Indians storm back, fall at end

After jumping out to a 2-1 record in the Henlopen South’s standings, the Indian River Indians varsity basketball team has cooled off. The team took a 75-62 pasting by the Nandua Warriors on Dec. 19.

The Warriors held a 12-point lead at halftime, which the Indians cut to 1 after out-scoring Nandua 23-12 in the third quarter. But they weren’t able to gut out their third straight victory.

Indian River head coach Pat Kelly cited his team’s inability to get back on defense and make stops late in the game in the Indians loss Tuesday night.

“We came out and didn’t defend in the fourth quarter, and they turned the corner,” Kelly said. “We got beat down the court and gave up too much.”

“We didn’t deserve to win,” Kelly added.

Drew Gibbons led the Indians with 19 points on what was a “poor shooting night” according to Kelly. He was followed by Jeremy Purnell, who finished with 14 points — about his average — but who failed to rebound or provide a physical presence in the paint.

Warriors forward Charon Grimes led all scorers with 26 points and was one of three Nanuda players to score 15 points or more.

“Grimes beat us up and down the floor, and did a good job finishing around the basket,” Kelly said.

Indian River was set to return to conference play on the road against the Laurel Bulldogs on Dec. 21 before kicking off their Mason-Dixon Cup Christmas Tournament at the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury against James M. Bennett High School on Dec. 27 at noon.

If Indian River defeats Bennett, then they would play the winner of the Mardela-Delmar game in the Cup Championship 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 30 at Wicomico Civic Center. If they lose their opening round game, then they would play the consolation game at noon at the same place and date.

Admission costs $6 for the whole day.

In addition to the Mason-Dixon Cup, the Wicomico Civic Center will also host five other similar tournaments with teams from the Washington-D.C.-Metropolitan area, Delaware and the Eastern Shore.

Dover and Sussex Tech are playing Fredrick Douglass High (Prince Georges County, Md.) and Parkside High (Salisbury) for the Salisbury Cup.

Dover will play Douglass at 3 p.m. on Dec. 27 and Sussex Tech will play Parkside at 9 p.m. that evening.