GLASGOW, Del. – The 2018-19 Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association basketball postseason got underway on Monday afternoon at Glasgow High School when the first ever DIAA/Special Olympics Unified basketball state tournament game tipped off between the Dragons and the William Penn Colonials.
The back-and-forth contest wasn’t decided until the final minute when, trailing by two points, Glasgow senior Deshawn Nettles scored on two consecutive breakaway layups to secure a 47-45 victory.
“I feel great, I feel like I helped my team win,” Glasgow freshman Jalani Ruffin said.
Ruffin scored five points in the first quarter and then added six more in the second as Glasgow held a narrow 25-24 lead at the half.
“I understand my role as a big man and I do what I have to do,” Ruffin added.
The teams each scored 10 points in the third quarter and then in the fourth, after several lead changes, William Penn held a 45-41 with 2:56 left in the game.
“We didn’t have any worry,” Glasgow junior Kyle Ford explained of his team trailing late. “We knew they were just outworking us and they just had that chemistry, and as soon as we got together, you saw, we came back.”
The comeback started when Hakeem Bell sank two free throws to pull Glasgow within 45-43. Then, on William Penn’s ensuing possession, a missed layup by Taiwo Oguwande turned into Nettles’ first of two straight scores, the second set up by Bell’s steal with less than 30 seconds to play. Penn’s next and final posession ended when E’Shaun Bass-Wilkerson’s last-second shot missed and Ruffin grabbed his most important rebound of the game.
“I thought I was going to get it,” a smiling Ruffin said after the game. “The player was taller than me but I got it. I had to fight for it.”
Ruffin led all scorers with 15 points. Ford chipped in with 10 and Bell finished with nine for the Dragons. Bass-Wilkerson led William Penn with 13 and Brendan Britt added 11.
Glasgow moves on to the semifnals where they will face the winner of Wednesday afternoon’s Mount Pleasant-Newark Charter game. The Dragons plan to use the experience gained in this, their first ever tournament game, as one more advantage in their quest to play in the championship at the Bob Carpenter Center.
“It was basically teamwork,” Ford said of the win. “We got the talent, all day, every day. It was just putting it all together and working as a team.”