CR girls gain revenge on rival Dover with 44-36 win

DOVER — The Caesar Rodney High girls had been waiting for this ever since the buzzer went off in their opening game of the basketball season.

The Riders exacted some revenge on Dover High with a 44-36 road win on Tuesday night in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest. The Senators had defeated CR in the teams’ first meeting, 57-55 on Dec. 4 on a last-second shot.

With the victory, Caesar Rodney (10-3 overall) created some distance in the Henlopen North title race, improving to 6-1 in the conference. The Riders have also won eight of their last nine.

“I think we worked harder,” said junior Alissa Haith. “We wanted it more tonight. We knew from the beginning we had to come out strong, make sure we had good ball movement and shot the ball well.”

CR coach Bill Victory credited the Riders’ nonconference schedule in December for preparing them for the rematch. It featured five road games upstate as the Riders went 3-2 in those five games, with both losses coming to St. Elizabeth.

“All those games we played up North have been preparing for this so we can claim our rightful place,” Victory said with a beaming smile.

Haith paced the Riders with 14 points and helped spark a decisive 8-0 run in the fourth quarter.

The game was tied 32-32 at the end of the third before Haith nailed a baseline jumper. The next time down the floor for CR, sophomore Alexis Reid converted another mid-range jumpshot.

Haith made it three baskets in three possessions with a corner-three as Caesar Rodney’s lead grew to 39-32.

After a CR free throw, Brionna Hill scored on back-to-back possessions for Dover to pull the Senators within four points. But that was as close as the game would get in the final minute as Reid hit a layup and Haith buried a pair of free throws to ice it.

Caesar Rodney outscored Dover 12-4 in the fourth quarter. The Senators were held scoreless for the first 6:03 of the quarter, which Victory attributed to a shift to a 1-3-1 zone on defense.

“We had to find the right zone to stop their high-post entry,” Victory said. “The 1-3-1 did that. Defensively-wise we did it as a team. I’m proud of the girls, they stepped up in an adverse situation.”

Hill finished the game as Dover’s leading scorer with eight points. The Senators dropped to 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the Henlopen North.

Reid ended up as CR’s second player in double figures with 10 points. Brionna Brooks chipped in nine points for the Riders, including two three-pointers.

Victory was even more impressed by the fact the Riders did this without two of their starters, Zoe Scott and Victoria Sebastian who were sitting out recovering from injuries.

“Two starters not here and we still did what we needed to do,” Victory said.

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