Twin sisters hit 1000th career-points at historic IR game
Twin siblings often have a special bond, but sisters Keeonya and Keiosha Shelton did something truly magical when both scored their 1,000th career-point at the girls’ basketball game on Feb. 15. They made athletic history — just like their mother, Sabrina Shelton, did many years ago at Indian River High School.
The Sheltons are senior players and fraternal twins, Keeonya being just a minute older. IR hosted Stephen Decatur last Friday for the revived Mason-Dixon Tip-Off Classic — a girls’ and boys’ varsity double-header.
If the Sheltons’ history-making feat wasn’t enough, Decatur’s Abbey Schorr boosted the IR game into the history books when she, too, shot a 1,000th career-point in the fourth. Todd Fuhrmann, IRHS athletic director, announced that the National Federation of State High School Associations had no prior record of three female players reaching that milestone in the same game.
When the game began, Keeonya only needed six points more, and Keiosha needed eight.
“They’re twins to the end, because there’s only a couple shots that separate them,” said head coach John Frye before the game.
Soon, they both needed six, and then three. After intercepting and scoring in the second quarter, Keiosha was offered a foul shot that could highlight her career.
“One shot — be ready to get the rebound, ladies,” the Decatur coach advised the waiting Seahawks. The shot missed, but Keiosha stepped up to the line again a minute later. That time, she nailed it. Keiosha turned and ran straight off the court and into the arms of her mother, who was sitting at the mid-court bleachers.
Tensions eased a bit in the gymnasium, and now it was Keeonya’s turn. She also missed a free-throw at the last minute but hit it the next time around. In the third quarter, Keeonya Shelton became the fifth Indian River female player ever to hit 1,000 points. Her sister hugged her as they once again sought their parents in the crowd.
Sabrina Shelton was the first Lady Indian to earn 1,000 points, although she played at the original IRHS gymnasium in Frankford from 1976 to 1979. She went on to earn 1,000 points at Delaware State University, as well.
Charles Shelton recalled his twin daughters, as toddlers, shooting Nerf balls in laundry baskets, but he said they never broke anything inside the house. Sabrina Shelton saw them begin to develop skills and control the ball.
Basketball was so special “because I got to play with her,” Keeonya said, pointing to her sister.
“And because our mom played,” Keiosha added.
The Shelton sisters thanked their family, team and coaches.
“They had to step up, since they were freshman in ninth grade, had to learn,” said Sabrina, who said Frye was considering them for the varsity squad, even when they were finishing middle school.
“They’ve been with me from the beginning. Not too many people can say they had that for three years,” Frye said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to coach these outstanding [athletes]. They excel on the court and in the classroom, as well.”
“It’s an unbelievable thing to see. They’re not only good on-court, but they’re good girls,” said Charles Shelton, adding that he felt surprised, proud and very blessed.
Charles Shelton was an athlete in his own right, not only helping the IR boys basketball team win the Henlopen Conference in the 1973-1974 season, but continuing to referee and looking to join his wife in the Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame this spring.
The Decatur game was “a lot of pressure,” the Shelton twins said together. Keeonya noted that she had her first foul out in this game, leaving much of the game pressure on the others. Having missed several games in an earlier year, she might have perhaps hit 1,000 sooner, but the Sheltons seemed fated to finish together. While Decatur girls won the game, 61-48, IR still felt the victory.
“It’s been fun working with them,” said assistant coach Jack Frye of the sisters. “They have a good attitude and work really hard.”
Afterward, the twins presented their mother with her own 1,000-point ball from the IR trophy case. State Rep. John Atkins brought commendations from the Delaware House of Representatives. Then, the sisters received their own commemorative balls, flowers and green balloons, one of which floated up to the gymnasium ceiling as a lingering reminder of the historical moment.