The Smyrna Eagles girls’ basketball squad repeated as Henlopen Conference champions on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Milford Bucs 58-43.
Smyrna, with a nod for dramatic effect, entered the last week of the season needing four straight wins to repeat as conference champions. After winning four games in five days, the Lady Eagles truly earned this conference title.
“It really shows the tenacity in them, having to really preserve,” said Smyrna head coach Rachel Woodall. “They don’t like to lose, like me. We’re sore losers.”
Three Lady Eagles’ finished in double-figures on Saturday led by Alexus Stroud who had 22 points, followed by Alyson Davis with 19 and Taylor Price with 12. Between Davis and Stroud the two combined for nine three-pointers.
“They played well from beginning to end and didn’t show any signs of fatigue,” said Woodall. “They kept it together and played together.”
Stroud, who finished with a game-high 22 points including four three-pointers from beyond the arc was one of many reasons why the Lady Eagles find themselves winning back-to-back conference titles.
“The first game (against Milford) we shot really bad,” said Stroud. “We couldn’t get anything to drop. The second game, I don’t know – it felt good every time it came off our hands. When we hit shots like that it gives us so much momentum.”
After building a small lead early in the first half, the Lady Eagles went on a tear before the half ended, leading by 13 at the break.
In the second, the Lady Eagles’ offense exploded for a 21-point third quarter led by an attack from beyond the arc. Milford did their best to keep pace but couldn’t capitalize on extra-chance points late in the half allowing Smyrna to pull away.
Davis who scored 19 in the win, like Stroud, was hot from beyond the arc nailing four three-pointers in the Lady Eagles outside attack. Whether it was Stroud or Davis, Smyrna’s ball-movement allowed for plenty of open looks which the Lady Eagles capitalized on.
After taking a double-digit lead into the half, Smyrna never looked back as Milford was never able to get back within single digits the entire ball-game. Smyrna and coach Woodall credit the win to the work they do in practice to improve, especially after losses.
“When we lose I always try and find where we’re weak,” said Woodall. “(After the loss to Milford) We got in the gym and found our spots on the floor. “
It’s a great win for Smyrna, not only a conference clinching win, but a revenge win over Milford team that had defeated Smyrna earlier in the year. Now, the Lady Eagles have plenty of momentum built up heading into the DIAA state tournament where they’ve received a first-round bye.
Smyrna earned the #7 seed in the DIAA state tournament, and will host the winner of #10 Archmere vs. #23 St. Andrew’s on Thursday, February 27 starting at 7:00 p.m.