The Cape Henlopen girls' basketball team came back from a two-week break with a few new faces, but the end result was the same. The Vikings suffered their fourth loss in a row this season Jan. 4, falling 63-46 to Sussex Central at home.
“I'm disappointed that we lost the game, but I think we found a player in our freshman point guard Maddie Smith,” said coach Lamont Hazzard. “I think we're going to put together some wins now. That sounds weird coming off a 17-point loss to Central, but I think we found our rotation and we're going to start building from that.”
Hazzard said Smith joined the team over the holiday break. She transferred to Cape from Downingtown East High School in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She tallied seven points in her first game in a Vikings uniform.
Senior guard Emily Baptiste rejoined the team after being sidelined for several weeks with a wrist injury. She saw limited action in her first game back, scoring two points. Hazzard said her presence on the court will be an important factor in upcoming games.
“I think she favored her hand a lot [against Central],” he said. “It's going to be big [having her back]. We actually have someone who can knock down some jump shots. It's hard to win a basketball game when you only make two jumpers, but it's looking up.”
Despite the positive player news, it wasn't the start Hazzard and his team were hoping for coming off the break. The Golden Knights jumped out to a 15-2 lead to open the game. However, in the final 2:10 of the first quarter, Cape cut the deficit to seven points. By the tail end of the second quarter, the Vikings crept to within four points of Central, but the Knights went on a short run at the end of the period to get the lead back to eight points.
The second half started much like the first for Cape, as Central came out of the locker room to open the third quarter on a 13-2 run to bury the Vikings 17 points behind. Central built its lead to as many as 21 points before settling for the 17-point victory.
“We showed flashes of the good things that can happen, but we still made a lot of little mistakes. I think a lot of that is because of the chemistry,” Hazzard said.
Senior Kadijah Doughty led the way with 17 points despite fouling out of the game with 5:37 left in the fourth quarter. Doughty was away from the team on vacation for 10 days, and Hazzard said she'll only get better after she works the rust off.
Junior Alyssa Miller scored six points, and Madison MacElrevey and Alison Palmer each added five points.
Cape will travel to Caesar Rodney for a game at 7:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 8. The Riders are 4-5 this season, but beat Central by 8 points earlier this season. The Vikings will then travel to Dover Tuesday, Jan. 15, for a game against the Senators at 7:15 p.m. Dover is 2-5 so far this year.