Lady Indians shoot past laurel as Blake inches toward record books
The Lady Indians’ varsity basketball team seems to have found their stride, picking up their sixth win out of their last eight games with a 56-44 victory over the Lady Bulldogs of Laurel this past Tuesday, Jan. 24. An early surge garnered Indian River some breathing room and allowed head coach John Frye to test his roster’s depth by rotating fresh legs onto the court, as well.
“The girls played a really good game,” said Frye. “The first half, especially, was excellent. We got out to a 36-11 lead, and that allowed us to give all the kids some playing time.”
Chanel Handy and Destiny Blake each put up 14 points for Indian River, as the Lady Indians improved to 8-5 on the year and 7-2 against Henlopen Conference competitors.
The key to the team’s recent success, though, has come from the defensive side of the ball, according to Frye.
“The girls are running off the ball with a purpose,” he said. “They’re making smart passes through the lanes and cutting down on turnovers, but it all comes off of the defensive end. Our girls have done a great job in transition, getting back on defense and bringing pressure to our opponent’s offense. Keiosha [Shelton] has been a big force for us on defense.”
Boxing out, grabbing steals and making blocks have resulted in turnovers, finished off with an Indian River score, allowing the Lady Indians to control the tempo of the game.
“This win keeps us a game behind Seaford,” said Frye. “They’re on a pretty good roll and won six of their last eight games. We just have to keep playing our game if we want to get the Henlopen South.”
While Seaford has brought some solid competition the past few years, Indian River has clinched the division title for the last two seasons and aimed to do it again as they faced Stephen Decatur on Thursday, Jan. 26 (after Coastal Point press time).
“Decatur will probably play us in a zone defense,” Frye observed, “so we’ll be focusing on our offense. We may need to tighten it up a little more. As long as we apply pressure to their guards, run the court and execute early on, we should be alright.”
After their road game this week, the Lady Indians will host their next five games in their own gym, where they are currently 3-1.
“You always look forward to playing games at home,” Frye said. “That’s where you practice each day. The team has to come to you. We look forward to it, especially so late in the year.”
The Indians’ offense is anchored by senior captain Destiny Blake, who is closing in on a milestone 1,000 career points. Prior to Thursday’s game at Stephen Decatur, she was 12 points shy, making for a feat that is easily attainable for the fourth-year starter, who has averaged double-digit point totals each game this year.
“I really think Destiny can get there this week,” said Frye, “if not in the Decatur game, then definitely against Delmar on Friday. She’s worked really hard to get there, and the whole team is very proud of her.”