The high school basketball season is a long one, filled with ups and downs for even the best of teams.
Nearly halfway through their regular season schedule, the Sussex Central girls’ basketball squad hopes to enter the second half playing like they were at the beginning of the season.
With so much talent in the Henlopen Conference, a slump can turn into a losing streak in a blink of an eye, something the Lady Golden Knights are trying to avoid. Since beginning the season 3-1, Central had lost three of their last four games to begin the week, bringing their record to 4-4 overall.
Sussex Central opened the year with a two-point loss to Caesar Rodney, but went on to win three straight games against Cape Henlopen, Smyrna and Dover, all by double-digits.
However, since the good start, the Lady Golden Knights have dropped games against Conrad, St. Thomas More and Polytech, with their lone win over that stretch coming against Laurel at the Pat Borowski Tournament at Lake Forest High School.
Taking away the win over Laurel and a five-point loss to St. Thomas More, Sussex Central fell to both Conrad and most recently against Polytech, both by double-digits.
Sometimes all a struggling team needs to turn things around is an equally struggling team, topped with a pinch of revenge.
On Friday, Sussex Central will get a chance to accomplish both when they host the Lady Riders from Caesar Rodney, looking to get back in the win column while also avenging their season opening loss to CR.
Like the Lady Golden Knights, Caesar Rodney comes into Friday’s contest looking to snap out of a rough stretch of losses.
CR opened the year winning three in a row, but since then they’ve dropped four of five, losing to St. Elizabeth, Caravel Academy, Red Bank Catholic (NJ) and Howard before breaking a four game slide last week against Smyrna.
With a win, not only will Central move above .500, but their conference record would improve to 5-2, with previous wins over conference opponents, Cape Henlopen, Smyrna, Dover and Laurel.
Led by juniors Ambria Stratton, Raeonna Stratton, sophomore Tameeyah Bowden and senior Baleigh Lambert, the Lady Golden Knights look to come away with a big win over CR Friday night, especially with a number of conference games remaining.
Down the stretch, Central will face off against conference opponents in seven of their last 10 games, including contests against Sussex Tech (Twice), Cape Henlopen, Smyrna, Dover, Polytech and Woodbridge.
Despite the recent struggles, Head Coach Ron Dukes believes his team is ready for the stretch run.
“They’ve been working hard on the defensive end with communication and intensity,” Dukes said. “We’ll see how it pans out when we [take on] CR [Thursday].”
The Lady Golden Knights and Lady Riders will hit the hardwood Friday night starting at 6:15 p.m.