Well, 62 hours of traveling, one broken board (thanks a lot, American Airlines), one gnarly scar from hitting the reef on my second day, and about 100 Bintangs later I’m right back in good old Sussex County and ready for basketball season.
The Indian River Indians’ Boys’ Basketball team kicked off the 2014-2015 season in what has become typical Indian River fashion— tons of excitement, aggressive defense and, of course, the dramatic finish in an 80-77 overtime victory against Lake Forest.
The Indians showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the Henlopen South in more ways than one, with the senior debut of Kei Juan “Skeeter” Major being one to remember and a depth-rich rotation put on display when four of the Indians key players fouled out and the younger players stepped up to help in the victory.
The game was big for both the Indians, opening their season, and the Spartans, already 0-1, and the atmosphere was reflective of an early season big game. Major, who flashed signs of brilliance with the ball in his hand last year, began the contest on a bit of a cold streak, but played through those early misses and keept his team as level as possible.
The Indians ended the first quarter down 16-13, but they were able to even the score up at 31 heading into the half, with Major scoring 10 of his 42 points in the second quarter to get his team started. Fellow senior Shaquille “Shaq” Hall and junior Kiante’ Sturgis each chipped in 8 points in the first half to help keep the score even.
Indian River kicked off the 2014-2015 girls’ basketball season with the Inaugural Indian River Tip-Off Classic, and a home victory against longtime-rival Delmar.
The Lady Indians won the game 30-26, led by Taylor Billinger’s 14 points, and moved to 1-0 in the Henlopen South.
Coach Mayette was pleased with his girls’ effort in the victory and spoke of how it feels to get the first win in the first game of the season.
“It feels fantastic,” said Mayett. “It’s nice that we’re way ahead of where we were last year — it’s a huge benefit to bring back some of the seniors and some great leadership, so it was a big advantage for us in that game.”
The Lady Indians played tough, hard-nosed defense, both in the paint and outside on the perimeter to force several key turnovers and secure the rivalry win.
“We really started to force a lot of turnovers and I think we took advantage of that, especially with our penetration and our looks,” said Mayette. “You know we’re not always looking to dribble through, but when we do look to dribble and penetrate good things start to happen, like it did in the second half.”
Much of that ballhandling was done by Billinger, who drew the double-, and sometimes triple-team, freeing her teammates.
“Billinger always stand out for us, you know she is just a lot of the times the best player on the floor and when she really applies herself, you know we have a great chance of winning,” Mayette said of his senior leader.
Tuesday night marked the beginning of the swimming season for the Indian River Indians, as both the boys’ and girls’ teams took on traditional powerhouse Cesar Rodney in Georgetown at Howard T. Ennis. Indian River had one of, if not the, best seasons in program history last season, however, they graduated several record-setting swimmers and needed to measure the new team against a formidable foe.
There were several bright spots for both Indian River teams, as they posted several state-qualifying times in the first meet of the year, came from behind in some races, and went stroke for stroke with some of the best swimmers in the state. But it was not enough, as the two Cesar Rodney squads came away with the victory and began their season 1-0 with the boys’ team winning 111-55, and the girls’ team winning 95-71.
Coach Colin Crandel was upbeat of his teams’ efforts and made it clear that although it is a swim “team,” the group results are not as important as individual times and improvement.
The 3rd Annual Camp Barnes Wrestling Classic will be held on Saturday, Dec. 27, at Sussex Central High School in Georgetown, with wrestling beginning at 9:30 a.m.
A major basketball tournament could boost community morale and business, an organizer told the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce. Slam Dunk to the Beach will be revived this December at Cape Henlopen High School, giving southern Delaware a taste of wintertime sports tourism.
Coach: Jeff Windish
Coach: Matt Mayette
Tournament: Yes, first round
Key Players: Maggie Allison, Faythe Wise, Patrina Bratton, Taylor Billinger
Coach: Mike Fabber
Tournament: Yes, second-round potential
Key Players: KiAnté Sturgis, Kei Juan Major, Da’Von Justice, Shaquille Hall, DeAndre Cooper
Coach: Colin Crandel
The Lady Indians, just like their male counterparts, had a tremendously successful season last year and should remain the top team to beat in the Henlopen South. Crandel has a ton of belief in this group of girls and thinks they could put up a few new records of their own.
Coach: Colin Crandel
The 2013-2014 Indian River High School boys’ basketball regular season ended on an extremely high note, as they played their best basketball when it counted most, down the stretch, and guaranteed their spot in the 2014 DIAA state tournament. The 2014-2015 Indians will look to repeat that success this season while aiming to bring back a Henlopen South Division title to the school and make a longer run in the 2015 tournament.
The key for this Indians team to maintain and build on the success of the past two years is to remain a tough opponent to defeat by playing a tenacious style of defense — quickly becoming the hallmark of the team — and a selfless style of offense, favoring the hot hand playing the smartest basketball.
The 2013-2014 regular season for the Indian River High School girls’ swim team was one of — if not the most — successful season in the program’s short history. The Lady Indians went 8-3 and had several personal bests in finishing at the individual state meets at the University of Delaware, and they ended the regular season on a six-meet winning streak.
The Indian River High School boys’ swimming program took huge strides last year, both in the conference and the state, only losing team meets to traditional powerhouses Cape Henlopen and Caesar Rodney. A strong core of record-setting seniors led the Indians into the upper-echelon of Henlopen Conference swimming and knocked on the door of the DIAA record books.