Indians unseat DII leader Laurel, snap four-game losing streak
The Indian River High School basketball team pulled off a major conference victory on Tuesday, Jan. 28, knocking off Division II leader Laurel, 66-61.
“That was a big win in our conference. We needed that win,” said senior forward Jaevon Holland after the game. “We came together as a team.”
The Bulldogs (10-2, as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, Jan. 29), played fast-paced and aggressive — which is a style of basketball that the Indians are certainly accustomed to under head coach Mike Fabber.
Senior forward London Tucker put up 15 points in the upset, with junior guard Kei Juan Major leading the charge with 21 points of his own.
“Kei Juan came through for us tonight,” Holland said of his teammate. “He made some big shots and made some big plays.”
The win put the Indians at 4-7 on the season and 3-3 in Henlopen South play — and snapped a four-game losing streak.
The most recent loss of the streak had come against 8-1 Woodbridge on Saturday, Jan. 25, in a game that went down to the wire.
“We were expecting to win,” said junior guard Shaquille Hall after that disheartening, last-minute loss. “If we played all four quarters the way we played the last one, we would have won.”
Down significantly at several points throughout the game, Holland lead the Indians back with two straight baskets after a major block, to pull IR back within four but down 43-39. Shortly after, Tucker pulled down an offensive rebound and found Holland on his way to the basket to keep the Indians in it.
With 21 seconds to go, Major hit two free throws after a technical to make it a three-point game, with the Indians down 54-51.
“My idea was to call a timeout and set up a three-point play,” said Fabber on the game’s ending. “I had three guys in mind [for the final shot]. I try not to draw up a play for one [player] in particular,” he noted. “We always try to have three options, but we didn’t get to do it.”
Holland, Major and senior point guard Brian Arthur were the three players in mind for the final shot, but the Blue Raiders unexpectedly didn’t set up in a man-to-man defense, and Fabber’s attempt to call the timeout wasn’t heard by the referee — ending the game in a 54-51 loss.
“The guys played really hard. We came back with a vengeance,” said Fabber on his team’s performance. “If we got that timeout at the end, or a ball bounces a different way, it’s a different story.”
IR will get an opportunity to greatly improve their Henlopen Conference record when they begin a seven-game road stint this week, traveling to Delmar on Friday, Jan. 31, to face the 5-6 Wildcats and to 1-9 Lake Forest on Saturday, Feb. 1. The Indians beat both teams when they faced them earlier this season. Both games begin at 7:15 p.m. Then, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, they’ll face the 2-8 Golden Knights at Sussex Central at 6:15 p.m.
“We’re going to fight and keep winning and be the Indian River team that everybody expects us to be,” said Holland of the rest of the season. “We’re going to get back on track.”