Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear men's basketball started 2017 with their ninth straight win, defeating Port City Prep 143-91. Jerrick Haynes led all scorers with 25 points on 11-15 shooting, while grabbing 9 rebounds.
The Panthers took the early lead, thanks to a 3-pointer by Carlos Scotton. It would be their only lead of the game, however, as Cape Fear scored 9 straight soon after. The Sea Devils opened with full court press that forced Port City into a number of early turnovers, resulting in a number of easy points for Cape Fear.
Cape Fear remained in the lead as the first half continued, with points coming easily on the offensive end. Alston Davis had 9 points in the first ten minutes of the game, knocking down 3-4 from the field, while Trevor Willis was on the scoresheet with two 3-pointers in the first five minutes.
However, defensively the Sea Devils were inconsistent for part of the half, which allowed Port City to hang around. That changed with around seven minutes remaining, as Cape Fear's pressure forced Port City into turnovers of on consecutive possessions. What had been a 12 point lead quickly grew to 21 with around four minutes remaining, capped off by two one handed slams by Jerrick Haynes, who scored seven straight points to finish with 14 for the half.
Things continued to get worse for the Panthers, as the Sea Devils continued to pour in points, and the half ended with Cape Fear leading 73-44.
Both teams came out aggressively in the second half, with Port City looking to mount a comeback. While they were able to score fairly easily, they were unable to defend Cape Fear, who kept the lead around 30 points.
The Sea Devils went deep into their rotation, with ten players seeing action in the first half. That continued in the second, as head coach Ryan Mantlo subbed in five players at a time in the early minutes. With the extended minutes for some of Cape Fear's deeper rotation players, all 11 managed to score, and seven scored in double digits.
The Panthers attempt to come back was quickly put to rest, and for the rest of the game Cape Fear steadily increased their lead. Foul trouble became an issue for Port City, who only dressed seven players, and had two foul out with 10 minutes remaining, and then a third player foul out with under eight minutes remaining, forcing them to play with four players for the rest of the game. The man advantage allowed Cape Fear to set a new school record in points.
Along with the 25 points from Haynes, Alonzo Tyson finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds, while Davis finished with 20 points and and eight rebounds. Cape Fear shot 53.6 percent from the field, and knocked down 11 3-pointers.
Despite the win, Coach Mantlo felt the Sea Devils could have played better defensively.
"We scored a heck of a lot of points, but it's frustrating to see our defense lack intensity. I feel like we picked up a lot of momentum over the break, and I feel like we came out sluggish [tonight]."
With it being a new year, Mantlo wants to see his team improve defensively the rest of the season, if they are to challenge for a national title.
The win improves Cape Fear to 13-2 on the season. They will play next on Saturday, January 14th, where they will hit the road and take on Denmark Technical College at 3:00 p.m.