Registration for Lower Sussex Little League baseball and softball, and the Little League Challenger Division, are currently under way at the Lower Sussex Little League complex in Roxana.
Sea Colony’s indoor courts will be rockin’ Saturday evening, March 19, for the center’s annual March Madness free tennis event and fundraiser.
Open to the public for all ages and skill levels, March Madness features music, food and games, including fast-serve, slow-serve and accuracy contests, complete with prizes from 7 to 9 p.m., with free play and social from 9 to 10 p.m.
Tripple Overtime: If beaver trapping is a sport (and/or cool), then Leonardo DiCaprio is Miles Davis (‘The Revenant’ review)
If you’re being rational, then you can agree that I am just as good an actor as Leonardo DiCaprio. Not only because we’re both renowned for our boyish good looks, and certainly not only because we both always shout “I’m the king of the world!” whenever we get on a boat with Kate Winslet, but mostly because we have the same number of Oscar wins (approximately zero, to be exact).
Indians reunited with Sturgis
A packed house at Sussex Central High School certainly got their money’s worth on Tuesday, Feb. 2, when the Indian River and Central basketball squads went down to the final minute of their annual rivalry matchup, with the Golden Knights eventually locking a 51-42 win.
IR junior guard Mac Smith gave the Indians a 3-2 lead early on after draining a shot from downtown, with the Golden Knights sparking an 8-0 rally after that, to go up 10-4.
The Indians would put together their own rally to tie the game at 10-10, just before the end of the first quarter, however, starting with senior forward DeAndre “D.D.” Cooper pulling down an offensive rebound and drawing the foul to pull off the “and one’ play and make it 10-7, with senior forward Barry Hooper knocking down a three to then tie it up.
“It got everybody pumped. I think everybody played better,” Cooper said of the electric atmosphere. “It was a fun game. That’s my favorite team to play.”
“I said, ‘It’s a rivalry. If you can’t get up for this game, you can’t get up for any game,’” added IR head coach B.J. Joseph.
The second quarter was a different story, however, as Central jumped out to a 20-10 lead, and guards KiAnté Sturgis and Lashawn Hondy continued to find forward Richard Flemming underneath the net for easy buckets.
“When the other guys drove in, we were sliding positions. When somebody takes the guy driving, somebody’s gotta slide, and that wasn’t happening,” explained Joseph. “That’s something we gotta work on.”
There was nothing familiar about Groundhog Day for the Indian River High School girls’ basketball team this year. After a dominating performance against Seaford on Monday, Feb. 1, taking down the Blue Jays 57-13, the girls ran into a much more experienced opponent in Sussex Central the very next night — with the game ending in a much different outcome as well, by way of a 50-19 loss.
The two teams on the court on Tuesday, Feb. 2, were vastly different — as a youthful Indians’ squad took on an experienced Central team.
“It was a good lesson for me, good lesson for them — today was a good learning experience,” said head coach Donna Polk after Tuesday’s game. “I told them to keep their heads up, that was a good team that we played, they do what they’re supposed to do, they’re explosive, they play physical — they can now see what an experienced team is capable of doing.”
There have been plenty of storylines for the Selbyville Middle School girls’ basketball squad this season. Two of the team’s losses came against 10-1 Postlethwait, by way of a three-pointer at the buzzer. Then there was a tough overtime loss to a 7-4 Mariner. And the team also held defending state champion Central Middle School (11-0) to a season-low 25 points when that squad had averaged more than 50 points per game.
However, despite some tough losses to some tough teams, the ending to the girls’ season was almost storybook — mounting a 36-28 comeback victory against rival Millsboro on Monday, Feb. 1, to finish the season with a 5-4 winning record, and sending some of their eighth-grade leaders out the right way.
“This has been a story for them all year, in the fourth quarter — games where we don’t score, and then the next thing you know we’re scoring in the last minute of the game,” said SMS head coach Matt Mayette. “They’re just a clutch group of kids that, at the end of the day, don’t want to lose.”
That clutch spirit showed on Monday night when, trailing 15-13 at the break, an inspired locker-room speech from Mayette reminded the girls of what was on the line.
“When we were down at halftime, the talk in the locker room was really intense,” said eighth-grader and co-captain Kayley Belzner. “We had to come together as a team and figure out what we had to change.”
Down 24-23 at halftime, the Selbyville Middle School boys’ basketball team rallied behind eighth-grade leaders to jump back out to the lead after the break and eventually hang on for a 47-41 win over rival Millsboro on Monday, Feb. 1.
While the back-and-forth battle may have been an exciting one, the ending to both the game and the Indians’ season was by no means surprising for SMS head coach John Frye.
“It’s important to get the win. But that’s the snapshot. The big picture is they played so hard this year,” he said. “They dedicated themselves. You always want to win, but they played so hard all year long, they gave such a great effort, so even if they had lost, I could never complain because of how hard they play.”
Ending their season with a win over the Golden Knights also holds added meaning for some of the payers — including eighth-grader Jalen Snead, who transferred from MMS this season to help the Indians on the football field as well.
The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce this week announced NV Homes/Ryan Homes as the presenting sponsor for the 27th Annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour. To be held on Saturday, April 16, in downtown Bethany Beach, cyclists have the choice of a 30-, 50-, or 62.5-mile ride. A 100-mile century ride is new to the race this year, for the serious cyclist.
If you’re like me, you spent this past weekend stuck snowed in watching “The Shining” in Baltimore, worried about who was gonna snap first should the beer run out before the roads got plowed.
Boosters raising funds for state champs
The Indian River High School soccer team made history this past November, when they brought home the 2015 DIAA state championship. But while their work on the field is done, their work in commemorating the event is far from over, as the team is currently in the process of trying to raise money for championship rings and field coats.
With many players on the team having a tough time in being able to mark the occasion financially, the boosters are raising funds at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rehoboth Beach this Monday, Feb. 1, and inviting the community to come help support the cause.
“We’ll be able to look back at that ring one day and think of the state championship,” said junior defender Max Stong about what the ring would mean.
“A lot of players on the team, they can’t afford it,” said junior midfielder Johan Cordoba. “We’re hoping that everyone comes out to support.”
Retirement can’t slow the King of String
It’s not surprising that Drew Sunderlin already had plans when he got the call telling him to mark his calendar for Nov. 20.
When Danny Herlihy made his way down to Rincon to be honored by the Puerto Rico Surfing Hall of Fame and participate in the Legends Surf Classic last week, he made the trip with family and friends. He got up to speak in front of an array of other surf legends, and he surfed breaks like Steps, Gas Chambers and Tres Palamas.
It was just before Christmas, and I remember it exactly, because it was very strange. I had just completed the week’s “Tripple Overtime,” expressing my recently renewed holiday spirit (even though it was still somewhat lacking), and was leaving the Coastal Point headquarters in Ocean View when I discovered something — it was some kind of box, and it was resting upon the hood of my car.
There may have only been five matches on tap when the Indian River High School wrestling squad took on a rebuilding Seaford program on Wednesday, Jan. 13, but at the end of what was the Indians’ Senior Night, they still came out with a division win.
“It’s tough. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to rebuild,” said head coach Jeff Windish of the Seaford team. “They’re coached well. They’ll be back, and their numbers will get built back up.”
While the final score would end up 72-12 after nine forfeits, the Blue Jays did manage to put up a fight in the matches for which they had wrestlers.
“I tell the kids, ‘You gotta wrestle what’s put in front of you,’” Windish explained of the mentality headed into the division dual. “Ideally, you wanna have a match, but I give Seaford a lot of credit — they came ready to wrestle.”
That tenacity showed early in the matchup at 106, when Seaford’s Richard Durham battled freshman Chris Wheeler in a back-and-forth brawl that went down to the wire before Durham managed the pin, to put his squad up 6-0. Despite the loss, Windish said, he was happy about what he saw from the first-year wrestler.
IR Girls break 400-free relay record
January is traditionally a month that Indian River High School swimming records begin to fall, and during last Thursday’s meet in Milford, the action officially got under way — with the girls’ 400-meter free relay team making history. Senior Lauren McCoy and juniors McKenna Burke, Erin Haden and Lindsey Grow were all a part of the squad that established the new school record of 4:09.46.
The girls’ would go on to tie the Buccaneers 84-84, while the boys’ team improved to 4-0 in the Henlopen South with an 89-77 victory. This Thursday, Jan. 21, (after Coastal Point press time), the Indians were set to head to Seaford for a tri-meet against the Blue Jays and Caesar Rodney before returning to Howard T. Ennis in Georgetown to take on Sussex Tech on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m.
Freshman Jordan posts first double-double
The Indian River High School girls’ basketball team had their work cut out for them on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Not only were they going up against a 6-3 Woodbridge squad, but against Blue Raiders’ All-State center and Marquette commit senior Altia Anderson.
“She’s a very athletic. She plays high. She can dribble. She can handle the ball. She can shoot. So it was just a matter of making it more difficult for her,” said IR head coach Donna Polk of Anderson. “It was a matter of trying to keep it out of her hands as much as we possibly could.”
While the Blue Raiders would eventually garner a 44-32 win, the Indians managed to stay in contention throughout the game and hold Anderson in check by way of their own center — freshman Julia Jordan — who helped hold Anderson to 12 points on the night, while posting her first career double-double (12-points, 10 rebounds).
“It was a good test for Julia as a freshman. She accepted the challenge, and I was pretty proud of her,” said Polk. “She did a good job of applying the pressure. Offensively, she stepped up big when we needed her to.”
“It was more of a challenge to face someone the same height, but I feel like, after I played against her, I’ve become a better player,” Jordan added. “We all lifted each other up and fought until the end.”
After IR got behind 4-0 in the beginning, it was sophomore guard Fabrea McCray who got the Indians on the board first, finding nothing but net on a shot from outside. Sophomore point guard Kealey Allison would then drive to the hoop for a layup that made it 8-6, but Woodbridge would take a 10-6 lead into the next quarter and a 24-12 lead into halftime.
O’s announce Shorebirds field staff for 2016
With spring training set to get under way next month, the Baltimore Orioles are getting ready for the season, recently announcing the 2016 field staff for its Class A affiliate, the Delmarva Shorebirds.
After a year of local and regional tournaments, six Sea Colony Junior Tennis Academy players ended 2015 with USTA Delaware state rankings, including seven Top 10 finishes.
(now with footnotes!)1
OK, so technically January is actually “National Stalking Awareness Month,” but I refuse to acknowledge it2. It turns out that there is no nationally recognized month for Ray Lewis awareness prevention yet3, but I think we can all agree that perhaps there should be.
It was déjà vu all over again, all over again.
After witnessing former Delmar guard Larry “The Menace” Ennis drain a buzzer-beating three-pointer to force double-overtime in a game last season, the Indians watched him do it again to force triple-overtime in the same game and lead to an eventual Wildcat win.
This year’s Indian River High School basketball squad may have a different coach and a different starting five, but on Friday, Jan. 8, they fell to Lake Forest in an all too familiar way when Spartan sophomore guard Ahmanuel White knocked down an all-too-familiar buzzer-beating three-pointer to force double-overtime and lead to an eventual 74-71 upset.
But rather than lay the blame on some kind of overtime curse or other supernatural explanation, first-year head coach B.J. Joseph had a more logical explanation for the Indians’ latest last-second loss.
If the match at heavyweight was a full count with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, then Indian River senior Montez Purnell was a rookie on his first at-bat.
Even after the first 13 hard-fought, and often blood-soaked, contests, the dual meet against Laurel on Wednesday, Jan. 6, had yet to be decided when Purnell lined up for his first-ever varsity appearance. And, with everything on the line, the match tied 34-34, the first-year wrestler delivered, getting the pin against Laurel’s Preston Gravenor in just 40 seconds, to give the Indians a 40-34 win.
“I got him in the — I don’t even know what move that’s called, I’m so happy — I pushed him down to the mat, and it was over,” said an ecstatic Purnell. “I knew it was gonna be a tough one, but I had to go get it for the team.
If you’re reading this column, it’s probably too late. Also, you might want to get a CAT scan.
Bratton puts up 18 in loss
It must have been bittersweet for head coach B.J. Joseph.
One on side of the court was a reunion of sorts with his old team — the Milford program that he had spent years turning around. Back on the other side of the court, he watched as those Buccaneers jumped out to and then maintained a safe lead over his new Indian River High School squad — a program where he’s aiming for a similar turnaround.
“It was good see the [Milford] kids again,” Joseph said after the game. “We’re just gonna be young this year, and then really young again next year. We’re just trying to change the culture around here.”
While the Bucs would go on to seal the division win 63-42, junior forward Isaiah Bratton had the hot hand early, putting the Indians up 3-0 by burying a bucket from downtown on his first shot of the game. Milford would respond with six unanswered points after that, but Bratton would be at it again on the next possession, knocking down another three-pointer to tie the game at 6-6.
Fargo, Sarge bring home WCA gundog title
For Lance Fargo and his Weimaraner, NAFC FC AFC Snake Breaks Sargent Von Reiteralm — whose friends call him “Sarge” — the dog days are finally over.
After coming in second during their first year competing in the Weimaraner Club of America’s National Amateur Field Championship in 2013, the two had had high hopes when they made their return to Ardmore, Okla., for the championships in 2014. But after a year of rigorous training, and all but locking up the event with an impressive start, Fargo and Sarge saw their chances slip from their fingers — and paws — in the fickle sport of gun-dog field trial competitions.
“Sarge basically had the thing won — the judges told me that he was the first-place dog,” Fargo recalled. “All we had to do was get through the retrieve, but there are so many variables, so many things that can go wrong on game day.”
Fargo took full responsibility for a mistake made during the retrieve that ultimately cost him and Sarge the title, comparing the disappointment to that of Russell Wilson throwing an interception at the end of Super Bowl XLIX as the Seahawks fell to the Patriots — which incidentally, would occur just about a month after the 2014 WCA Championship. Like Wilson, Fargo was devastated.
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police this week reminded anglers that it’s time to purchase their 2016 Delaware fishing licenses, as 2015 licenses expired Dec. 31. A valid fishing license is required for fishing, crabbing and clamming in Delaware, in both tidal and non-tidal waters.
It’s almost as hard to believe as Tom Brady in a statement issued by his publicist. This Thursday marks the official end to the 2015 sports year, as we get ready to say goodbye to the Year of the Ram and usher in the Year of the… Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
It seems like only yesterday that we were saying goodbye to 2014, which can only mean one thing: I’m getting old. And if I’m getting old, that means Point photographer and zip-off-pants enthusiast Chris Clark is getting ancient. In fact, he should be headed for the home any day now, which would leave me without a photographer unless I can manage to teach one of those Chinese monkeys how to use a camera by then (I mean if Chris Clark can do it…).
But while the Chinese zodiac hasn’t done many favors for the St. Louis Rams in a year wielding their name, it certainly held its fair share of excitement for the Indian River Indians and the entire Sussex County sports scene from start to finish.
She’s been away since 1988, but after returning home to Delaware this past May, former Sussex Central Golden Knight Donna Polk is back and bringing a wealth of experience with her as the new head coach of the Indian River High School girls’ basketball team.
“I’m enjoying it,” said Polk after the Indians’ first win of the season, against Worcester Prep on Dec. 5. “I want to try and make a difference in basketball in Sussex County, try to elevate the level of play, and maybe try and revive Indian River basketball.”
A three-sport athlete at Sussex Central, Polk stood out in field hockey and softball, in addition to basketball, and went on to play both basketball and softball at Columbia Union College — where she was a 1,000-point scorer on the court.
He may be in his first season as the head coach of the Indians, but B.J. Joseph is no stranger to Henlopen hoops. Not only did he help lead Cape Henlopen High School to a state championship in 1976, as a player, but after wrapping up his NCAA career at Wilmington College, he went on to take over a struggling Laurel program before going on to do the same at Milford.
Both teams had been sporting back-to-back losing seasons before Joseph took the helm, aiming to change the culture and work ethic. However, health problems with both his mother and father occupied his time and he ultimately had to take a hiatus from coaching.
“My mom got sick, and dad had dementia [while I was coaching] at Milford,” Joseph explained. “I gave up the job in 2014, then he passed away in February.”
Even with all the lights and the Bill Murray Netflix specials and Bethany’s new “Tree of Warmth,” I’ve been Ebenezer Scrooge’ing pretty hard so far this Christmas season. Not really so much to the point where I’m hoarding wealth created by deliberately exploiting the poor, but at least to the point where I’m too busy with work to get my picture taken with Santa and don’t find “A Very Murray Christmas” very funny and get annoyed that apparently you can’t call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree anymore (bah, humbug).