WILMINGTON — Caesar Rodney withstood a furious rally by Padua , then outscored the Pandas, 10-3, over the last three minutes in a 45-37 victory Jan. 27. MORE HERE.
The Riders came out blazing, shooting their way to a 17-2 lead after the first quarter. But it was a different ballgame beginning with the second stanza. As the Riders’ shooting cooled, the Pandas took advantage of their rebounding edge to begin to cut into the lead. Kylie Moor and Natalia Frabizzio went coast-to-coast on successive possessions early in the second to make it 17-6. After Teri Bell sored underneath for CR, Moor drained a corner three-pointer, and Grace Trerotola also hit a triple, and Padua trailed by just seven.
Padua was within four, but the Riders’ Stacey Deputy sank a third-chance shot to make it 24-18 at the half.
Caesar Rodney increased the lead to 26-19 early in the third on another Deputy layup before the Pandas made a move. Esosa Ediae, who had a strong game in the middle, hit a short jumper. Moore followed with a corner three, and Kate MacLennan worked a picturesque give-and-go with Frabizzio to score on a scoop shot to tie the score at 26.
Padua held CR off the scoreboard the next time down the court, but Aaliyah Smith poked the ball loose from a Panda and laid it in with three minutes remaining in the third. The Riders took a 30-28 lead into the fourth.
Bell picked up an easy bank shot, and Deputy added a twisting scoop shot as the lead reached six. Padua fought back to within two at 34-32 on a spin move by Abigail Hayes, but Deputy scored on a runner and another lefty scoop, pushing the lead back to a half-dozen.
Ediae grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with three minutes to go to cut the Riders’ lead to 38-34, but a technical foul on the Pandas gave CR a chance they used to their advantage. Erin Hirvela hit the two technical free throws. On the ensuing possession, Nubia Estwick — whose pair of three-pointers got the Riders going at the beginning of the game — went off glass, and Deputy converted an offensive rebound to extend the visitors’ lead to 10.
Deputy led all scorers with 15, while Estwick had 10 and played a smothering defense. The Riders improved to 6-4 and are back on the court Friday at home against Sussex Central at 4 p.m.
For the Pandas, Moor had 10 points, and Ediae added nine. Padua (7-7) is off until Feb. 5, when they meet Ursuline at noon in the SL24 UnLocke the Light Classic.
All photos by Mike Lang.