CR girls fall to Howard 66-63 in OT at Diamond State Classic

WILMINGTON — The Diamond State Classic was not kind to the Caesar Rodney High girls’ basketball team.

A year after winning a pair of games in the annual event, the Riders went home from Wilmington on Friday night with their second loss in as many days.

Howard knocked off Caesar Rodney with a 66-63 result in overtime on the second day of the Diamond State Classic hosted by St. Elizabeth. The Riders have dropped four games in a row to fall to 3-4 overall.

Coach Bill Victory said the tournament should make the Riders better in the long run.

“That’s why we wanted to come here,” Victory said. “I would have loved to have had two wins out of this, but we learned. Hopefully we can take these lessons and apply it so we’ll be ready in February and March. I wish we weren’t 3-4 right now, but we’ll learn and we’ll fix it, I promise you that.”

The Riders were down double digits for most of the game before mounting a furious rally in the final minutes.

CR went on a 12-2 run to tie the game on a three-pointer by freshman Jada McCullough with 1:03 left. Howard’s Na’leigha Wright responded with a layup to put the Wildcats back in front with 42 seconds left.

Brionna Brooks tied it at 57-57 with a layup of her own with 25 seconds to go. The Riders took their first lead since the first quarter with 12 seconds remaining when Jillian Baker converted a pair of free throws.

Howard came down the court and missed its first shot, but Kaniah Meachum grabbed the rebound and made a short jumper as the buzzer sounded.

Caesar Rodney only hit one field goal in overtime. Wright was perfect on four field goal attempts in the final minute and Brooks missed a desperation three-point attempt which would have tied the game on the game’s final possession.

For Victory, the game didn’t come down to overtime. He was more disappointed in the first three quarters.

“When you play like that, you have to fight like dogs to get back into the game,” Victory said.

CR wasn’t helped by the fact on of its top players, junior Kylie Kornegay-Lucas, was playing sick. Kornegay-Lucas also fouled out late in regulation.

“We have a stud but she’s sick,” Victory said. “She’s had a fever and she threw up on the way here. Then she fouls out. But our kids have to know, it’s not just Kylie Kornegay-Lucas and the jets, it’s Caesar Rodney basketball.”

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