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Cape player charged in basketball melee

February 23, 2018

A starter on the Cape Henlopen boys’ top-ranked basketball team faces charges following a fight that broke out Feb. 22 during the Henlopen North Conference Championship.

The fight started in the fourth quarter of the game with about four minutes left in play. Officials called the game, which Smyrna won 61-34.

“We are extremely concerned and disappointed in the environment at last night’s basketball game as well as the ensuing altercation,” said Superintendent Robert Fulton in a prepared statement. “We are committed to addressing negative actions involving any of our students/athletes. We are also committed to working with others to determine what can be done differently in the future so that last night’s events are not repeated. We are currently investigating all aspects of the incident to determine any disciplinary consequences and/or outcomes.” 

Fulton said the district will follow its regular displinary process. He would not speak about specific players. Neither would Cape Henlopen High School Principal Nikki Miller. “I’m not at liberty to talk about the specifics about particular students,” she said.

On Feb. 23, Randy Rickards, 18, turned himself in to Milford police and was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct. He was released on $1,000 unsecured bond. 

Video of the fight shows a player punching a spectator who returns the blow. Police handcuff the spectator and while he is on the floor, a Cape player kicks him in the face. Cape Henlopen boys’ basketball coach Steven Re was interviewed complaining about hecklers in the stands throughout the whole game. Re also said spectators sat directly behind Cape players and harassed them.

Cape Henlopen school board Vice President Jessica Tyndall said it was a bad situation.

“I am a firm believer that you are responsible for your actions and words; however, everyone has their breaking point. Our basketball team endured a tremendous amount of harassment and I’m disappointed that more action was not taken by officials to remove these tormentors. The scenario that unfolded at the basketball game was unfortunate and I’m heartbroken for the entire team,” she said.

Milford Police Detective Timothy Maloney said there were four uniformed Milford police at the game and one in plain clothes. There was also a plain-clothed Delaware State Police officer in attendance, he said.

After the fight began with about four minutes left in the game, Maloney said four more Milford police responded to the gym.

Cape Henlopen is the No. 1 seed in the upcoming boys’ state basketball tournament.