"Can't play with them. Can't win with them. Won't play with them. Don't need them. Please put that in the newspaper. Thanks, that's all I have to say."
Those were the words of Appoquinimink’s rookie basketball coach Spencer Dunkley, referring to brothers A.J. English III and his brother, A’Jen, following the Jaguars’ 62-61 upset loss to district rival Middletown on Dec. 10.
A.J. III, a junior and the state’s leading scorer last season, was benched late in the close game and not reinserted when Appoquinimink had the ball with 28 seconds remaining and a chance to win the game.
Following the loss, neither player took part in the postgame handshake, and A’Jen told the Middletown Transcript, "I think our best scorer should have been in the game at the end."
The boys’ father, Alex English Jr., a former Delaware high school standout and NBA player, told the Middletown Transcript: "That (statement) doesn’t deserve a response. My maturity level allows me to take the high road on that. Any coach knows you keep that kind of stuff in the locker room and out of the newspaper. How can any kid trust him after that? He showed his inexperience by making those statements."
A.J. III was suspended until Dec. 21, missing two games during that span (a third was postponed due to inclement weather). He is scheduled to return to the lineup on Jan. 5 against Howard Vo-Tech. His father told the Middletown Transcript that he is unsure if his oldest son will return to the team.
1. Delcastle (3-0)
2. Sanford (2-0)
3. Polytech (4-0)
4. Newark (4-0)
5. Concord (2-0)
1. Sanford (4-0)
2. Ursuline (2-0)
3. St. Mark’s (2-0)
4. Dover (4-0)
5. Hodgson (2-0)
Beast of the East: Over 15 inches of snow did not tame one of the country’s biggest individual wrestling tournaments, held Saturday and Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center on the University of Delaware campus.
Delaware wrestlers had their best showing at the Beast of the East since it became a national-level tournament, placing five wrestlers in the finals, with 16 individuals winning medals. St. Mark’s finished fourth overall in the team competition, behind Blair (N.J.), Central Dauphin (Pa.) and Wyoming Seminary (Pa.). Sussex Central also finished in the top 10, at No. 7.
Cape easily handles Sussex Tech: After falling behind at the end of the first quarter, Cape Henlopen outscored Sussex Tech the rest of the way to win easily, 73-55, in an early-season Henlopen North showdown. Junior guard Andrew Merlo poured in a game-high 26 points and senior forward Trent Batson chipped in with 15 for the Vikings, who evened their record at 2-2.
Young guards lead Hillers over Friends: Freshman guard Jenna Chodos scored 12 points to lead Tower Hill to a 35-29 win over Wilmington Friends. Sophomore guard Jenny Cusack added eight points for the Hillers, who head into the break with a 2-2 record despite having just one senior on the roster.
First-rate performers in the first state
* Mariah Henley (Ursuline Academy): The Raiders’ senior outside hitter has been named the 2009-10 Gatorade Delaware Volleyball Player of the Year. She led state champion Ursuline to a 13-1 record and is the fifth Raider to win the award.
* Nick Schenk (St. Mark’s): The second-seeded senior was the lone Delaware champion at the Beast of the East, winning the 130-pound bracket with a 3-2 overtime decision over top seed Sam Sherlock (West Mifflin, Pa.). Schenk also won as a freshman when he was a student at McDonogh (Md.).
* Anthony Myles (Polytech): The highly-recruited 6-foot-4 senior guard scored his 1,000th varsity career point two minutes into a 68-40 win over Laurel.
* Rutgers women’s basketball coach Vivian Stringer and Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma were spotted at the Smyrna-Milford game scouting highly recruited junior Betnijay Laney, who was selected first-team all-state as a sophomore and leads the Eagles (4-1) with 19 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.
* The 18th annual Diamond State Classic girls’ varsity basketball tournament tips off on Dec. 27 at St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington. The event, which attracts some of the best teams in the country, benefits Special Olympics Delaware, the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation and other local charities. In its 17 years, the foundation has also awarded over $800,000 in scholarships to senior female athletes in Delaware.
Delaware Military Academy won its first varsity boys basketball game in school history with a 41-34 victory over St. Andrews. The charter school, located on the outskirts of Wilmington, opened its doors in 2003. … Ed Capodanno, who coached Ursuline Academy to five state championships, was inducted into the Special Olympics Delaware Hall of Fame in recognition of nearly 20 years of volunteer service. … Former Slam Dunk to the Beach basketball tournament director Bobby Jacobs is back behind bars for at least two years for stalking charges stemming from threatening letters he sent to members of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Jon Buzby is the sports columnist for the Newark Post, a freelance writer, and occasional color commentator for the 1290 AM The Ticket High School Football Game of the Week. You can reach him at email@example.com.