High school basketball: Riders eye Knights again for North girls’ crown

CR girls basketball coach Bill Victory by .

“We’re trying to steal something that’s not really ours to steal,” said CR girls’ coach Bill Victory. “I mean, it was supposed to belong to somebody else.” (Delaware State News file photo)

Caesar Rodney High’s girls’ basketball team could have done this the easy way.

But the Riders missed a chance to capture the Henlopen Conference Northern Division crown when it fell to Sussex Central, 45-41, last Tuesday.

Now CR might have to face the Golden Knights again if it wants to win the title.

If Central wins its regular-season finale tonight, at home against Dover at 6:15 p.m., the Knights will tie the Riders for the North championship.

In that case, both teams would be 10-2 in the division and have split their two meetings against each other.

That would force a special tiebreaker, with Central and CR squaring off on Wednesday at Milford at 7 p.m.

The North champion will face South winner Woodbridge on Friday at 6 p.m. in the Henlopen championship game.

Considering his team has only three seniors on the roster, CR coach Bill Victory didn’t expect the Riders to be in this position in the first place.

“We’re trying to steal something that’s not really ours to steal,” said Victory. “I mean, it was supposed to belong to somebody else.

“I respect (Central coach) Ron Dukes. He does a great job with his kids and always has. His three seniors have been to the mountaintop already, they won the conference championship last year.”

Victory knows CR will have to play better if it wants to beat the defending North champion Knights. For one thing, the Riders were only 7-for-21 from the free throw line in last week’s loss.

On the other hand, Victory said it’s not always a bad thing to lose a game once in a while. CR won 10 in a row before falling to Central.

“Our kids forgot what it felt like to lose,” said Victory. “When you win 10 in a row, you think no matter what you do, you’re still going to win.
For three or four games we kind of played like that.

“We’ve been really energized (since the loss) to get ourselves prepared to go to war one more time with them.”

Dover can go 12-0

Dover’s boys’ basketball team (11-0, 15-3) can finish a perfect 12-0 in the Henlopen North today when it hosts Sussex Central (2-8, 6-12)) at 7:15 p.m. in its regular-season finale.

Even the Senators’ last North champion squad, the 2009-10 team, didn’t accomplish that feat. The ‘10 team went on to reach the state championship game but not before losing to Milford — then a member of the North — just after Christmas.

Dover brings a 12-game winning streak into tonight’s game.

On Friday, Dover is hosting both the girls’ and boys’ Henlopen Conference championship games. The girls’ contest is at 6 p.m. with the boys’ matchup, between the Senators and south champion Milford, to follow.

The Buccaneers already finished 12-0 in the South.

Blue-Gold rosters set

A total of 26 downstate players have been selected to play in the Blue-Gold All-Star Basketball Games.

The contests will be held on March 19 at the Carpenter Center, beginning with the girls’ game at 1:30 p.m. The event benefits Best Buddies Delaware.

Local boxer and businessman Dave Tiberi will be inducted into the Blue-Gold Hall of Fame, there will be a Kid’s Fun Zone, a game played between members of the Philadelphia Eagles and local celebrities and sponsors, and a slam-dunk contest.

More information is available at www.bestbuddiesdelaware.org. Tickets to the games and the banquet, which is open to the public, are available at www.bestbuddiesdelaware.org.

GIRLS’ GOLD ROSTER: Altia Anderson, Woodbridge; Jonae Boone, Milford; Shirle’ Brown, Appoquinimink; Cherise Castello, Polytech; Kala Fluitt, Milford; Tatyana Jenkins, Sussex Central; Ashunte Manigo, Smyrna; Quiara Mayes, Appoquinimink; Ashlee McCoy, Delmarva Christian; Kyra Moore, Dover; Jordan Moseley, Caesar Rodney; Kourtnie Orth, St. Thomas More; Emily Truitt, Sussex Central; Lamesha Walker, Sussex Central.

Coaches: Emilio Perry, Woodbridge; Ron Dukes, Sussex Central, Trenita Shields, Lake Forest.

BOYS’ GOLD ROSTER: Tai’ Ron Abbott- Sussex Central; Kristian Alexander, Appoquinimink; Jordan Allen, Dover; Michael Douglas, Dover; Dom Griffith, Lake Forest; Wontrell Hammond, Caesar Rodney; Shyhiem Holden, Laurel; Devin Kravitz, Milford; Drew Mulcahy, Cape Henlopen; Henry Nesmith, Milford; Demetrius Price, Cape Henlopen; Charlie Taylor, Smyrna; Justin Thompson, Middletown; Terrance Woodlin, Dover; and Javier Worthy, Smyrna.

Coaches: Shawn Phillips, Laurel; Stephen Wilson, Dover.

Free throws

• Wednesday is the last day of competition for games to be counted toward the DIAA basketball state tournaments. The boys’ and girls’ brackets will both be announced on Friday afternoon.

• Sussex Tech’s boys’ squad finished a tough 0-20 this season. But it wasn’t like the Ravens didn’t come close to winning several times.
Tech lost six games by single digits, including setbacks by one, two and three points.

• One of the nicest moments of the downstate basketball season came last week when freshman McKenzie Sanford took the court for the first time with the Cape Henlopen girls’ squad.

Sanford, who has cerebral palsy, had been the Vikings’ manager. But she was in uniform with her teammates last Friday, making a basket in a game against Sussex Central.

“The girls fell in love with her, which isn’t a hard thing to do with her between her constant smile, jokes, and the pure enjoyment she gets from the game of basketball,” said first-year Cape coach Lauren Carra, a special-education teacher. “And she fell in love with them.

“High school sports is about more than just the wins and losses and our team has been able to experience that throughout the season as they have built a lifelong relationship with McKenzie, which they will soon not forgot.”

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