Lady Ravens overcome early deficit against Dover, move to 8-0 on the season

GEORGETOWN – With a victory over Dover High Friday night, the Sussex Tech girls’ basketball squad remained unbeaten and in control of the Henlopen North with an 8-0 record.

When the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read 48-34 in Tech’s favor but sometimes the scoreboard doesn’t tell the full story.

“It’s great to play well and win, but sometimes it’s better to not play your best and still win, so I’ll take it,” said head coach Justin Davis following the game. “I think we had a little bit more depth tonight, and I think that might have been the difference.”

Dover (3-6) forced turnovers, battled for rebounds and knocked down shots throughout the first half of play, tying the game 12-12 at the end of the first quarter and jumping ahead by as many as seven points in the second quarter.

Head coach Justin Davis and the Lady Ravens gather during a timeout in Friday night’s 48-34 win over Dover (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“They’re playing better as of late,” coach Davis said of Dover. “They beat Cape – at Cape – in overtime Tuesday, so we knew we were going to get their best version. The first time we played them was the first game of the season and we dominated the first half, and they dominated the second half.”

This time around, it was the Lady Senators who dominated for much of the first half in the Henlopen North tilt.

“The speed we normally play at wasn’t there in the first quarter,” coach Davis said.

The momentum slowly started to shift towards the end of the opening half as Tech scored five unanswered points to knot the game 21-21 just before halftime.

Junior guard Arnaisa Taylor recorded the final three points of the half for Tech, including a put-back lay-up as the buzzer sounded.

“What we said at halftime is we did a lot of things – negative things – that we don’t normally do, and yet we’re still tied,” coach Davis said. “So it’s a good feeling, to know we can fix those things but we’re not going into halftime down five or six. We’re right where we started, and that was big.”

Forty seconds into the third quarter, junior Mi’Cah Shelton landed a two-point shot to give Tech the team’s first lead since the end of the first quarter.

Senior Aliyah Browning (5) guards Dover’s Tamya Jones during Friday night’s Henlopen North battle (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Tech out-scored Dover 27-13 in the second half, including a 14-5 run in the fourth quarter, to complete the comeback and preserve the unbeaten record.

Junior forward Janiya Stevens dropped a game-high 13 points, while junior guard Airelle Parker added another 12 points for Tech.

Seven of Tech’s eight wins have been by 10 or more points this season, and coach Davis believes the team’s depth and chemistry can be credited for much of the success.

“We can only start five at a time, but we have seven or eight who should really be starters in the Henlopen North,” he said. “We have two seniors who come off the bench – Aliyah Browning and Lakendra Harpe – who bring energy and know how we want to play every game. For them to come off the bench and do that, it’s incredibly unselfish. They’re both still voted captains by their teammates, but for them to come off the bench and be dedicated to bring energy when they come in, we’re really proud of that.”

Guard Airelle Parker agrees, adding that the team typically experiences a smooth transition when reserves enter the game.

“The depth on our bench helps us a lot because when the starters come out, they will go in and put up points and get stops on defense and it’s really not a change. It’s just a change in players, our pace stays the same,” she said following Friday’s come-from-behind victory.

At 8-0, it’s easy for high school-aged players to begin looking ahead rather than focusing on the game in front of them. That’s not something the Lady Ravens plan to fall victim to this season.

Sussex Tech will host cross-town rival Sussex Central (4-5) Monday, Jan. 15 at 7:15 p.m.

“We’re just going to take it one game at a time, next it’s Central,” Parker said.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at

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