Ravens earn 67-54 Henlopen North win over Eagles

GEORGETOWN – Devon Reynolds knew it was only a matter of time before he started getting hot behind the three-point arc.

The Sussex Tech High junior knocked down just one of his many three-point attempts in the first half, but drained a trio of three balls in the third quarter Tuesday night to lead the Ravens to a 67-54 boys’ basketball win over Smyrna High.

“I just kept shooting and didn’t give up,” said Reynolds. “My team found me when they saw I was hitting them. We just fought hard and came out with the win.”

Reynolds finished with a team-high 18 points, including four three-pointers, to improve Tech’s season record to 10-6.

“He’s a guy who’s hit big shots for us all year long, so we knew it was just a matter of time,” said Sussex Tech coach Damon Ayers.

“He’s a shooter, he’s poised, and he’s a guy who can fill it up. He knocks down one or two, next thing you know you see three or four of them going in. He puts us on his back.”

The Henlopen Conference Northern Division victory avenged the Ravens’ earlier 84-69 loss to the Eagles (6-9) on Dec. 11.

“That was in the back of my mind,” Ayers said of the previous loss. “That was a game where they sort of built a big lead on us and we tried to come back down the stretch. We burned so much energy coming back, so they were able to finish the game.”

Tuesday night’s win marks the first time Sussex Tech has defeated Smyrna since Feb. 18, 2014, snapping a 10-game losing streak against the Eagles (including state tournament).

“To be able to come back and beat a team you lost to earlier in the season is huge,” Ayers said. “I think this is the first time we’ve beaten Smyrna in a really long time.”

Junior Ja’Shaun Johnson complemented Reynolds’ night with a 16-point performance of his own.

“Coach told us to just come out and play hard and we came together as a team tonight,” Johnson said.

All five starters finished with double-digit point totals, with junior K.J. Custis scoring 13 and junior Skylar Johnson adding 10.

Junior Ricky Kane missed the first 14 games of the season due to injury, but in his second game back out on the court this season he put up a season-high 10 points in the double-digit win.

“Our guys have really been working hard and with the addition of Kane it just gives us a completely different mindset with his leadership and his guidance. We’re a better team with him on the floor,” said Ayers.

Kane has combined for 18 points in his two games.

“It’s a pleasure, that’s all I can say, it’s a pleasure having him back out there,” said Reynolds.

“It’s exciting,” said Johnson. “We’re a lot better. Scoring, defense, everything overall is better (with him back).”

Tech jumped out to a 15-12 lead after the first quarter behind a pair of Custis three-pointers.

The Ravens led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, with Johnson scoring 11 of his 16 points in the eight-minute span to take a 31-22 lead into the halftime break.

Three-pointers from Reynolds on consecutive offensive possessions within the first three minutes of the second half gave the Ravens momentum, but the Eagles kept the score close and trailed by just seven points heading into the fourth quarter.

As a team, the Ravens went 11-of-17 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to cement its fifth win over the last six games.

Junior Nahshon Sylvester scored a game-high 25 points in the losing effort for the Eagles, with junior Izaiah Credle adding 13 points and senior Ron Jackson scoring 11.

“We’re peaking, getting in the groove and just playing as a team right now,” Johnson said.

“We tell our kids that we just want to peak, and just continue to peak, so that when we get into the state tournament we can see if we can be clicking on all cylinders,” said Ayers. “Anything can happen in the state tournament, it’s the luck of the draw, so we just want to continue to get better every week.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com.

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