Bucs overtake Indians in fourth after ‘Major’ loss
After leading through three quarters, the Indian River High School basketball squad wore down psychically after junior guard Kei Juan Major fouled out — eventually being overtaken by a hot-and-cold Milford team. The 82-76 conference loss put the Indians at 3-5 on the season and 2-2 in Henlopen South play.
“They started calling the game really tight,” explained head coach Mike Fabber. “When that happens, it’s normally not in our favor — we play a very aggressive style of basketball.”
The Bucs (5-5, 2-3), switched their focus to taking away senior forward Jaevon Holland after Major left the game, and by the end of the third quarter had made up for a nine-point halftime deficit.
“Obviously, that hurts us. He’s a key part of our offense, part of our team and our rotation,” Fabber said of how losing one of the team’s biggest contributors affected the rest of the game.
“It hurt us because he usually averages at least 20 points for us,” said Holland. “I’m used to it. I still played my game the way I play my game. I still have to play the way I have to play.”
The Indians started off dominant, controlling the tempo of the first half and capitalizing on multiple three-point attempts from Holland, who led the team in scoring with 23 points on the night — hitting four shots from beyond the arch.
Sophomore guard KiAnté Sturgis also shot well from three-point range, hitting three shots from long range, as well, and tallying 14 points after seeing an increased role on the team — especially late in the game, after Major’s departure.
“He impressed all of us today,” said Holland of Sturgis’ breakout performance. “He stepped up.”
Major notched 11 points in less than three quarters of play, with senior forward London Tucker playing well under the boards and putting up 10 points of his own.
Tuesday’s scheduled game at Lake Forest was postponed due to inclement weather and rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7:15 p.m.
The schedule won’t get any easier for the Indians in the next week, as they were set to host (6-1) Woodbridge on Thursday, Jan. 23, (after Coastal Press time), and then go to (8-3) Sussex Tech on Friday, Jan. 24, and before heading back home to face conference leader Laurel (9-1 mid-week) on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 6:15 p.m.
“We’ve got to keep our heads up and stay positive and go on to the next game,” Holland said, outlining the team’s mindset for the rest of the season. “We played our hearts out. We left our heart on the court — that’s all we can do. We just have to be ready for them again.”