Lady Indians bounce back behind Billinger
The Indian River High School girls’ basketball squad snapped a five-game losing streak with back-to-back victories last week, knocking off Laurel 48-37 on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and Delmar 28-17 on Friday, Jan. 10. The consecutive Henlopen conference wins put the Lady Indians at 3-5 on the season.
“We had a good week and a half of practice,” said head coach Matt Mayette after the Laurel game. “We’ve worked on some things that we really executed out here.”
Junior point guard Maggie Allison returned to the lineup after missing the Stephen Decatur Holiday Tournament and was instrumental in controlling the tempo on offense against the Lady Bulldogs, while junior guard Taylor Billinger lead the game in scoring with a career-high 21 points on the night.
Billinger went 7 for 16 on the floor and hit all six of her free throws to give the Lady Indians their highest points total all season. She also hit the only three-pointer for IR on the night and added three assists.
Mayette’s squad also showed a new level of confidence and aggression in that game — pressing Laurel all night and coming up with 12 steals collectively, five of them from Billinger and three from freshman guard Maggie Ford.
“We actually hadn’t even planned it,” claimed Mayette regarding the game plan against Laurel. “Throughout the week, we worked on a lot of zone — a lot of half-court zone. We implemented a box in one. We wanted to take away No. 31. We weren’t necessarily looking to press — we were looking to just take her away and we just continued to adjust.”
The girls weren’t just aggressive in taking away key players and generating turnovers, but under the boards as well, racking up 33 rebounds on the night. Senior Alex Myers and junior Faythe Wise each pulled down seven boards against Laurel, with Billinger and Allison not far behind — adding six rebounds each.
Billinger also led the team in scoring against Delmar last Friday night, with 17 points. She now has scored exactly half of the team’s total points in their last two games, with 38 of the last 76.
“It feels good to win,” said Billinger after the Delmar game. “We had to rebuild our team [from last year] so I feel like now we’re at a point where we can understand each other on the court and play better. All we can do is continue to work hard.”
On Thursday, Jan. 16, (after Coastal Point press time), the girls were headed up to Milford to face the Lady Buccaneers. They’ll travel to Sussex Academy on Saturday, Jan. 18, to square off against Delmarva Christian High School before Lake Forest comes to town on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Tipoff for those two games will be at 12:30 and 6 p.m., respectively.