Riders stay unbeaten with 71-60 win over Cape

Caesar Rodney’s Syed Myles makes a basket for two of his 12 points in Friday night’s win. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

LEWES — If the first few minutes were any indication, Caesar Rodney High’s offense was going to be difficult to keep away from the rim.

The fast-paced Riders knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the first 45 seconds and had already jumped ahead by double digits in less than three minutes on their way to a 71-60 boys’ basketball win over Cape Henlopen High Friday night.

The Henlopen Conference Northern Division victory keeps CR unbeaten at 4-0, with all four wins coming against division opponents. It extends CR’s win streak against Cape (1-2) to three games after last year’s sweep.

“Any night you play anyone in the conference you have to expect to be in for a dog fight,” said CR coach Frank Victory. “You’re scouted well, they know what you’re going to do, they’re comfortable with what you’re going to do, and they bring their ‘A’ game … no one wants to lose in this conference.

Caesar Rodney’s Mason Williams goes up for a layup against Cape defender Dylan Fannin.

“Tonight, I think we battled some adversity for the first time this season and the boys responded well. We went on a run late in the game to kind of ice the game away.”

In Victory’s first year as coach, the Riders have won each of their four games by double digits, with an average margin of victory of 38 points in their previous three wins over Sussex Tech High, Sussex Central High and Polytech High.

Caesar Rodney’s schedule only gets tougher as they prepare to face undefeated Woodbridge High and nonconference Appoquinimink High next week.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Victory said. “The boys are working very hard every day in practice – they want to get better; they have a love for the game of basketball and a desire to get better. I think that shows on the floor.”

Ten different Riders scored at least two points, led by senior Kamal Marvel’s 19 points, which included a three-pointer just 18 seconds into the game. Senior Syed Myles added 12 points, while senior Monroe Hite contributed 11.

Cape’s Nate Sivels battles CR defenders Jaelin Joyner (15) and Monroe Hite (24) on his way to the basket Friday night.

As a team, CR shot 68 percent from the free throw line, knocking down 23 of their 34 attempts.

“Cape played one of the better games tonight, I really feel like they played up to our level,” said Marvel. “We didn’t play bad, but our shot was a little off and I don’t think we really played as well as we normally do. But I feel like we handled the adversity well tonight and did what we had to do.”

Junior Ja’Vaughn Burton registered a game-high 23 points for the Vikings, 16 of which came in the second half. Senior Sh’Kai Chandler complemented him with 20 of his own, including eight of the team’s 10 second quarter points. Senior Kristoffer Rushin contributed nine points.

With an 8-2 lead in the first 45 seconds of the game, CR’s up-tempo scoring attack produced its highest-scoring quarter of the season with 29 points over the eight minute span.

Cape senior Sh’Kai Chandler dribbles down the court on a fast break during Friday night’s 71-60 loss.

Trailing 43-26 at halftime, Cape turned things around and jumped back in it with a strong third quarter performance.

Behind Burton’s eight points, Cape outscored CR 18-9 in the quarter to pull to within eight points heading into the fourth.

The Vikings used a 10-4 run over the last 3:58 of the quarter to pull to within single digits, but the Riders responded with an 8-0 run to begin the fourth and cement the victory.

“I feel like we’ve gotten off to a great start, but we just have to keep it going,” said Marvel. “We can’t get complacent. We have some better teams coming up – we’re on an away game stretch right now – so we just have to keep it flowing and keep winning games.”

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