Central nets season sweep of rival Sussex Tech

GEORGETOWN – Now that the girls’ basketball schedule is well beyond the halfway point, every game becomes very important for those teams hoping to end the season in the state tournament.

Included among those teams are the Sussex Central Lady Knights and the Sussex Tech Lady Ravens of the girls’ basketball court.

Sussex Central’s Tatyana Jenkins connects for two of her game-high 25 points to help lead the Lady Knights to a 51-39 win over rival Sussex Tech. (Special to the Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Sussex Central’s Tatyana Jenkins connects for two of her game-high 25 points to help lead the Lady Knights to a 51-39 win over rival Sussex Tech. (Special to the Sussex County Post/Bill Mitchell)

Heading into last Friday’s game at Sussex Central, both teams’ records were 7-5 and each – although near the bottom – would make the cut in the 24-team state playoff format.

Like the first meeting of the season between the two Georgetown rivals, which was won in overtime by the Lady Knights after they scored three points at the end of regulation to tie the game 47-47, Friday’s game appeared to be headed to the same exciting conclusion.

Central led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter and extended its lead to 23-19 at halftime.

The Lady Ravens looked to have the momentum at the start of the second half and pulled to within 29-27 with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter.

That, however, was as close as Sussex Tech would get because, following a timeout, Sussex Central outscored the Ravens 8-3 by the end of the third quarter to take a 37-29 lead into the final eight minutes of the game.

Sussex Tech outscored Central 5-1 over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to pull to within 38-34 and looked to be in positon for a come-from-behind victory.

The Lady Knights, however, secured the 51-39 win as they closed out the game with an 11-5 run.

Sussex Central was led by Tatyana Jenkins with a game-high 25 points while Emily Truitt chipped in with 12 points, including both of the Lady Knights’ three-point baskets.

Leading the scoring for Sussex Tech were Rukiya Davis with 15 points, including two three-point baskets, Kara Hignutt with seven points and Taryn Lewis with a three-point shot, which was her only points of the game.

Lady Ravens head coach Chester Davis was disappointed with the loss after coming into the game with high expectations of a win.

“We should have won the first game,” said Davis after his team’s overall record fell to 7-6. “The game was ours with 18 seconds left but we fouled (Truitt) and she made all three foul shots to send the game into overtime.

“We did make some mistakes at the wrong time in this game, but it was their seniors that stepped up and beat us. The have a veteran team that’s been in tight spots before while we are still a basically young team.”

One of the things Davis told his players following the game was how much better of a team they are compared to this time last season.

“I told them that, I know they are tired of hearing it, but we are closing the gap,” he said. “This time last year, it was a running clock with us trailing by at least 35 points.

“I also told them that we still have a shot at the state tournament but we are going to have to win the games we should win as well as pull out some wins in the others.”

The win, which upped its record to 8-5, will go a long way in helping Sussex Central make a run at both the Henlopen North title and a state playoff berth.

“Our schedule is strong enough to where we are going to get a lot of bonus points,” said head coach Ron Dukes. “I feel we should make it into the tournament, but our focus right now is on winning the Henlopen North.

“At this point, we are just one game behind CR and a lot of things can still happen because we still have four North games left including one at CR.”

Even though the Lady Knights have three seniors that start – Jenkins, Truitt and Walker, the latter of which scored nine points against Sussex Tech – Dukes stated they are somewhat of a young team.

“We weren’t as disciplined as I would like in this game,” he said. “But you have to realize we start two freshmen and the first two off the bench are a freshman and sophomore. So, we are really, really young when we go to our depth, which is something we haven’t had to deal with over the past several years.

“As long as we continue to play hard like we did in this game it will take us a little step higher every game.”

The Lady Knights hosted district rival Indian River Tuesday (results of the game were not available at press time) and have a home game against Polytech Thursday.

Sussex Tech travelled to Salisbury Christian Monday (results of the game were not available at press time) and will host Cape Henlopen Thursday.

Bill Mitchell can be reached at sussexpost@newszap.com

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