Riders rally in 4th quarter but fall 60-58 at Newark

NEWARK — For three quarters, it seemed like the ball would just not go through the hoop for the Caesar Rodney High boys’ basketball team.

Finally in the fourth, the Riders were able to rack up the points and rally from a double-digit deficit.

Newark High had a response, though.

The Yellow Jackets hit a layup with seven seconds left to deal Caesar Rodney a 60-58 defeat in a nonconference contest on Thursday. It is the second loss in a row for the Riders, who fell to 13-5 overall.

Caesar Rodney trailed by as much as 14 but out-scored the Yellow Jackets 25-13 in the final quarter and was able to tie the game in the final minute.

Joseph Hodges won it for Newark (14-5) after taking an inbounds pass, driving left and finishing a contested layup off the glass. CR’s shot at the buzzer was blocked.

With the Riders in position to make the playoffs anyway, coach Freeman Williams was hopeful CR learned some lessons from Thursday’s matchup.

“Right now it’s all about experience,” Williams said. “Wins and losses right now are not going to make or break your season. What you got to be doing is getting better. We were gritty down the stretch and did a lot of good things in the fourth quarter but we’ve got to expand it over four quarters so we’e not in that situation.”

The Riders only scored eight points in the third quarter and missed their last eight shot attempts. It allowed Newark to lead 47-33 headed into the fourth.

Brycen Williams made it a six-point game when he drained a three from the corner with 2:30 left. After a Newark turnover, Zayquan Eaton made a three of his own from the top of the circle and Caesar Rodney pulled within 53-50.

Eaton hit another three to cut the deficit to 55-53 with 1:07 remaining. Newark made some free throws and Eaton converted a pair of free throws too to set up a three-point lead for the Yellow Jackets but CR was able to get the ball back.

Jaden Corbett tied the game at 58-58 with his fourth three-pointer of the game. Newark brought the ball across halfcourt before calling timeout.

That’s when Hodges was able to win it for the Yellow Jackets.

“I thought Newark did a nice job and played hard, I thought we didn’t do a very good in the first part of the game with our energy and we had too many breakdowns,” Williams said. “We fought on the road and played hard down the stretch but we got to put four quarters together.”

Corbett paced the Riders with 19 points. Eaton also finished in double figures with 12 and Shaft Clark added nine points for the Riders.

Newark’s Robert Wiley was the game’s top scorer with 22 points.

The Riders have two more games left in the regular season before the state tournament begins.

CR hosts Milford Saturday at 2:45 p.m. and travels to end the year at A.I. du Pont on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

“There’s things we need to get better at,” Williams said. “We’ve talked about getting better at our offensive execution and minimizing our defensive breakdowns. We just got to get to work and improve. There’s lessons we’ll take away from this and we’ll tighten things up.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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