Even after 17 fourth-quarter turnovers, they were still in the game. However, despite stringing together a few scoring runs, ball control would continue to plague the Indian River High School basketball team on Tuesday, Dec. 15, as they went on to fall to Woodbridge 71-52 and finish the game with 30 turnovers total.
“Thirty turnovers — that’s 60 points,” said head coach B.J. Joseph. “You’re not gonna beat anybody with 30 turnovers.”
Despite the errors, the Indians found themselves on the verge of a second-quarter comeback sparked when senior forward DeAndre “D.D.” Cooper snagged a pass on a fast break and laid it up to cut the lead to 25-20.
The Blue Raiders would respond with seven unanswered points to go up 32-20, but freshman point guard Jamier Felton cut the lead back down to 32-24 just before half on another fast-break layup.
Felton was a bright spot for the Indians on Tuesday, finishing with 15 points, six steals and four assists in just his fifth varsity game, after making the transition from small forward at Selbyville Middle School last season.
“Coach came to open gym [last year] and told me, ‘Hey, we might need you playing guard for varsity next year,’ and I said OK. I got into it,” Felton explained. “Coach worked with me a little bit. I’m still building up. Varsity level — you’ve gotta be more physical, stronger with the ball, out-rebound people, get tough down there in the paint.”
It was a two-point game until it was nearly through, but with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, the Indian River High School girls’ basketball team saw their chances at a division win over Delmar slip away when the Wildcats started knocking down free-throws, hitting all four of their final shots to seal a 32-26 victory on Friday, Dec. 11.
“We got in foul trouble early in the first half, and that kind of threw us off a little bit. They weren’t able to get back to as focused as they needed to be,” said head coach Donna Polk after the game. “We just didn’t get it done on the defensive side, had a couple of defensive breakdowns.”
Despite that early foul trouble, which left them without sophomore forward/center Latayja Atkins as a force on the inside, the Indians took an early lead when sophomore guard Fabrea McCray knocked down a jump-shot to put them up 6-4. They’d go on to push the lead to 8-4 shortly afterwards, when sophomore point guard Kealey Allison found junior guard Maggie Ford open for another bucket.
The Wildcats would eventually bounce back and take a 10-8 lead early in the second quarter, until junior guard Shelby Cannatelli found sophomore forward Braydee Whitman under the net to tie it back up at 10-10.
“Braydee did a great job stepping in for [Latayja Atkins],” said Polk. “She worked hard, got some rebounds, made a couple of good shots. She’s young and she’s still learning, but she did a great job.”
Local pickleball players will be headed north this winter, but they won’t have far to go.
The First State Pickleball Club announced recently that both current club members and newcomers will get the chance to keep the rally going indoors this winter, as play moves inside to the Dave Marshall Tennis & Fitness facilities at The Plantations in Lewes.
“Dave worked with us last year, but this year he gave us more time slots,” said First State Pickleball co-founder Cheryl Martin. “We do it by session because there’s a lot of snowbirds — a lot of them leave at the beginning of January to mid-January.”
The first session of indoor play has been going on for two weeks, but the club enjoyed a great deal of success over the summer after the ribbon-cutting at their new official home on the courts at John M. Clayton Elementary School in Dagsboro. And with the growing numbers of members has grown the demand for year-round play.
“We’ve got all of these people playing now, we didn’t wanna sit idle all during the winter,” said First State Pickleball Public Relations Director Vaughn Baker. “We’re trying to get as many people as we can active and playing.”
It really is a wonder that the Indian River High School swim team is winning South titles year in and year out, considering that, really, they don’t even have a pool, and that, really, being a school near the ocean, you’d figure swimming would be a sport that got a little more love.
While there wasn’t a lot of scoring, there was a lot of action when the Indians and Mallards faced off on Saturday, Dec. 5, in a back-and-forth game that went down to the wire.
Indian River High School sophomore forward Latayja Atkins put her squad up 2-0 with a quick drive to the hoops and layup after the tip-off, but defense would set the tone for the rest of the night, as the Indians hung on for a 23-20 win.
“It was more of a defensive game,” said first-year IR head coach Donna Polk. “We actually adjusted in the second quarter with the defense — that changed a little bit — but basically tonight I just wanted them to be patient on offense and I wanted to try to get the ball inside.”
After Atkins put the Indians up 4-0, on her way to a 13-point performance, the Mallards found their spark when junior guard Leigh Lingo managed a steal and ensuing layup, to cut the deficit to one, with IR leading 7-6.
Junior guard Shelby Cannatelli would answer for the Indians with a jump-shot, to put them back up 9-6, but Prep would answer right back when senior forward Grace Tunis made a play under the net to give the Mallards a 10-9 lead that they’d hold going into the break.
In the second half, the lead went back and forth, with Prep eventually going up 16-13, but a bucket from sophomore guard Fabrea McCray would tie the game at 16-16 before a steal from sophomore guard Kealey Allison eventually led to junior guard Maggie Ford finding Atkins under the net to give the Indians back the lead.
Indians look to repeat as South champs
The Indian River High School swim team graduated a lot of talent from their Henlopen South championship squads last season, but it didn’t show in the water on Tuesday, Dec. 8, when both the boys’ and girls’ squads started 1-0 with conference wins over Dover.
“I was surprised with how well they swam this early,” said head coach Colin Crandel. “The goal at this time of the year is really to develop their strokes and build stamina, but they swam better than I expected.”
The boys’ squad rolled the Senators 89-53, led by two first-place finishes in individual events by senior Mason Sanders, who’s already challenging for the school record in the 50-meter freestyle and missed the mark by only 0.3 seconds on Tuesday night.
“I’ve wanted that one since freshman year,” Sanders said of the record, which currently stands at 22.4 seconds. “I didn’t expect it this early. This is really a head start for me.”
With a new head coach and revamped roster, the Indian River High School basketball team took to the courts looking to start 2-0 when Worcester Prep came to town on Saturday, Dec. 5.
And while the game would remain close throughout its entirety, they’d eventually hold on for a 56-45 win under head coach William Joseph and behind some of the team’s new leaders — all of whom expected more from themselves, despite the win.
“A lot of us were in foul trouble, and we just weren’t mentally ready for the game,” said senior Demetrius “L.T.” Jenkins, who managed 16 points and seven boards, despite fouling out in the fourth quarter. “I’m glad we got the win, but we should have played a lot better.”
“I think they underestimated their opponent — one thing you never can do,” added Joseph.
Tripple Overtime: An apology to Kobe Bryant from a journalist (one that did not ridicule him into retirement)
We all know those journalist types, with all of their pushy questions and all of their twisting words and their Twitter accounts with all of their borderline funny comments. They’re really just the worst, right?
When it comes to preventing concussions, Todd Fuhrmann and Indian River High School are using their heads.
With the hot-button issue continuing to warrant discussion not only at the high-school level but in the NFL, the Indians’ athletic director and athletic trainer saw a potential opportunity to help protect players earlier this season, and he took it — when the school’s football team became one of the first in the state to test Riddell’s new Insite Impact Response System.
“I had heard about the system but had never really seen anything,” Fuhrmann noted of how the Indians got involved with testing the system. “I was at an [athletic directors’] meeting, and we were talking about it, and they showed me kind of what it was. Then one of our kids had an unfortunate accident with his helmet… So when I was able to reorder the helmet, I just went ahead and had it outfitted with the program.”
Every year, the Indian River High School soccer team makes a short list. First there’s the division title. Then the conference championship game. And, finally, the ultimate goal — a DIAA state championship.
The Indian River High School soccer team capped the 2015 fall sports season the right way on Saturday, with their 1-0 state championship win over Caravel and so much excitement that now it all just seems like one long (but awesome) blur of green and gold, and red and blue from the police and fire truck sirens and, of course, white from the student section covering the Smyrna stands in baby powder by tossing it up in the air like Lebron to celebrate Oscar Cruz’s goal and, eventually, the title.
After taking more than a 10-year hiatus before making its return in 2014, the Slam Dunk to the Beach basketball tournament is already gearing up for year two, with the success of last year’s resurgence in the books.
Slam Dunk to the Beach had a triumphant return to the local sports scene last year and organizers are planning even more great basketball for this year’s event, slated for Dec. 27-29.
Tripple Overtime: Kardblock: Only the Redcoats can save us from the Kardashians this app development season
I was standing in the check-out line at Giant last week when I noticed a magazine cover with one of the most disconcerting tag lines that I had ever read: “My Own Story: Khloe Kardashian Breaks Her Silence.”
Every year the Fenwick Island Turkey Trot adds a new turkey depicting a charity on the official event t-shirt.
This year, it’ll be dressed in a police uniform as the annual family run/walk aims to raise funds for Stephen Lowe of the Fenwick Island Police Department and his family after he and his wife Amanda’s son Coleton was born with a heart defect known as Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA).
“We try to pick a different local charity every year,” said Turkey Trot race director and owner of HipAHA Fenwick Island Boot Camp Lori Martin. “The [Fenwick Island] town council approached me and asked if we would consider donating the funds to the Lowe family — I was very excited to be able to keep it local in the town.”
The free 2.2-mile event taking place along Bunting Avenue in Fenwick Island will generate proceeds through sales of the annual T-shirt, as well donations from participants. But after teaming up with Neighbors in Need at last year’s run, they will also be collecting canned goods to be donated to local food bank on the day of the race.
Hockey rivalry continues to grow
After being held scoreless for 43 minutes and trailing 1-0, a game-tying goal seemed improbable. And a game-winning goal? Almost impossible.
But when Millsboro head coach Molly Chamberlin called a timeout with seven minutes to go in their season finale against Selbyville on Wednesday, Nov. 4, she told her squad that what had already been their most successful season in program history, wasn’t going to end with a loss.
“They kind of had their heads down,” Chamberlin said. “I told them “you have seven minutes to score two goals. Everything you’ve worked for for the last two and a half months is coming down to these last seven minutes - we’ve had such a great season, don’t let it end like this.’”
That’s when the Golden Knight offense came alive, finally getting on the board when Macy Layfield crossed a ball in front of the net and Avery Congleton knocked it home to tie the score at 1-1.
It had been over a year since KiAnte Sturgis scored a touchdown at Indian River High School.
But when the Sussex Central senior running back took the field on Friday night, wearing blue and gold instead of green and gold after transferring schools last spring, it only took him 45 seconds to find the end zone.
“We knew that they were gonna be giving Sturgis the ball an awful lot,” said head coach Phil Townsend after the game. “He came out, he was explosive — he’s a great athlete, he’s hard to stop.”
After the Sturgis score made it 7-0, the Indians responded when junior running back George Martin took a pitch and found senior wide receiver Barry Hooper who hauled in a long pass and took it all the way down to the five-yard line. Martin would take a hand off and score on the next play to tie the game at 7-7.
But just as he had taken his first carry of the night to the house, Sturgis did it again on his second carry of the night to make it 14-7 Golden Knights, and eventually added his third rushing touchdown still in the first quarter.
Mikie Mochiam has made a name for himself scoring game-changing goals late in games over the last couple weeks.
The Indians’ junior forward netted the game winner against Cape Henlopen in the 87th minute of the Henlopen Conference Championship on Nov. 3, and did it again to break the stalemate against Delaware Military Academy in the 72nd minute on Saturday, Nov. 14.
But in Wednesday night’s semi-final game against no. 8 Archmere, it only took “Machine Gun Mikie” less than a minute to find the net – setting the tone for an eventual 2-0 victory to send the Indians to the DIAA State Championship game against no. 2 Caravel on Saturday, Nov. 21.
“Scoring that early in the game in the semi-finals, that gave us a lot of momentum,” Mochiam said. “We’ve never really scored that early in the game this season.”
They say that when a lizard loses its tail, it grows back. It’s just part of its DNA — its just the way that its designed.
That being the case, it seems only appropriate that Indian River senior Eliza Bomhardt also goes by the nickname “Lizard,” as a play on her name thought up by the Indians’ softball team.
For the past three years, “The Lizard” has helped lead that softball team both on and off the field, playing an array of positions and earning herself a second-team All Conference selection as a catcher during her junior campaign last season before eventually going on to agree to play Division 1 softball for the University of Hartford next spring.
Like a lizard without its tail, Bomhardt had her fair share of challenges to overcome to make her dream come true. She had started playing softball later than most girls typically do, and when she finally joined a team, for awhile, she sat the bench.
It’s been his dream ever since he started playing baseball, and last week in front of all of his family, friends, and coaches, it’s a dream that he officially made come true.
Indian River senior Ryan Engh was a bright spot for the Indians on National Signing Day, signing with High Point University in North Carolina to play outfield for the Panthers next spring.
“It’s been a goal of mine ever since I started playing baseball,” Engh said. “Putting pen to paper just makes it official.”
Engh has started all three years for the Indians since joining the team as a freshman, going on to be named a second-team All Conference outfielder last spring as a junior. That’s when he started attended tournaments and showcases throughout the Mid-Atlantic, into Georgia, and even as far west as Arizona.
“Throughout the summer I was playing a lot tournaments on the weekends,” he explained. “Down in Georgia is when the High Point assistant coach saw me.”
After rolling no. 12 Brandywine 6-0 during the first round of the DIAA playoffs on Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Indian River High School soccer team was put to the test when they got to the second round.
Facing no. 4 Delaware Military Academy (12-3) on Saturday, Nov. 14, the no. 5 ranked Indians traveled back up to Dover and went toe-to-toe for 72 scoreless minutes until junior forward Mikie Mochiam finally broke the stalemate with a score to put his squad up 1-0 — a lead that they would cling to through regulation, eventually notching the win and advancing the DIAA state semi-finals.
The game-winning goal came just over after Mochiam had netted a similar score against Cape Henlopen in the Henlopen Conference Championship, which also gave the Indians a 1-0 lead late in a scoreless game and proved to be the difference.
The Indians were set to face no. 8 Archmere (9-6) in the state semi-finals on Wednesday, Nov. 18 (after Coastal Point press time), after the Auks managed to take down no. 1 St. Andrew’s (12-3) in a game that went to PK’s on Saturday, Nov. 14.
I found out about “Lifedogs” when I was waiting in line at the DMV last week, opting to stand up the whole time instead of sitting down in the hopes that a display of impatience would somehow move the line faster. Also, because the place is pretty gross.
It’s been the mantra of the Indian River High School soccer team all season, and coming off their Conference Championship win against Cape Henlopen and headed into their first round playoff match against Brandywine, that mantra was all the more important to maintain.
“After beating Cape it gave us a huge boost, going from toughest schedule in the state to winning the Conference Championship was unbelievable,” said junior defender Patrick Mochiam. “We just need to keep the momentum going — we just gotta keep our focus.”
“The word has been ‘focus,’” added head coach Steve Kilby. “That’s what we want. We want them to focus them to focus on every game and what it is they’re supposed to be doing within their role.”
Not only did the Indian River High School cross country team take on the hills of Killens Pond and the entire Henlopen Conference last Saturday at the Henlopen Conference Championship, but they had the elements to contend with as well.
“I’ve always told the runners from day one that they have to adjust according to what the environment demands from them,” said head coach Major Frank Ryman of the less-than-ideal weather conditions. “As the race went on the course degraded more, it really limited where they could actually run, but it’s all part of running in a state park — it’s what makes cross country what it is.”
To combat the muddy course and large number of runners competing, the Indians implemented somewhat of a single-file strategy on narrow stretches of the course.
“I did tell them to go single file if they had to and not allow themselves to be caught up in a mob of runners,” Ryman explained. “That’s the challenge here, which I know probably had an impact on some of the runners.”
“It was different,” added senior Mason Sanders. “There were a lot of people so we were all grouped up more. We’ve practiced in this a few times, but besides that this is kind of a first.”
Sanders would finish first for the IR boys’ team on the day and 33rd overall, clocking in at 18:45. Senior Garrett Driscoll came in just six places after that at 18:57, and senior Blayne Gates took 41st at 19:01.
“It was a great run,” said Ryman. “We had several runners PR (personal record), we had some runners that didn’t run as fast as they have previously on this course, it was a mixed bag.”
It only took the offense the first four-plays to jump out to an eight-point lead.
But an undefeated season and win over rival Millsboro would eventually come down to the defense and the final four-plays — when the Selbyville Middle School football team found themselves in need of a red-zone stop with time winding down, trying to hold on to that same eight-point lead.
“Our whole season came down to four minutes left,” SMS assistant coach Tim Clausen said about the stakes during the final drive of the Indians’ final game of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
And despite being on the field for the majority of the second half, the SMS defense rose to the challenge in those final four-minutes, turning the ball over on downs to all but seal a 14-6 victory and perfect 7-0 record.
It’s been their Achilles’ heel all season. One good half of football, but another unraveled by mistakes. And Friday night’s game at Lake Forest (7-2, 5-0) was no different.
“I think it’s just a young-team-kind-of-thing, we haven’t been able to play two halves as a team,” said Indian River head coach Phill Townsend. “Unfortunately, this year it seems like we’re a one-half football team, whether it’s the first half or the second half.”
Against the Spartans, it was the second half after falling flat in the first, as Lake took advantage of early turnovers and leaned on senior quarterback Noah-Feague Johnson to move the chains on their way to a 27-0 lead at the break and eventual 34-14 victory.
“A couple of those runs that he had, our d-ends got sucked in and he made big plays,” said Townsend of the dual-threat quarterback. “To beat a team like this, it’s assignment football. You make one mistake and it shows on the field.”