I don’t usually bring up politics. Partly because this is a sports column, but mostly because I twice failed “Introduction to American Politics and Government” during my one-year stint at community college. In my defense, I didn’t go to class very often because I was busy surfing, which is a sport, and considering that I’m now a sports reporter, I’d say it all worked out for the best.
The Indian River High School girls basketball team was riding a three-game losing streak heading into Tuesday night’s matchup against Red Lion but turned things around with a convincing 44-23 win, to improve to 2-3 on the season.
“I think, the last couple games, it’s been an eye-opener for us. Coming out of the Tech game, we had some expectations,” explained Head Coach Matt Mayette regarding the team’s one-point loss to Sussex Tech earlier this season.
“These teams that we’ve been playing, they’re beatable,” added senior point guard Taylor Billinger. “We [had to] bounce back from those losses.”
The Lady Indians jumped out to a 12-0 lead by the end of the first quarter against Red Lion, spreading out the scoring with buckets from six different players early on. Eight different players would put up points by the end of the game — five of them underclassmen, including sophomore guards Maddie McGee and Maggie Ford, and freshmen guards Kealey Allison and Fabrea McCray, and freshman center Latayja Atkins.
“We’ve got some underclassmen that can really handle the ball,” Billinger said of the youth infusion. “They can really handle the pressure of the game.”
“The future is so bright,” Mayette added of the young roster.
By the end of the third quarter, the Lady Indians led 30-7, before Mayette began filtering in some junior varsity players and Red Lion went on a late scoring run.
The student section of the stands was fired up at Indian River High School last Tuesday, as Henlopen North powerhouse Sussex Tech narrowly escaped the Indians with a 68-62 win in a game that went down to the wire and, ultimately, was decided by a foul call in the final minute.
“I can’t be mad. I’m proud of our guys. They fought,” said Indian River Head Coach Mike Fabber of his team’s effort. “They never put their heads down. They never stopped. We just kept saying ‘one play.’”
Despite trailing the Ravens the entire game, Indian River was never out of contention, coming back from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit and bridging the gap to just two points nearing the end of the game.
Down 58-46, it was senior guard Kei Juan “Skeeter” Major who sparked the scoring comeback with a behind-the-back pass to his brother, junior guard KiAnté Sturgis, who finished the play and cut the Tech lead to 10.
After another Sturgis score, Major would draw a foul and hit both shots before stealing the ensuing inbounds pass and laying it up to pull the Indians within four points. Senior Da’Von Justice would notch a steal on the next Ravens possession, and Major would score yet again, to make it 58-56, before Tech finally ended the Indians’ 10-point run at the line.
With the Ravens leading 63-57 with time running out, Major would come through in the clutch for the Indians, draining a three-pointer and then coming up with a steal that he took to the net that would have made it a one-point game. However, a questionable foul call negated the play and all but sealed the win for the Ravens.
“They’re veteran-led. They have senior leadership. They’ve been in these games,” said Fabber of Tech’s performance on the night. “Our guys answered, and [their] guys answered. Both teams, their leadership showed up tonight and both teams played hard enough to win the game.”
Major led the Indians in scoring on the night, with 34 points.
After seeing nearly 700 participants and raising more than $7,000 in charitable donations last year, the Surfin’ Snowman 5-miler and Santa’s Helper 2-miler will be back in Bethany on Dec. 27, looking for similar success.
“Our registration numbers right now are up from where they were last year,” said Race Director Rick Hundley of the race being presented by Miken Builders. “We had just under 700 people last year register for a first-year event, so we were very happy with that. Last year, we were able to give each one of [the beneficiaries] $3,500. For a first-year event, that’s pretty impressive.”
The proceeds from this year’s race will again be donated to the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and Justin’s Beach House, two organizations that rely on charity dollars to operate.
“They’re 100-percent volunteer organizations,” explained Hundley.
The Justin W. Jennings organization maintains Justin’s Beach House in Bethany, a home designed to allow families impacted by cancer to enjoy quality time together at the beach.
Prior to the formation of the Eastern Shore Soccer Club, youth soccer talent was scattered throughout the local area and struggled to compete against teams from across the bridge and beyond.
Just a few months after the club’s inception, however, they’ve already seen staggering success, with eight tournament championships and 12 finalists between the club’s 16 teams.
“[It] proves what a great job all the area clubs do with their individual youth programs,” said Harry Anderson, founder of Eastern Shore Soccer Club. “This immediate success comes from receiving players from clubs that are structured, that have volunteers, parents and players that are committed to the programs they offer.”
ESSC was formed this past summer, after Anderson — who also coaches one of the teams — suggested the idea to area coaches and found it well-received.
“In years past, there were only one or two soccer clubs in this area,” explained Anderson. “When they [would] travel they [would] have a tough time beating teams from across the bridge because the players [were] all split up. We went to each club, told them what we were trying to do, and now it’s growing.”
The 3rd Annual Camp Barnes Wrestling Classic will be held on Saturday, Dec. 27, at Sussex Central High School in Georgetown, with wrestling beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Well, 62 hours of traveling, one broken board (thanks a lot, American Airlines), one gnarly scar from hitting the reef on my second day, and about 100 Bintangs later I’m right back in good old Sussex County and ready for basketball season.
The Indian River Indians’ Boys’ Basketball team kicked off the 2014-2015 season in what has become typical Indian River fashion— tons of excitement, aggressive defense and, of course, the dramatic finish in an 80-77 overtime victory against Lake Forest.
The Indians showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the Henlopen South in more ways than one, with the senior debut of Kei Juan “Skeeter” Major being one to remember and a depth-rich rotation put on display when four of the Indians key players fouled out and the younger players stepped up to help in the victory.
The game was big for both the Indians, opening their season, and the Spartans, already 0-1, and the atmosphere was reflective of an early season big game. Major, who flashed signs of brilliance with the ball in his hand last year, began the contest on a bit of a cold streak, but played through those early misses and keept his team as level as possible.
The Indians ended the first quarter down 16-13, but they were able to even the score up at 31 heading into the half, with Major scoring 10 of his 42 points in the second quarter to get his team started. Fellow senior Shaquille “Shaq” Hall and junior Kiante’ Sturgis each chipped in 8 points in the first half to help keep the score even.
Indian River kicked off the 2014-2015 girls’ basketball season with the Inaugural Indian River Tip-Off Classic, and a home victory against longtime-rival Delmar.
The Lady Indians won the game 30-26, led by Taylor Billinger’s 14 points, and moved to 1-0 in the Henlopen South.
Coach Mayette was pleased with his girls’ effort in the victory and spoke of how it feels to get the first win in the first game of the season.
“It feels fantastic,” said Mayett. “It’s nice that we’re way ahead of where we were last year — it’s a huge benefit to bring back some of the seniors and some great leadership, so it was a big advantage for us in that game.”
The Lady Indians played tough, hard-nosed defense, both in the paint and outside on the perimeter to force several key turnovers and secure the rivalry win.
“We really started to force a lot of turnovers and I think we took advantage of that, especially with our penetration and our looks,” said Mayette. “You know we’re not always looking to dribble through, but when we do look to dribble and penetrate good things start to happen, like it did in the second half.”
Much of that ballhandling was done by Billinger, who drew the double-, and sometimes triple-team, freeing her teammates.
“Billinger always stand out for us, you know she is just a lot of the times the best player on the floor and when she really applies herself, you know we have a great chance of winning,” Mayette said of his senior leader.
Tuesday night marked the beginning of the swimming season for the Indian River Indians, as both the boys’ and girls’ teams took on traditional powerhouse Cesar Rodney in Georgetown at Howard T. Ennis. Indian River had one of, if not the, best seasons in program history last season, however, they graduated several record-setting swimmers and needed to measure the new team against a formidable foe.
There were several bright spots for both Indian River teams, as they posted several state-qualifying times in the first meet of the year, came from behind in some races, and went stroke for stroke with some of the best swimmers in the state. But it was not enough, as the two Cesar Rodney squads came away with the victory and began their season 1-0 with the boys’ team winning 111-55, and the girls’ team winning 95-71.
Coach Colin Crandel was upbeat of his teams’ efforts and made it clear that although it is a swim “team,” the group results are not as important as individual times and improvement.
The 3rd Annual Camp Barnes Wrestling Classic will be held on Saturday, Dec. 27, at Sussex Central High School in Georgetown, with wrestling beginning at 9:30 a.m.
A major basketball tournament could boost community morale and business, an organizer told the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce. Slam Dunk to the Beach will be revived this December at Cape Henlopen High School, giving southern Delaware a taste of wintertime sports tourism.
Coach: Jeff Windish
Coach: Matt Mayette
Tournament: Yes, first round
Key Players: Maggie Allison, Faythe Wise, Patrina Bratton, Taylor Billinger
Coach: Mike Fabber
Tournament: Yes, second-round potential
Key Players: KiAnté Sturgis, Kei Juan Major, Da’Von Justice, Shaquille Hall, DeAndre Cooper
Coach: Colin Crandel
The Lady Indians, just like their male counterparts, had a tremendously successful season last year and should remain the top team to beat in the Henlopen South. Crandel has a ton of belief in this group of girls and thinks they could put up a few new records of their own.
Coach: Colin Crandel
The 2013-2014 Indian River High School boys’ basketball regular season ended on an extremely high note, as they played their best basketball when it counted most, down the stretch, and guaranteed their spot in the 2014 DIAA state tournament. The 2014-2015 Indians will look to repeat that success this season while aiming to bring back a Henlopen South Division title to the school and make a longer run in the 2015 tournament.
The key for this Indians team to maintain and build on the success of the past two years is to remain a tough opponent to defeat by playing a tenacious style of defense — quickly becoming the hallmark of the team — and a selfless style of offense, favoring the hot hand playing the smartest basketball.
The 2013-2014 regular season for the Indian River High School girls’ swim team was one of — if not the most — successful season in the program’s short history. The Lady Indians went 8-3 and had several personal bests in finishing at the individual state meets at the University of Delaware, and they ended the regular season on a six-meet winning streak.
The Indian River High School boys’ swimming program took huge strides last year, both in the conference and the state, only losing team meets to traditional powerhouses Cape Henlopen and Caesar Rodney. A strong core of record-setting seniors led the Indians into the upper-echelon of Henlopen Conference swimming and knocked on the door of the DIAA record books.
Sports are often remembered in terms of the final score, but the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association wants sportsmanship to be just as important. And Sussex Central High School has portrayed that mentality to win the 2014 DIAA Sportsmanship Award.
“It’s a competition against a set of standards. It’s a very difficult set of standards to meet,” said Kevin Charles, DIAA executive director, “to create a school culture … where doing the right thing is the expectation. It’s what a student naturally does, instinctively does, in a difficult situation.”
It comes down to how students decide to react in difficult situations, on and off the field, he said.
“How are you, as a student, going to respond to that?” Charles asked. “In DIAA, the sports field is the classroom, and coaches are the teachers. We’re teaching life skills through interscholastic athletics.”
After losing their 5-year-old daughter to cancer in 2011, the Vogel family vowed to help other families in the same situation.
“Our biggest thing is Gabby didn’t get well,” said her mother, Carolynn Vogel. “Unfortunately, the cancer was terminal upon diagnosis, and there have been no medical advances in over 30 years in her type of cancer.”
Sussex Technical High School hosted the Delaware Special Olympics Basketball Skills Competition on Monday morning, Nov. 17, inviting select athletes from Sussex County elementary schools to participate in a variety of competitions involving various basketball skills, with a chance at winning medals.
Lord Baltimore Elementary School sent Omar Baker, Alex Gomez, Rebecca Kelly, David LeCates, Mason Leith, Isaac Lowman, Alijah Taylor and Harmony Tuelia as athletes to compete in such skills as dribbling, shooting and passing.
Helping the athletes as Unified Partners were students Gabriel Mouynivong and Laysha Salazar-Molina, who teamed up with the athletes to assist in any way they could to help their teammates earn a medal.
Taylor, who loves his mom and wanted everyone to know that, represented Lord Baltimore in carrying the Olympic torch to the podium, as he waved his hand in model fashion and helped take part in kicking off the event, which was organized by Jon Buzby, director of media relations for Special Olympics Delaware, assisted by around a hundred Sussex Tech students, all belonging to the Project Unify Club.
Nov. 13 was National Signing Day — a day when thousands of high school seniors sign letters of intent to continue playing their sport of choice at their choice of a higher-education institution — and Maggie Allison, a senior at Indian River High School, was one of those select few elite athletes across the country, signing her letter of intent to play NCAA Division I lacrosse for the Tigers of Towson University.
“I don’t even know the words to describe it... I just feel happy, thankful. It’s a relief to actually have signed,” Allison said after the official signing.
Allison’s achievement of being one of the few high school students around the country to accept the scholarships awarded to a NCAA Division 1 college athlete is made all the more impressive when one considers that her high school does not currently field a women’s lacrosse team upon which Allison can play.
The 2014 season for the Indian River boys’ soccer team came to a heartbreaking end last Wednesday night, at the new Dover High School in the outskirts of Dover, against No. 1-ranked Caravel Academy, a private school known as an athletic powerhouse that competes in the DIAA Division II championships despite boasting an almost all student-athlete student body and athletic resources few schools in Delaware have the luxury of utilizing.
Caravel came into the contest boasting a 13-1-1 record, while the Indians, 10-4-1, came into the contest red-hot, winners of seven of their last eight matches, outscoring opponents 60-14, for a goal differential of 46 points.
The battle on the pitch that night was set to be a hard-fought one, as two of the most elite teams in Delaware soccer — Division I included — faced off.
Before kickoff, the Indians kneeled in a huddle as a unit, to prepare each other for the obstacle laid before them and display their strength in unity. After all, the defending Division II champs had begun the season facing some of the best soccer clubs not just in the state, but in the country. They showed they belonged in the same category, despite what the numbers of wins and losses said.
I am a huge fan of running because it is one of the best ways to increase your health.
It boosts your immune system, preventing a variety of diseases and health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, while raising your good cholesterol levels. Medical research has shown that people who run have a more agile brain that functions, like that of someone much younger, too.
So I’m leaving. On a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again.
After falling short in the Henlopen Conference championship, the Indian River High School soccer team rebounded with a 6-1 win against No. 12 McKean last Saturday night to advance to the DIAA semi-finals.
Freshman midfielder Oscar Cruz got the Indians on the board early, finding the net from nearly 20 yards out for the go-ahead goal.
Senior midfielder Danny Garza would score back-to-back goals to make it 3-0, one of them off an assist from sophomore Johan Cordoba. Senior forward Luis Cruz would set up Garza for his second goal and would make it 4-0 with a goal of his own on a free kick just before the half.
The No. 4 Indians continued to tack on scores in the second half, with Oscar Cruz netting his second goal of the game, to make it 5-0.
After the 6-1 quarterfinal victory, the defending state champs earned a spot in the semi-finals against No. 1-ranked Caravel last Wednesday, Nov. 10, (after Coastal Point press time).
After being eliminated from playoff contention, the only thing that the Indian River and Sussex Central high school football teams had left to play for last Friday night was pride.
Considering the circumstances, neither team disappointed in their final games of the season, in a shootout and back-and-forth matchup through three quarters that Golden Knights eventually capped off with a 42-28 victory.
“I thought the effort was super,” said Indian River head coach Ray Steele after the game. “We played great. I think we got wore down a little second half, but I have no complaints about the way they played. I thought they left everything on the field.”
“We slowed down a little bit, then that fourth quarter — that’s what got us. Other than that, we all played great,” added senior OL/DL Spencer Sturla. “I left everything on the field. That’s all you can do.”