After fight, Sussex Tech-Cape Henlopen basketball game finishes with just 3 players: Report

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Brad Myers - Delaware Online

It’s safe to say there has never been another high school basketball game like this in Delaware.

Sussex Tech boys rallied for a 63-62 victory at Cape Henlopen on Thursday night, in a game that finished with only three players on the court.

You read that correctly. At the end, Sussex Tech had only two players available. Cape Henlopen was down to one player.

According to the Cape Gazette, the home team, Cape Henlopen, was leading 39-27 with 4:08 left in the third quarter when a fight broke out on the court.

Order was restored, but not before all of the players from both benches had rushed onto the court. Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association rules state that any player who leaves the bench during an altercation is automatically ejected.

The Gazette reported that two players from each team who were in the game when the fight started were also ejected, leaving just three players available on each side.

According to the Gazette, the game was delayed for 20 minutes as discussions took place among referees, coaches and administrators.

Ultimately, it was decided that the game would resume as a three-on-three matchup, with Kay’von Jackson, Kris Rushin and Collin Mallet remaining for Cape Henlopen and Skylar Johnson, Kevin Custis and Devon Reynolds remaining for Sussex Tech.

Over the final 12 minutes, two Cape players and one Sussex Tech player fouled out. Sussex Tech cut into the deficit, and went ahead 63-62 on a three-point play by Johnson with seven seconds to play. Mallet was the only player remaining for Cape Henlopen at that time.


“I’ll say this: The game should’ve been forfeited,” Cape Henlopen coach Shemik Thompson told the Gazette after the game. “We should’ve won the game. The game should’ve been over [after the fight].”

Kevin Charles, the retired former DIAA executive director who is serving as a consultant until the organization selects a new leader, did not know any details about the game when reached Thursday night.

After a reporter described the events to him, Charles said he would expect to receive a report from the game’s referees on Friday. Charles said that is standard practice when there is an ejection at any game in any sanctioned sport.

Charles said the National Federation of State High School Associations basketball rules do allow teams to finish a game with fewer than five players. But he had never heard of a basketball team finishing a game with just one player, and it led to an obvious question.

“I’ve actually researched this, and you can finish with one player,” Charles said. “But I believe every inbound is a turnover. … You would just have to go on defense.”

Charles also said that under state high school rules, every player who was ejected will also automatically be suspended for their team’s next game. That would leave the Vikings and Ravens with just three varsity players, but both teams are allowed to call up players from the junior varsity.

The next game for Cape Henlopen (4-7) is Tuesday night at Polytech. Sussex Tech (8-4) will be at home Tuesday night against Smyrna.


Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ

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