It was a special day for Indian River High School interim girls’ basketball head coach Paul Weisengoff when the Indians took on Stephen Decatur on Friday, Feb. 12. That was not so much because he was filling in for head coach Donna Polk for the game — as the head-coaching veteran has plenty of experience of his own — but because, on both sides of the ball, Weisengoff had previously coached throughout their basketball careers a number of the players out on the court.
“It was a great experience, on a personal basis, to be able to see those kids again and actually coach against some of them. That was a really great experience,” he said after the game. “They’re good kids and they want to do well and they want to succeed. That’s what makes this all worthwhile.”
But with two very different teams this season, Weisengoff was one of the only common denominators on the day, which showed when Decatur got off to a hot start and eventually sealed a 61-20 win behind a senior-led squad and 31-point performance from senior guard Dayona Godwin.
“She’s a basketball player. We know she’s a basketball player,” Weisengoff said of Godwin, who’s knocking on the door of eclipsing 2,000 career points. “Deyona ties the package together for them. That’s what makes them so hard to play against.”
To try to contain the Seahawks’ leading scorer, Weisengoff implemented a box-in-one defense, hoping to limit her touches. However, with the Indians in somewhat of a rebuilding year and with a young squad, Godwin and the Seahawks continued finding ways to put up points.
“We tried to play a box-in-one against her, to try to deny her the ball as much as possible,” he explained. “But she’s so smart and she’s such a savvy ballplayer that, even with that, she’s able to overcome and get her points. She should be commended for that. It’s tough to play against a kid that’s that good.”
The game also served as a reunion of sorts for some of Weisengoff’s former players, including IR’s Kealey Allison and Decatur’s Chloe Sass.
“Kealey Allison and Chloe Sass both actually played for me when I was coach at Most Blessed Sacrament,” Weisengoff said. “Kelley was the point guard, and Chloe was the two-guard. We were pretty successful for three years with them together. This was like the first time they’ve really played basketball against each other. I know they’ve both played lacrosse against each other.”
Godwin was far and away the Seahawks’ leading scorer on the night, with Rachel Florek and Lexie Vankirk each putting nine points of their own, and Amaya Mumford tallying six. Scoring-wise the Indians were led by sophomore guard Fabrea McCray, with six-points, freshman center Julia Jordan with four, and junior guard Maddie McGee and sophomore guard Trayona Nock, each putting up three points.
After the game, Decatur needed a win against Parkside High School (Salisbury, Md.) on Thursday, Feb. 18, (after Coastal Point press time) to clinch the Bayside South division. For their part, Weisengoff said the Indians will use the game as a learning experience and that, at this point in the season, the squad knows what to take from it.
On Friday, Feb. 19, the Indians will gear up for their final home game against Laurel, at 7 p.m., before hitting the road for their final game of the season against the Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 22.