While most non-cave-dwellers have already sprung forward, this week in “Tripple OT” we’re wintertime rewinding instead — which is definitely not because we forgot about the whole setting the clocks back thing until very early Sunday/very late Saturday, depending on how you look at it, and more so because a lot of noteworthy stuff happened this winter and spring sports are practically in full swing now.
But even those who forgot about daylight-saving time will remember when the Indian River High School swim team won their third straight division title, or when IR junior Zeke Marcozzi took third place on the mats at the state championships.
Just in case you actually have been living in a cave, here’s our Top 5 to round out the winter and add some potential catharsis for those still trying to figure out how to change that one clock on the microwave that I have, for some reason, never been able to figure out how to do.
(5) Throw-block Thursday
It was symbolic, kind of. On one side of the court was the future of IR basketball. On the other, was the past.
It’s no secret that the Indians could have used guard KiAnté Sturgis this season, after the former Green-and-Gold standout transferred to Sussex Central for his senior campaign. It’s also no secret that, to fill the void, head coach B.J. Joseph had to look to his freshmen more than he probably should have.
Freshmen like point guard Jamier Felton and forward Antonio Jones stepped up for the Indians all season, but in the matchup at Central last month, Jones silenced the crowd with a big-time block on Sturgis. The Golden Knights may have won the game, but the symbolic block makes a new era of IR hoops look promising.
Plus, the shot that Point photographer Shaun Lambert snapped makes this memorable moment even more… memorable, which he was able to do since he was actually shooting the game instead of, like, the scoreboard at abstract angles or whatever weird artist thing that “Point photographer” Chris Clark was doing at the time.
(4) Air Jordan (Air Julia Jordan)
Under first-year head coach Donna Polk, the Indian River High School girls’ basketball team was, to say the least, young. But while 2015-2016 was in many ways a rebuilding year, the team’s underclass talent got some valuable court time and set the bar for next season, when the Indians will actually have a few seniors out there.
One of those underclassmen was freshman Julia Jordan — who, at 6 feet tall, gave the Indians some much-needed size at center this season and broke out in a game against Woodbridge on Jan. 19.
Somewhat ironically, or perhaps completely un-ironically, depending on how you look at it, Jordan’s big game came against Woodbridge and All-State senior center Altia Anderson. Despite the challenge, Jordan posted her first double-double, while at the same time helping hold Anderson to only 12 points on the night.
“It was a good test for Julia as a freshman. She accepted the challenge, and I was pretty proud of her,” said Polk after the game. “She did a good job of applying the pressure. Offensively, she stepped up big when we needed her to.”
Did we mention she wears No. 23?
(3) Fantastic 400
They call them “the Fantastic Four.” Actually, let me rephrase that. I call them “the Fantastic Four.” Actually, let me rephrase that. I just started calling them “the Fantastic Four” like five seconds ago, but everyone else should, too, because while the movie may have flopped at the box office this summer, there was no flopping in the pool this winter when the relay team of senior Lauren McCoy and juniors McKenna Burke, Lindsey Grow and Erin Haden took the blocks.
One of the more fantastic performances came in the 400 at Milford in January. Despite a half-lap lead on the Bucs, the girls found themselves swimming like the race was neck-and-neck as they aimed to set a new school record in front of the group of lively teammates gathering at the end of their lane.
“We were ahead by like a 25. We almost lapped the people that were in second place, but we were just going so hard,” said Haden. “We looked up at the scoreboard, and it took us a while. We kind of looked over to [Coach] Colin [Crandel] to ask, ‘Is this a record?’ It took a few minutes, and once we figured it out, we started freaking out.”
Next year, the group will look more like the Fantastic Three, with McCoy graduating this spring, but they should be able to find a fourth amongst some talented underclassmen ready to step up.
(2) Heavyweight takes the cake
Like there was in the pool, there were plenty of memorable moments for the Indians this season on the mats as well: Mitchell Bolton getting the fall on senior night. Jared Arlett’s body-slam on Sussex Central’s Tyler Malone. Zeke Marcozzi taking third at states for the second year in a row. The list goes on.
But former IR heavyweight Montez Purnell takes the cake with a serious pancake in what was just his second career duel-match ever. Against Laurel on Wednesday, Jan. 6, the score was tied 34-34 headed into the final bout at 285. Enter Purnell. It only took 40 seconds for the Indians’ big-man to pull off the pin against Laurel’s Preston Gravenor — not only sealing his match, but the division win for his squad as well.
“[Gravenor] was good, but when he turned on his back, there was nothing he could do,” Purnell said after the match. “When I got him on his back, I knew I had him. He wasn’t getting up.”
Unfortunately, Purnell’s wrestling career didn’t live on, but for IR wrestling fans, the moment certainly will.
(1) Sanders squeaks Weeks for Henlopen MVP
Everyone expected IR senior Mason Sanders to break the school record for the 50-freestyle and to take first place at conferences and, etc., etc., and so on. But even Sanders was surprised when, after doing all those expected things, he was crowned Henlopen Conference Outstanding Swimmer, instead of Cape Henlopen senior and 2015 HAC Outstanding Swimmer Jack Weeks.
“Jack Weeks has won it year after year. He puts up some Division I college times, but that shouldn’t take away from Mason’s effort,” said Crandel. “It was a coach vote, and that makes me all the more proud. I think the coaches recognized what he’s become. Apparently, he made an impression on them.”
Unfortunately, a certain Coastal Point reporter/photographer (there’s really no reason to name the exact one, exactly) had his camera battery die and he had to take the picture of Sanders getting the award with his iPhone. Even so, at least the shot still turned out better than one of Chris Clark’s experimental scoreboard photos.
Well, that’s a wrap for winter. Join me in three months, when we’re springing back and talking about home runs and hurdles instead of slam dunks and… well, slams on the mat and stuff. Now, if you’ll you’ll excuse me, I’ve got nine spring sports and like 90 more Chris Clark vacations to keep track of, in addition to a microwave clock to figure out.