.
Smyrna’s top scorer this season has been junior Caleb Matthews, but a flock of Eagles have also had a hot hand in different games. In Smyrna’s last five Northern Division games, Matthews scored in double figures four times, but four other Eagles had double-figure efforts as well.
Matthews scored 18 against Dover while Zubui Nwankwo was second on the team with 10.
Against Cape, Matthews hit for 16, while Jaymeir Garnett was next with 14.
In the Polytech game, Nwankwo led the Eagles with 18. Matthews had 17, and Zion Cole scored 10.
Garnett led the Eagles against CR with 15, while Anthony Watson was second on the team with 11.
Matthews poured in 25 against Sussex Tech, while Watson scored 15.
On the horizon: state tournament
After the conference championship game, both Smyrna and Woodbridge are likely to earn high seeds in the state tournament.
The first round starts Wednesday, March 1, but the top eight teams receive first-round byes. The second round games will be Friday, March 3, followed by the quarterfinals on Sunday, March 5, the semifinals on Thursday, March 9 and the finals on Saturday, March 11.