Matthews scores 36 as Smyrna routs Dover

Caleb Matthews of Smyrna, who scored a game-high 36 points, drives into heavy traffic and looks for a teammate to pass to in the first half Thursday night. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

SMYRNA — The frustration simmered for about a week.

And on Thursday, Smyrna High had its first chance to do something about its first instate loss.

The Eagles bounced back thanks to a 75-56 victory against Dover High in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division boys’ basketball contest. Smyrna improved to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the Henlopen North.

Smyrna’s Nalik Veasley-Johnson drives the baseline for an underhand reverse layup with Eden Davis of Dover trying to block. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Smyrna’s was coming off a 74-51 defeat to Cape Henlopen High last Friday. It was the first time Smyrna fell to a Delaware team since Jan. 29, 2016 to Sanford — a streak of 25 games.

“Sometimes you need to get your butt whooped,” said Smyrna senior shooting guard Caleb Matthews. “We lost by 23 points and we didn’t play hard. We knew we had to come out here and make it up for it.”

Matthews led the way for Smyrna against Dover with a game-high 36 points.

Matthews did most of his damage from outside with seven three-pointer. Matthews gave Smyrna the lead for good with back-to-back threes in the first quarter to go up 12-9.

Those threes were a part of six straight possessions for Smyrna which ended with a made basket. It sparked a 15-4 run midway through the first quarter.

Eagles head coach Andrew Mears goes over strategy during timeout in the 1st quarter in game against Dover.. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Smyrna coach Andrew Mears said the strong start was something the coaches preached to the players during last week’s practices.

“We had to get over frustration and then we had to get back to the grind,” Mears said. “We were able to accomplish that. I felt our guys were hungry after the loss and frustrated we didn’t give our best effort.”

“The one thing we wanted to control tonight was our effort,” Mears added. “Then see how things fall after that.”

For Smyrna, the hope is the 23-point loss to Cape Henlopen could be a blessing in disguise.

“Sometimes wins don’t give you the adversity that you need,” Mears said. “Obviously after last game’s loss we had adversity. We really got back to the grind in practice and I wanted to see how our guys responded.”

Elijah Allen of Dover drives past Smyrna defender Nalik Vwasley-Johnson for a layup in the 2nd quarter Thursday night.. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Smyrna extended its lead to more than 20 points in the second half thanks to a third quarter where the Eagles outscored Dover 23-12 in the third quarter.

Greg Bloodsworth added 20 points for the Eagles while Jaymeir Garnett chipped in seven.

Javon Peace was Dover’s leading scorer with 17 points. Eden Davis was the only other Senator in double figures with 12 points while Elijah Allen scored nine.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

New Delaware College Football and High School Sports Report newsletters are now available.
Visit the newsletters page to subscribe to both!

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.
[fbcomments url="" width="375" count="off" num="3"]