CAMDEN – Neither St. Elizabeth nor Caesar Rodney put on a clinic on the basketball court when they met Dec. 12 at CR, but the teams sure delivered an entertaining show. Alexis Reid’s two free throws with 6.1 seconds remaining in overtime proved to be the difference in the Riders’ 50-48 nonconference girls win.
Reid’s shots capped a Caesar Rodney comeback, as the Riders trailed, 24-14, at the half and were down as many as 12 at 30-18 early in the third quarter. After a first half marked by a shoot-early and shoot-often approach, the Riders came out with more patience after intermission. It paid dividends, as the home team scored 12 straight to forge a tie. Senior Alissa Haith gave the Riders their first lead of the night at 34-33, stealing a pass and driving the other way for a layup. That was the score heading into the fourth quarter.
The teams traded leads early in the final stanza, and CR’s Destiny Johnson tied the score at 40 with about 2:30 to go. Alexis Bromwell’s two free throws gave the lead back to St. Elizabeth, but Kylie Kornegay-Lucas leveled it again with the final two of her seven points with just under a minute remaining in regulation.
The Vikings held the ball for nearly 50 seconds, and the strategy appeared to pay off when senior Alanna Speaks connected on a long-distance baseline jumper to push the score to 45-42 St. Elizabeth with 6.8 seconds on the clock. Caesar Rodney called a timeout with 2.9 seconds to go, setting up an inbounds play for a chance to send the game to overtime. That’s exactly what happened when Brionna Brooks shook her defender, got free behind the arc, took the pass and swished her shot, setting off a celebration among the Rough Riders, the school’s student section.
In overtime, the teams were tied at 48 after a Bromwell free throw with 59 seconds to go. CR displayed the patient approach that marked its second half, holding on for a final shot. Reid was fouled attempting a go-ahead field goal, setting up the final free throws. The Vikings’ last-second shot bounced off the rim, and the Riders picked up their fourth win of the season against no losses.
St. Elizabeth led, 24-14, following a chaotic first half. Speaks came out on fire for the Vikings, scoring the team’s first six points and eight in the quarter. It was 13-6 St. E, but CR scored the first four points of the second, taking advantage of missed shots and some careless possessions by the Vikings. St. Elizabeth responded with a seven-point run, including a slick reverse layup from freshman Julie McCarron, then an Alexis Lee layup off the dish from McCarron. Speaks had a free throw, then Vikings freshman Sha’Nia “Tink” Davis scored her first points for St. Elizabeth on a layup.
Brooks led the Riders with 14 points, including three three-pointers, and Haith added 12, all in the second half. CR remains at home to play Smyrna on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
Speaks paced St. Elizabeth (0-1) with 16 points, and Lee had 11. The Vikings, whose first three opponents are from the Henlopen North, will have their home opener on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.