CAMDEN — Already known as a knockdown shooter, Caleb Matthews has added more weapons to his arsenal for his sophomore season.
Now when his three-point attempts aren’t falling, Matthews has other ways to score.
Despite missing all four of his shots from three-point range, Matthews scored eight of his 10 points in the first half as Smyrna High pulled away for a decisive 69-42 over Caesar Rodney High on Thursday night. It was the second consecutive Henlopen Conference Northern Division victory for the Eagles (3-0).
All of Matthews’ points in the first half came on floaters in the lane after the defense had rushed out to try to guard him on the three-point line.
“I worked on a pull-up jumper and a floater all summer,” Matthews said. “Teams chase me off the line a lot and face-guard me so I worked on those.
It’s really important to get to the basket. You can’t just rely on one part of your game.”
Matthews’ first half performance helped spark a balanced effort by the Eagles.
Senior Ja’vier Worthy ended up as their leading scorer with 15 points. Freshman Jaymeir Garnett added 14, eight of which came on the final five possessions of the third quarter.
Seniors Charlie Taylor, Donte Ritchie and Jerry Williams all finished with eight points.
“We’ve got so many different people who can score in different ways,” Matthews said. “We’ve had this chemistry since the first day of practice really. We’re unselfish and play as a team. We came out strong and put it away in the first half. In the second, we didn’t let them back in it.”
“I think we’re just unselfish,” said Smyrna coach Andrew Mears. “I really enjoyed seeing them share the basketball.”
Mears is also impressed with how Matthews has improved from his freshman season when he was mainly a three-point shooter.
“He has a good shot so as a freshman you try to just find what they do well,” Mears said. “This year and this offseason he’s really spent a lot of time servicing his entire game. We’ve liked how he’s developed.”
Smyrna led wire-to-wire and built its big lead with a 10-0 run to start the second quarter. Smyrna’s advantage was as large as 33 points in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Davione Robinson paced Caesar Rodney with a team-high 10 points. The Riders dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in Henlopen North play.
Thursday’s contest was unlike the two games Smyrna and CR played last season which both came down to the wire. They split the season series a year ago with Smyrna’s victory coming by just four points.
“I don’t know if there’s a big difference I just think our guys knew what to expect from a CR team,” Mears said. “We have a lot of respect for CR and coach (Freeman) Williams. He always puts out a tough product that will play you from start to finish. I know they had a tough game the other night (on Tuesday vs. Dover) and we were a little bit fresher. That may of had something to do with it.”