Junior forward Travis Irving tallied 21 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks as he led the Indian River boys’ basketball team past Dover High, 97-65, Feb. 15.
Irving seemed to be reading the ball’s mind as he disrupted passing lanes, altered shot attempts and corralled big rebounds in what looked like poetry in motion.
“Travis is our best defender. I can put him on their best player,” said head coach Pat Kelly. Irving contained Dover’s oversized big man Anthony Parham to just 2 points in the contest.
“Coach Kelly told me to front him and it worked,” said Irving.
Irving’s playmaking ability started an offensive avalanche as all five of the Indians starters posted double digit scoring in the victory over Dover. Senior guards Jeremy Sturgis and Larry Bailey scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, with 5 boards apiece. Senior point guard Therman Hagans swarmed the passing lanes to create fast break opportunities while chipping in with 10 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. Reserve guard Stephon Phillips came off the bench to plunk down another 7 points on the already-weary Dover squad.
Freshman center Jeremy Purnell held down the interior, having his best shooting performance of the year, scoring 14 points while shooting 6-11 from the floor. Purnell displayed a softer touch shooting the ball in near the bucket.
Purnell must have watched an old Magic Johnson tape before the game because he pushed the ball up the floor after collecting each of his 4 steals, only to lose it or botch the dunk.
“I kept losing my grip,” said Purnell. Regardless, Purnell’s presence was felt in the lane, as he pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked 4 shots.
The Indians defense allowed Dover’s top scorer Dale Smith to slice through the lane for 17 points.
“Defensively we need to move our feet better,” said Kelly. To better account for Dover’s penetration in the lane, Kelly mixed up his defense in hopes to slow them down.
“We just switched up our zones and they weren’t able to hit their perimeter shots,” said Kelly. “It also helped that #50 (Parham) picked up three early fouls. He could be one of the best big men in the state.”
Indian River’s two blowout victories over Dover and Woodbridge boost the Indians record to 13-6 overall and 6-4 in the southern conference. Indian River will host Laurel at 6 p.m., Feb. 18 in hopes to sweep the season series. Laurel posts a humble 7-10 overall record, but has proven that they too can score a bunch of points, unlike in their loss to Indian River earlier in the season.
Laurel averages 70 points per game this season, but has increased that to 75.6 PPG over the last six games, compared to Indian River’s 69 PPG. “If we play like we did tonight (vs. Dover) then we can beat Laurel,” said Irving.
The season finale matches the Indians against the dismal 0-17 Delmar Wildcats, Feb 22.