After a 2-0 start to the season, the Sussex Central Golden Knights girls basketball squad fell for the third time in five games on Monday night, losing in a close one to Caesar Rodney 58-57.

Central nearly pulled off a come-from-behind victory over the Riders but fell just short as CR was able to keep just enough distance between them and the Golden Knights.

The contest started off well enough for the Golden Knights, busting out to an early eight point lead after one quarter of play. The Rider offense began to kick it into high gear in the second quarter outscoring the Golden Knights by six points to trail Central by just two at the break.

In the second half, led by Lexi Prillaman who finished with a game-high 24 points, the Rider offense continued to go to work keeping pace with the Golden Knights to head into the final stanza tied up.

Enter the final quarter tied up, the Rider offense pulled away eventually building a double-digit lead. However, Central fired back to bring the Rider lead down to just a possession in the game’s final moments but were unable to complete the late-game comeback.

“You have to play four quarters of defense and protect the ball,” said Sussex Central head coach Ron Dukes. “Same thing we have been having problems with in our other losses. We have to work to improve on these two areas. (It) doesn’t matter if it’s CR or the next opponent.”

Three Golden Knights finished in double-figures on Monday night, sophomore Emily Truitt led the way with a team-high 15, junior Taylor Pritchett finished with 14, while sophomore Lamesha Walker contributed 12 points in the loss.

The loss is the first for the Golden Knights within the Henlopen Conference after going 3-0 to start the year. Central now finds themselves even with CR at 4-3 on the season, trailing first-place Smyrna (4-1) in the Henlopen North division.

“I believe our schedule has been strong and we need to piece everything together into a game,” said Dukes. “We have proven we can score but we have to improve on the other end of the floor. This team is focused and will continue to progress as the season continues.”

Sussex Central now enters perhaps the most important part of their schedule as they’ll take on five conference opponents in their next six games including another date with the Riders in two weeks.

“We had control of the division prior to tonight,” said Dukes. “We allowed everyone back into the hunt so now we have to buckle down and prove we deserve to be champs. We cannot allow ourselves to have another let down, it’s focus, focus, focus.”

After a match up with Cape Henlopen on Tuesday after our press time, the Golden Knights return to the hardwood Friday taking on rival Sussex Tech.