Boys epitomize coach's personality

Defense, hustle, positive attitude, rebounding, and more defense equal the recipe for Indian River boys’ varsity basketball head coach Pat Kelly.

“My teams will always pressure,” said Kelly. “We like to force our opponents into our tempo.”

Coach Kelly and his squad will need plenty of pressure as a plethora of the conferences leading scorers visit Indian River over the next few games.

Sussex Central, Indian River’s big rival, comes to town Friday to play ball at 6 p.m. This game marks the first time that guard Larry Bailey will play his former team since transferring from Central last year.

Indian River will have their hands full early next week when they play Sussex Tech and Caesar Rodney. Sussex Tech has two very capable scoring threats in Brandon Hudson and Tracy Jones, both of whom should match up well with Indian River’s Larry Bailey and Jeremy Sturgis.

“He (Hudson) really is getting back to being a complete player,” said Sussex Tech head coach Jerry Kobasa.

The next day coach Kelly’s varsity squad will hope to contain James Stratton, Avery Reid, and Josh Thorton, along with the rest of the top ranked Caesar Rodney team. Rather than travel to Caesar Rodney, Indian River will host the Riders at 7:30 p.m. due to a lack of gym readiness.

“To win we need to bring the intensity — we can’t have another game like we did against Cape Henlopen, allowing over 70 points,” said Kelly. “My teams over the past four to five years have only allowed an opponent to score 70 two or three times.”

Indian River has allowed two opponents (Cape Henlopen and Lake Forest) this season to score over 70, both in losing efforts.

“Guard Malcom West really hustles and forward Pat Phillips has a great attitude, and that helps in the heat of battle,” said Kelly.

To compete against these bigger schools Kelly indicated that more of his team follow West and Phillips’ example.

“Our big man Purnell can make some plays but he’s too inconsistent and forward Travis Irving has made some big plays in our wins,” said Kelly. “We need more consistency.”