Lady Indians grab another win to lead Henlopen South
A wintry mix last week may have put a damper on the Lady Indians’ varsity basketball schedule, postponing last Thursday’s game at Dover, but Indian River heated things back up on Tuesday, Dec. 21, when they pushed past Laurel, 60-36, keeping the team at a perfect 5-0 start for the year.
IR guard Destiny Blake helped to set the pace of the game and racked up 15 points, but it was forward Keeonya Shelton who stole the show, tying her season-high record of 28 points in the win.
“We knew we had to keep running up and down court,” said Blake. “We had to keep hustling. I knew that they’d pressure us, and if they threw two or three people at me, someone was going to be open.”
And for Blake and her teammates, Shelton was that someone throughout the game.
“To be honest,” said Blake, “I’m speechless with how she played today. I knew however I was able to get the ball to her, she was going to put it up there. They were coming at us tough, and we worked extra-hard to get it.”
“We’ve been working hard at practice and knew we had to come out strong in tonight’s game,” said Keeonya Shelton after the victory.
Indian River head coach John Frye said he knew that, in order to maintain an undefeated record against conference competition, he was going to have to set the tone for the game.
“We had to get out to an early start,” he said. “We put the pressure on them, and that was important – especially at home. We wanted to shut down their good ballplayers, and we did that.”
Junior Daneka Dixon tallied 19 points for the Bulldogs, and Alexis Hunt added 15 more, but the 28-8 margin that the Lady Indians put up in the first half alone would be an impossible one to overcome. In the second quarter, Laurel was held to only three points, while the Lady Indians could do no wrong. Chanel Handy finished the evening with eight points for the Lady Indians.
Frye was elated by Shelton’s performance, but, as he noted, it was not a big surprise.
“Keeonya has been on a roll,” he said. “She’s hit a hot streak. She seems to be running the court well, getting open and using the posts. It’s not surprising. This kind of play is not out of the norm for her. Teams we go up against are going to start focusing in on her, but that’s OK. Destiny brings the ball down the court, and when they pressure her, someone’s going to be open. [Keeonya] has had a solid start. She’s putting points together. No one could match up with her tonight.”
The Lady Indians sit atop the Henlopen South, with a perfect 5-0 record against division rivals this year. Preparation has been the key thus far, and with plenty of tough games ahead, it’s no time to slow down.
“The girls have really stepped up at practice,” said Frye. “The [postponed Dover game] gave us some time to work through our sets. We know what’s ahead of us, and we know what we’re getting into. If we had gone 0-5, our outlook would probably be different. We’re pleased to start the season on a strong note.”
Over the holiday break, the Lady Indians will face strong teams in Pocomoke and Stephen Decatur.
“From what I understand,” said Frye, “these teams are loaded, but I’m confident we’ll play alright.”
With an undefeated record to challenge, Indian River’s competition is going to bring their best game.
“We have a bull’s eye on us now,” Frye recognized. “From here, it’s all about being prepared. Fortunately, we have some of these games at home now. Lake Forest, Woodbridge and Polytech will be rematches at home. We still have another tough one with Seaford, too.
“We’ve just got to make sure we can handle the pressure that these teams bring against us. Some of these teams are running a lot tougher than what Laurel had. All we’ve got to do is get the ball up court and get back on defense.”
The Lady Indians will square off against Pocomoke on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 3 p.m. They’ll play again on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. at Stephen Decatur.