Cape Henlopen routs defending boys state champion Smyrna 74-51

Cape’s Randy Rickards goes up for an easy layup in the second quarter against Smyrna. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

SMYRNA — Randy Rickards was telling anyone who would listen not to read too much into Cape Henlopen High’s opening game of the boys’ basketball season.

The Vikings slumped in the third quarter that night in the first week of December and fell to defending state champion Smyrna.

Rickards and company had a chance to prove they were better than that on Friday night. And they made quite the statement.

Rickards scored a game-high 23 points as Cape Henlopen came into Smyrna and left with a 74-51 victory in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division matchup. It was the first instate loss for the Eagles this year.

“After we lost I said we would never have a bad game like that ever again,” Rickards said. “I was letting everybody know that. That was the first game of the season, we had some young guys and there were jitters. We have it rolling now. Every night is going to be like this.”

Both teams are now 8-2 overall and each have one loss in Henlopen North play. Cape is 6-1 in the division while Smyrna is 5-1.

Caleb Matthews looks to pass as he gets pressure from Capes Izaiah Dadzie in the first quarter against Cape’s. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

This was the first loss for Smyrna against a Delaware opponent since Dec. 29, 2016.

The Vikings did it with defense. They took a double-digit lead by halftime thanks to a 17-7 second quarter.

There was one point where Smyrna turned the ball over three times in a row in the second quarter, that’s when the Vikings said they knew they were in control.

“By the second quarter we saw we were affecting them,” said senior guard Izaiah Dadzie. “We just kept attacking and got it done.”

“We’re so much better,” Dadzie added, talking about the first game. “We came back and proved how good we are.”

Cape Henlopen led wire-to-wire and first stretched its lead to 10 points at 22-12 when Shi’Kai Chandler drained a three early in the second quarter.

Smyrna had also come up empty-handed on 11 straight possessions at that point in the game.

Cape’s Randy Rickards looks to score as he gets pressure from Smyrna’s Nalik Veasley-Johnson in the second quarter. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“That’s what we do,” said Cape coach Stephen Re. “That’s foundation we’ve made in this program the last several year is to be a teammate on that end of the court and help each other. When you have talented teams, that translates to offense.”

Ian Robertson scored 17 points for Cape while Skylar Johnson added 13. Chandler was also in double figures with 10.

Dadzie ended with eight points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter which gave the Vikings a 50-33 advantage.

With Rickards and Robertson drawing most of the attention from the Smyrna defense, those types of shots were open for Dadzie, Johnson and Chandler.

“Everything is drawn to them,” Dadzie said. “I always have an open shot or an open attack. That really makes my game a lot easier. It’s great playing with them.”

While the starting guards combined for 31 points, Re praised their defensive effort even more.

Cape held Smyrna’s Caleb Matthews, a reigning first team All-State pick, to just 11 points with a combination of Dadzie and Johnson guarding him.
“They worked so hard,” Rickards said. “It was good watching them do that. They frustrated them.”

Jaymeir Garnett was Smyrna’s top scorer with 17 points while Greg Bloodsworth scored 13.

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