Handy, IR girls recognized for sportsmanship
The season did not begin the way that Indian River High School’s girls’ basketball team had planned, as they opened up the schedule 3-4 before going on a 12-1 tear down the straightaway. But that doesn’t mean the team didn’t maintain their modest egos and class, and it was something they were recognized for this week.
During an early season loss to St. Elizabeth, the Lady Indians drew some attention from their opposition and others, as their respect toward teammates and opponents grew apparent. Senior Chanel Handy displayed exceptional sportsmanship, and this past week, she was recognized by DelawareGirlsBasketball.com as the first recipient of the new annual Sportsmanship Award.
“During that game,” said Jim Charles, founder of DelawareGirlsBasketball.com, “a St. Elizabeth player went down early in the game, and the gym went silent. After a few moments, she got up, and Chanel [Handy], a player on the opposite team, was the first one clapping.”
Charles, and St. Elizabeth’s players, recognized the unselfish act from Handy and other Lady Indians.
“As the game went on,” Charles added, “you saw Indian River girls congratulating the St. Elizabeth players after a good play, and Chanel would help opponents back to their feet if they fell. It was really great to see something like that. Up north, games get pretty competitive, and you don’t normally see that kind of sportsmanship from the other teams.”
Charles has been running his site, which chronicles girls’ basketball throughout the state, since 2006. By 2008, sponsors on the site allowed for him to present end-of-the-season awards to an Athlete of the Year and a Coach of the Year. But, after watching the aforementioned game, he wanted to do something more.
“To see someone like Chanel help out her opponents like she did was really special,” Charles noted, “and we decided to give out a sportsmanship award.”
Thus, on Monday, Feb. 20, Handy became the first recipient ever of the DelawareGirlsBasketball.com Sportsmanship Award.
Charles and representatives from the site, and Sabrina Hackendorn, the St. Elizabeth center who played opposite Handy in that matchup, presented the award to Handy during a practice, before a proud team and head coach John Frye.
“This is really special for Chanel to be recognized like this,” Frye said. “Some people look at her as someone who is big, strong and tough on the court, and she is, but she also has a big heart.”
Frye made his debut as the girls’ varsity head coach during Handy’s freshman year.
“I’ve seen her mature, emotionally, throughout her career,” he said. “As a player, where she started from and where she’s at now – no one has come further than her. She has grown tremendously, and we’re all very proud of her.
“To get noticed down here, in Southern Delaware, it’s a great honor for her and for the team. We are grateful for St. Elizabeth’s program and for what the people at [DelawareGirlsBasketball.com] have done. It means a lot for our program.”