One of my first summer jobs ever was selling hotdogs on the beach in Fenwick. It was great. I got to take skim breaks, eat free hotdogs, and even call out when the waves were good, because the owners were pretty cool. Plus, I was really good at it. I only wish I could be half as good of a writer as I was a hotdog salesman.
Indian River High School’s basketball team saw a new scorer emerge in their 65-57 non-conference win against Stephen Decatur last Saturday, as junior guard KiAnté Sturgis racked up 20 points in the matchup — outscoring his older brother, senior point guard Kei Juan Major and his total of 18, for the first time this season.
“We had a mid-season meeting. I brought in every player individually and I talked about roles,” explained head coach Mike Fabber. “Tay’s our engine. Kei Juan — team’s are gonna focus on he’s the man, but Tay’s our engine. Basketball’s a big enough game where you can have three stars. You can have three guys that are ‘go-to guys’ that can lead teams. I think he’s embraced his role and, obviously, you can see tonight it worked.”
“I gotta give it to him. He showed up,” said Major of his younger brother’s performance. “When I was down first quarter and I wasn’t making nothing, he took a big step up, took my position in the game.”
After junior center DeAndre Cooper drained a first-quarter three-pointer to put the Indians up 9-8, they never trailed in the game again, putting together several lopsided runs, and at one point leading 50-27.
“The second half was a real slow-pace game. Decatur had a really good game plan in the second half to slow us down,” explained Fabber of how the Seahawks got back in the game late. “We’re a fast-paced team. The more you slow us down, the more likely the other team’s gonna have an advantage. Luckily enough, we had enough comfort zone. Decatur played real hard. Give a lot of credit to them.”
The Indian River High School girls’ basketball team had struggled to find a new identity after losing the senior leadership of forwards Maggie Allison and Faythe Wise, who suffered season-ending yet minor injuries against Delmarva Christian on Jan. 17. However, after a 74-25 loss against Stephen Decatur last Saturday, the Lady Indians bounced back in a big way with a 51-42 division win against Laurel on Tuesday night.
“We’re just trying to push forward,” said senior point guard Taylor Billinger. “Definitely from Faythe we’re missing really great rebounding, and then Maggie is just great with handling the ball and she can play post, too.”
After leading 11-4 after the first quarter and 25-14 at the half, the girls jumped out to a nearly 20-point lead in the third quarter before Laurel began to mount a late comeback.
“We had a great advantage in playing a full-court man,” explained head coach Matt Mayette. “We went to a half-court man. If we’re not being aggressive and trying to get steals, sometimes we don’t do a good job of closing up the middle. We need to work on getting off our man. We’re getting better at it, though.”
There was a little more pep on the sidelines of Indian River High School football games last fall, thanks to head cheerleading coach Caitlyn Donofrio. And now she’s bringing that energy, and her squad, to the competitive level.
It had been two years since the school participated at cheer preliminaries, but despite their lack of experience as a squad, they not only placed second at the competition at Lake Forest High School on Jan. 18, but did it again last Sunday, Jan. 25, at St. Mark’s in Wilmington, qualifying for states in March.
“They are so proud of themselves, and I’m very proud of them, as well,” said Donofrio of the achievement. “It just shows that our hard work pays off.”
While they may have placed in the same position at both of the recent competitions, Donofrio said that her squad appeared more confident the second time around, which allowed them to try some different stunts and a more advanced routine.
Break out those regulation beanbags, because the Indian River High School football and baseball boosters are hosting their first annual cornhole tournament next Saturday, Feb. 7.
And on a Monday, the Indian River School District school board said, “Let there be lax.”
For many, a girls’ lacrosse program at Indian River High School has been a long time coming, but at last Monday’s school board meeting, those advocating for the sport finally got it done.
“I’m definitely excited. I knew Indian River didn’t have it when I started here,” said Indian River freshman and lifelong “laxer” Kealey Allison. “I’ve been really nervous. I’ve played lacrosse since I was little. I didn’t know what I was going to do in the spring.”
“It’s really cool. I’m just so happy to try something new,” added senior Taylor Billinger, who has been playing with the school’s former lacrosse club. “It was just great to hear that it passed. Finally, I get to do something in the spring and not be bored.”
Before you say anything about how “Pro Bore” when referring to the Pro Bowl isn’t my best work when it comes to wordplay — cut me some slack, I just got over the flu.
It starts with the numbers: 39 years of coaching with the Indian River High School football program. A 31-14 record during his four-year career as head coach at the high school. Three Henlopen South titles and three DIAA playoff appearances as head coach. One Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year award, one State Coach of the Year award, one Tubby Raymond Outstanding Coach of the Year award, and, most importantly, a 2011 DIAA state championship.
When looking at it, long-tenured Indians’ football coach Ray Steele’s résumé seems to be, well... set in steel. But after all the accolades and achievements, the wins, the losses and a lifetime dedicated to coaching, Steele announced last month that he’ll be hanging it up and letting someone else begin their own legacy at Indian River.
“I thought this was probably as good a time as any,” said Steele of his decision — “39 years, I think it’s time to go sit in the stands and enjoy it.”
The Indian River High School basketball team has been plagued by last-minute losses this season, but after snapping a two-game losing streak with a 70-61 victory against Lake Forest last Tuesday, the team is ready to put those close calls behind them. In fact, according to senior guard Shaquille Hall, their season is just beginning, as the division win marks the start of a new streak.
“That’s what we’re naming this comeback, ‘Start the streak,’” said Hall of the team’s mindset going forward.
“We’ve had a rough patch, and we lost some real close ones,” said head coach Mike Fabber. “Cape [Henlopen] was a four-point game with two minutes left. We didn’t score in minute 45, and they made every free throw, so the score didn’t show how the game was.”
Despite the strong finish, the Indians started Tuesday’s game slow, falling behind 12-2 before head coach Mike Fabber called an uncharacteristic first-quarter time-out.
“They came out sluggish, and I called a time-out, which I don’t like to do,” Fabber explained. “I try to save them for late-game situations if we need them. I think we were too hype. We were turning it over, missing easy shots.”
The Lady Indians missed a chance to better their playoff chances last Saturday, falling short against Delmarva Christian Academy in a tight game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
Down 4-0 in a low-scoring first quarter, Indian River High School senior point guard Taylor Billinger ended the drought by draining a shot from long-range, to make it 4-3. Billinger would eventually tie the game at 10, after nailing her second-three pointer of night, before DCA took off on a 8-0 run in the second quarter.
After tying the game at 18, freshman guard Keeley Allison drew a foul and went one-for-two from the line to give Indian River their first lead of the night. She would notch a steal and score on a fast break in the second half, right before pulling down a rebound and finding senior forward Tashara Houston under the net, to give the Lady Indians a 40-39 lead.
Indian River Cheer to compete in Wilmington
The Indian River High School competitive cheer team advanced from the preliminary competition held at Lake Forest High School last Sunday and will compete at another preliminary competition this Sunday at St. Marks High School in Wilmington at 10 a.m.
Tennis ability is runs deep for 10-year old Julianna Johnston. Her father, Sea Colony Tennis Director Thomas Johnston, was a three-time All-American at Pomona Pitzer College, as well as the University of Virginia Men’s Tennis Team.
That 2015 resolution can be a healthy one when people start their exercise routines to get ready to run or walk the annual Ten Sisters of Dewey Beach Run/Walk Series 2015, which will begin on May 25 and end with the 39th Bottle and Cork 10-mile run.