Basketball is back at Caesar Rodney, Dover, Lake Forest and Polytech. Here's a look at what's
in store for the season.

Caesar Rodney Riders

The Riders ended last season 13-7, reaching the second round of the DIAA boys basketball tournament. With a few returnees and several newcomers, CR hopes to once again be one of the Henlopen Conference standout teams.

“We want to be a team that plays hard and plays with passion,” said Caesar Rodney head coach Freeman Williams. “We want a defensive minded team that takes pride in competing each possession.”

CR brings back four players, seniors Shaft Clark, Jaden Corbett, Zayquan Eaton and junior Syed Myles. Several players are making the jump from JV, including William Scott, Elijah Booker, Kamal Marvel, Jackson Phillips. Brycen Williams makes the leap from the freshman squad.

“We have a few strengths that we need to continue to fine tune,” Williams said. “At this point, we like our depth, our team speed, our versatility and our size.”

The Riders go against Sussex Central to open their season at home at 6:15 p.m.

Dover Senators

Like the Riders, the Senators were a tournament team a season ago. Despite finishing below .500, Dover qualified for the postseason and advanced to the second round after a big first round win over Wilmington Friends.

Dover navigated a tough schedule last season, finding ways to put together winning streaks after being swept by conference standouts Caesar Rodney, Smyrna and Sussex Tech.

This year, the Senators have five returning: seniors Mohamed Conde and Eric White, along with juniors Elijah Allen, Eden Davis and Brendan Parker.

With experienced players back, the Senators hope to ride last season’s momentum, when they won five of their last seven regular season games. They had a 10-point playoff win over Friends before falling to Salesianum by just four points.

The Senators open their season Friday, hosting Sussex Tech at 7 p.m.

Lake Forest Spartans

Another playoff team from the Henlopen Conference, Lake Forest, is fresh off a 14-6 finish. The Spartans were a Henlopen South standout, just behind Woodbridge for the division title.

The Spartans are looking to shake off the rust.

“We need our guys healthy, some are banged up from football, others were off this fall, all of them are trying to work themselves into better basketball shape,” said Lake Forest head coach Mike Starkey. “We want a gritty, hard-working group that plays together well. We’re pretty athletic, and think we can play fast this year. We want a defensive-minded group that likes to press and get after it every possession.”

The Spartans have five players back, including seniors Javon Gibbs, Ja-Juan Reid, junior Jaysem Vazquez and sophomores Kaheim Kimbrough-Roach and Nakiem Scott.

“We’re young, but talented and athletic,” Starkey said. “In order to reach our goals and have a great season, our strengths have to include defending with great energy, being tough enough to rebound with bigger, stronger teams and shooting good shots. Those are the areas we emphasize and put our time into, so those need to be our strengths.”

Lake Forest opens Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Sussex Academy at 6:15 p.m.; the Spartans open their home schedule two days later, Thursday, Dec. 6 against Delmar at 6:15 p.m.

Polytech Panthers

The Panthers had a down season a year ago, finishing 3-17.

Polytech brings back eight players, including seniors Cameron Frazier, Lathan Notice, Brandin Obidike, Zechariah Waters and Keshon Weems, along with juniors Christian Cote, Anthony Ellingsworth-Conde and Phillips Lake.

Panthers making the jump from JV are Jairus Mullen, James Marvel and Stone Seip.

With familiar faces and an underdog mentality, head coach John Pierce hopes to see a competitive team take the court for their opener.

“I would like a team that takes chances and plays hard for 32 minutes,” Pierce said. “The strength [of our team] will be team unity.”

The Panthers host Caesar Rodney at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4.