The 2018-2019 high school basketball season is right around the corner, and the Caesar Rodney Riders started their season in style with Blue Gold Madness last week.

“Blue Gold Madness is our version of Midnight Madness,” said Caesar Rodney boys basketball coach Freeman Williams. “It’s a way for our school and community to kick off basketball season for our boys and girls basketball teams.”

A pep rally of sorts, Caesar Rodney created the event not only as a springboard toward regular season, but also to get everyone involved, from players and coaches, to the student body, to alumni who still bleed blue and gold.

Williams and his squad look forward to it each season.

“It’s grown over the years. This will be our third year,” Williams said. “Having that kind of support means a lot. We appreciate the support. Our district and community shows our Rider pride in many different ways. The enthusiasm and support of Blue Gold Madness is another example of our Rider pride.”

Both teams head into the new season looking to take a step forward after successful seasons a year ago. Each reached the second round of their respective state tournaments.

Sitting at .500 at the midway point, the Lady Riders went on a second half tear, winning nine of their last 10 games, finishing 13-7 overall to earn a spot in the tournament, where they’d earn a first round victory over Delmarva Christian before being eliminated by Sanford.

Meanwhile, the boys went 8-2 over their first 10 games last year and navigated their way through a tough second half schedule to finish 13-7. CR went on to defeat a tough Appoquinimink team in the tournament opening round before falling to William Penn in the second round.

With some roster decisions still to be made ahead of their season openers at the end of November, Blue Gold Madness is a chance for those earning spots on varsity rosters to showcase their skills and show appreciation for the school and community support they’ll be seeing throughout the upcoming year.

Williams says events like this have a huge effect on the team.

“It’s very important to have a team that bonds together on and off the court,” Williams said. “Our theme for the season is ‘Together.’ We’re always looking for opportunities to grow and strengthen our chemistry so we are one family.”

These days, sports are a year-round effort. At Caesar Rodney, team building began months ago.

“In the off-season our players attended team camp at West Virginia University, played summer league, fall league and also found time to coach youth basketball camps in the summer and youth basketball clinics in the fall,” Williams said. “During our season, we’ll continue to grow and build a team that enjoys competing and supporting each other.”

The boys also have this year’s Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament to look forward to. They were recently named one of the four teams from Delaware, joining CR’s Special Olympics Unified team in the event.

Both teams open their regular season schedules Friday, Nov. 30 at 6:15 p.m. against Sussex Central; the boys will host the Golden Knights at home, while the Lady Riders will travel to Georgetown.