Riders ousted from tourney 47-43 by host William Penn

NEW CASTLE — The Caesar Rodney boys’ basketball team was right where it wanted to be heading into the fourth quarter.

The game was tied and the Riders had eight minutes to try to make it to the Bob Carpenter Center.

But William Penn made 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and the Riders fell in the second round of the DIAA state tournament 47-43 on Thursday night.

Caesar Rodney fell behind 40-33 in the fourth before it was able to rally and make it a one-possession game. The Riders had two chances to tie or take the lead in the game’s final minutes but could not convert.

“I’m definitely proud of how we competed,” said CR coach Freeman Williams. “Unfortunately, we ran out of time. We came up four points short.”

William Penn, the tournament’s fourth seed, advanced to play No. 5 Caravel Academy in the quarterfinals. That game will be the first of four on Saturday at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center, starting at noon.

The Riders, who were seeded 13th, ended their season at 14-8 overall.

Caesar Rodney took its first lead, 29-28, of the night late in the third quarter when Jaden Corbett drained a three-pointer. The Riders extended the advantage on the next possession on Davione Robinson’s tough layup through traffic.

William Penn tied it at 31-31 on Eric Hicks’ three-pointer with five seconds left in the third quarter. Hicks then gave the Colonials the lead for good with another three on the second possession of the fourth quarter.

The Riders didn’t surrender another field goal for the rest of the game. But a rash of fouls called quickly put the Colonials in the bonus and 13 of their 16 of their fourth quarter points came from the line.

“Things kind of got erratic for a bit for like three or four possessions,” Williams said. “Unfortunately they scored on those and that kind of broke the game open just a little.”

CR pulled within 43-41 after a free throw by Timothy Spence and then drew a charge on the defensive end.

The Riders weren’t able to get a shot off though with a chance to tie. William Penn forced a steal and then in a scramble for a loose ball CR was ruled to have touched the ball while standing out of bounds.

That was when the Riders started fouling intentionally to try to get the ball back but William Penn was able to hit four of its six free throw attempts in the last minute.

Caesar Rodney missed a pair of threes in the final 30 seconds and only scored on a putback by Corbett.

Shaft Clark was CR’s leading scorer with 15 points. Clark scored the first five points of the game for the Riders who found themselves down 7-0 before battling back.

“I’ll remember this group for their character and their resiliency,” Williams said. “When things don’t go their way, they continue to fight and continue to work. I told them we’re really proud of how they competed and how they represented our school and our program this season. I’m obviously really disappointed the year is ending, but definitely really, really proud of the boys.”

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