Clark leads Caesar Rodney boys past Vikings 57-38

LEWES — Led by senior forward Shaft Clark, the Caesar Rodney High boys’ basketball program cruised to a 57-38 Henlopen North road win at Cape Henlopen High Friday night.

Clark put up a game-high 18 points and the Riders (2-1) defense limited the Vikings (2-1) to their lowest point total so far this season.

“Any time you come down here, we always know it’s a tough place to play,” said Caesar Rodney coach Freeman Williams. “Our mindset was making sure we brought our defense, and I’m really proud of how we started the game.”

Following a 20-point home defeat at the hands of arch-rival Dover High a week ago, Williams placed his team’s focus on improving on the defensive side of the ball.

And it showed.

“It comes down to our defense,” he said. “Every time we’re on the court, it’s an opportunity for us to get better. So, one of the things we talked about was either you’re going to win a game or you’re going to learn.”

A quick start offensively helped the Riders get off to an early first-quarter lead.

“We started off with three stops right off the bat and then I think it was 7-0 and they ended up having to call timeout, so our focus was just playing defense, rebounding, playing hard and sharing the ball.”

Early baskets from senior guard Jaden Corbett, junior guard Kamal Marvel and senior center William Burke helped the Riders build the seven-point lead just 2:24 into the game to force the early timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Cape went on a 13-6 run to knot the game 13-13 at the end of the opening quarter.

“It’s early, it’s our third game of the season, so we have some guys who are learning what we’re looking for and I think part of that was feeling things out a little bit,” said Williams.

The second quarter featured seven lead changes, with the two squads knocking down a total of four three-pointers over the eight-minute span.

Clark scored six of his 18 points in the final 2:42 of the half to help the Riders build a 33-25 lead at the halftime break. The Riders never looked back.

“I like how we finished the second quarter, I like how we started the third quarter and I’m really, really proud of how we finished the third quarter too, in terms of getting some stops and a nice momentum.”

Clark’s scoring surge carried over into the third quarter as the Riders went on a 10-2 run to open the half and build a double-digit lead the Vikings couldn’t overcome.

“Coach was just telling us we needed to swing the ball more, so we started doing that and we started feeding the post more, so we got easy looks,” Clark said of the second half.

“He’s a senior, he’s a captain, this is his third year in the program, so it was nice for him to kind of get going today,” Williams said. “The other thing about him is once he was going inside, the double teams were coming, so he was able to share the basketball and get what we call a hockey assist.”

Corbett knocked down a pair of three-pointers for the Riders, while the Vikings went just 3-of-8 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Eight different Riders scored at least two points in the win, including 11 from senior guard Zayquan Eaton, eight from Corbett and seven from Marvel.

“We always talk about making sure the ball has rhythm and the ball has energy and tonight, at stretches — we still have to get better — we did some good things tonight,” said Williams.

Six different Vikings scored points, including a team-high nine points from junior Sh’Kai Chandler and eight points from sophomore guard Ja’Vaughn Burton.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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