Gibbons pours in 34, gets noticed

Until Dec. 7, Drew Gibbons was an unknown quantity on Indian River’s varsity basketball team. But after he dumped 34 points on 14-19 shooting in a 57-46 win over the Lake Forest Spartans — including two three pointers and 10 rebounds for his first double-double as an Indian — it’s fair to say that Indian River’s fans know him now.

“After the game, I got phone calls from tons from people that I didn’t even know their names,” Gibbons explained.

Gibbons showed flashes of his ability during the Indians’ 70-61 season-opening loss to the Smyrna Eagles by hitting 3-5 from the field, including two three pointers, to finish with eight points. But in the end it wasn’t the kind of debut performance he wanted or the fans expected when the 6-foot, 4-inch swingman transferred from Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, Md., earlier this year.

“It was definitely good to get the monkey off my back,” he said. “People had said, ‘I hear you’re pretty good,’ because they see a tall white boy and because Maryland basketball is so respected. But I guess that comes with the territory.

“But I don’t listen to all that,” Gibbons added. “I just came out, played as hard as I could, took my time and didn’t force my shots. And it felt really smooth.”

“I was just lucky to be put in spots by Coach (Kelly) and I made sure I took advantage of them,” Gibbons continued.

It seemed from the first minute to the last Gibbons was in the zone offensively. He nailed two three-pointers from the corner, including the first basket of the first quarter, and missed only one shot in each of the first, third and fourth quarters.

He scored 14 (5-6 FG) in the first, six in the second, eight (4-5) in the third and had six (2-3) in the fourth, including nailing both of two free throws.

Gibbons also went 3-4 from the free-throw line on the night and played a little more than 30 minutes of the 32-minute game.

“I was good to see Drew step up,” Kelly said after the game. “But it was also good to see that he was able to play a lot of minutes because he needs to get in better shape.”

But with 1:16 remaining in regulation and the Indians’ first win nearly in hand, Kelly pulled Gibbons for the night. The Indian River faithful welcomed him as a new member of their basketball family with a rousing ovation.

“The fans here are great,” Gibbons said, “and I was glad that I could help the team win.”