Indians fall to 1-3 after Governor’s Challenge
The Indian River High School basketball team had a few things working against them headed into the 2013 Governor’s Challenge basketball tournament. While they did see point guard Brian Arthur return to play, the Indians arrived at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center cold, after having to miss three straight days of practice due to the Christmas holiday.
They also didn’t know what to expect of their Maryland opponents and, as a result, fell to Great Mills, 71-67, on Friday, and Colonel Richardson, 76-67, on Saturday. The non-conference losses put head coach Mike Fabber’s squad at 1-3 on the season.
“It was a tough loss. Great Mills is a tough team,” Fabber explained after the first game. “Three days without practice, our legs were kind of flat. I was hoping we’d get the rust off earlier.”
Last Friday’s game went back and forth with lead changes until the end of the fourth quarter, when Great Mills went on a run that the Indians couldn’t quite come back from, despite junior guard Kei Juan Major’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Brian Arthur only put up five points in that game but set a tempo on offense that the Indians are more accustomed to and didn’t miss a beat — even though, according to Fabber, he’s only about 70 percent recovered from a lower back injury.
“I ended up playing him a lot more in the second half than I foresaw,” stated Fabber of Arthur. “He was moving well, controlled the ball, controlled the offense, hit open guys — what we expect him to do. It sped us up some. He’s built for the system we like to run.”
“He’s a big factor,” said senior forward Jaevon “B.B.” Holland, on Arthur’s return to the lineup. “We know his game. He was ready for it.” Holland himself put up 21 points in the matchup.
While Fabber gave credit for the win to Great Mills, he cited the main reason for the Indians’ loss as his team’s trouble at the line.
“If we make half of [our free throws] we win the game,” he explained. “Free throws, missed layups, turnovers — those will kill a team, and they killed us tonight. Give all the credit to Great Mills — they came in and won the game.”
Saturday’s matchup against Colonel Richardson ended similarly, with the Indians falling behind late in the game and failing to close the gap. Senior forward London Tucker led the charge in that game, with 21 points.
The Indians will be back to facing familiar opponents this weekend, when they will face Woodbridge on Friday, Jan. 3, at 6:15 p.m. and Lake Forest on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 3:30 p.m. Both conference games will be held at Indian River High School. Last year, IR dropped both games to Woodbridge but went 2-0 against Lake Forest.
As Arthur gets back to full health and the offense progressively gels, the Indians should be able to get back to .500 and even get a leg up in conference play.