CAMDEN — Cape Henlopen High’s lead on Friday night stayed steady between six to 10 points for most of the second and third quarters.
But in the fourth quarter, Caesar Rodney battled back to make it a one-possession game.
The Vikings didn’t panic. though. and reestablished control for a 65-56 victory in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division boys’ basketball contest.
Randy Rickards and Drew Mulcahy tied as Cape’s leading scorers with 14 points apiece.
When CR closed the gap to 52-49 with 5:06 remaining, Rickards responded with a layup, followed by a pair of free throws on the next two possessions. It put Cape up 56-49 and the Riders weren’t able to close within five points for the rest of the game.
“Coach told us not to lose our heads and to keep playing as a team,” Rickards said. “I just wanted to do what the team needed to win.”
It was the second consecutive Henlopen North win for Cape Henlopen (2-1 overall). The Vikings split the season series with CR a year ago.
“We’re very happy because we came here and lost last year,” Mulcahy said. “It was a big game for us and gets us on a good start in the conference being 2-0 so far.”
Jaquan Hooks paced Caesar Rodney with a game-high 20 points. The Riders dropped to 0-2 on the young season and 0-1 in North play.
“We kept playing hard to get back in it but we had turnovers or breakdowns defensively that didn’t allow us to take control of the basketball game,” said CR coach Freeman Williams. “We need to do a better job of executing on both the offensive and defensive ends.”
Rickards, a sophomore in his first year with the Cape program, was off to a hot start in the first quarter with four quick points, but landed on the bench with foul trouble.
He was able to avoid fouls in the second half and netted six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
“That’s part of his learning process,” said Cape coach Stephen Re. “He had a really strong first quarter, then he picked up two fouls. Young players struggle with overcoming adversity there but he really stepped up and finished the game really strong.”
The Vikings built a 35-26 halftime lead behind Mulcahy’s three three-pointers in the first half. Their largest lead in the second half was by 12 after a Mulcahy layup plus the foul.
That’s when the Riders started their comeback. Hooks nailed a pullup three, freshman Jayvon Palmer hit a bucket from underneath the basket and Jordaan Brummell started the fourth quarter with a three to cap off an 8-0 CR run.
Nhaighere Willis converted two free throws to make it a three-point game. But Rickards sparked another Cape run to finish the game off.
“We stopped making silly turnovers and made a nice little run there,” Re said. “Every time we were under control, we got what we wanted, we got good looks.”
Demetrius Price made seven free throws in the final two minutes to help ice it for Cape.