Cousins do battle on court

The Indian River girls’ basketball team can go toe-to-toe with any team in half-court offense. They have the athletes to penetrate the lane for scoring opportunities and to thwart half-court offenses. But they still have to learn to play all facets of the game.

The Lady Indians basketball team learned this lesson following a 54-34 loss to Lake Forest on Feb. 3, after trailing only 22-18 at the half.

Lake Forest had lost the previous three match-ups, dating back to last season, but this game would be different. Lady Spartan Herbie Rayne, cousin of Lady Indian guard Charne Rayne, dumped 26 points on Indian River in Lake Forest’s winning effort.

The girls don’t have many opportunities to play each other, except at family reunions. But when they do, it sparks a friendly rivalry.

“As a joke, she (Herbie) bumped me before the game and said that there was no way that we (Indian River) would win the game,” said Charne Rayne.

A little humor was just what Charne Rayne needed right about then, because she had forgotten her jersey and would have had to wear another number if her mother couldn’t get to the game in time.

“I was a little stressed, but my mom got here three minutes before the (pre-game) clock ran out,” said Charne Rayne. “Herbie rarely catches an attitude and she’s good in the box and never puts her head down. She’s improved a lot because she wants to make states. Hopefully, I can spend some time with her over the summer.”

Charne Rayne and her teammates experienced first-hand what a skilled and determined athlete like Herbie Rayne can do.

The Lady Spartans started the second half with a full-court press and never stopped. Herbie Rayne looked more like a defensive back than a power forward and snagged six of her team’s 12 second-half steals to convert them into easy baskets. Charne Rayne was right: her cousin never puts her head down — because she added six assists as well.

Lake Forest maintained a 46 percent field goal percentage (15-32), in contrast to Indian River’s paltry 5-21 and 6-13 from the free-throw line. The Lady Spartans scored in transition so easily that they only shot three free throws in the second half.

Indian River could’ve averted turnovers on a few occasions, had the player receiving the in-bounds pass dribbled across the mid-court line to draw out their defenders. Instead, the Lady Indians attempted to make long passes without ever taking a dribble. Still, the Lady Indians had 12 fourth-quarter scoring opportunities, compared to Lake Forest’s 16, and actually tallied one more offensive rebound. But they couldn’t muster any more offense.

Kiarra Graves led the Lady Indians with eight points and six steals. Marnisha Butler added seven points, including a three-pointer. Sam Petrak scored six points and reeled in 11 rebounds while fellow forward Jasmin Holden added eight boards but no points.

The Lady Indians will look for their second win when they travel to Woodbridge on Feb. 10.