Before you say anything about how “Pro Bore” when referring to the Pro Bowl isn’t my best work when it comes to wordplay — cut me some slack, I just got over the flu.
It starts with the numbers: 39 years of coaching with the Indian River High School football program. A 31-14 record during his four-year career as head coach at the high school. Three Henlopen South titles and three DIAA playoff appearances as head coach. One Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year award, one State Coach of the Year award, one Tubby Raymond Outstanding Coach of the Year award, and, most importantly, a 2011 DIAA state championship.
When looking at it, long-tenured Indians’ football coach Ray Steele’s résumé seems to be, well... set in steel. But after all the accolades and achievements, the wins, the losses and a lifetime dedicated to coaching, Steele announced last month that he’ll be hanging it up and letting someone else begin their own legacy at Indian River.
“I thought this was probably as good a time as any,” said Steele of his decision — “39 years, I think it’s time to go sit in the stands and enjoy it.”
The Indian River High School basketball team has been plagued by last-minute losses this season, but after snapping a two-game losing streak with a 70-61 victory against Lake Forest last Tuesday, the team is ready to put those close calls behind them. In fact, according to senior guard Shaquille Hall, their season is just beginning, as the division win marks the start of a new streak.
“That’s what we’re naming this comeback, ‘Start the streak,’” said Hall of the team’s mindset going forward.
“We’ve had a rough patch, and we lost some real close ones,” said head coach Mike Fabber. “Cape [Henlopen] was a four-point game with two minutes left. We didn’t score in minute 45, and they made every free throw, so the score didn’t show how the game was.”
Despite the strong finish, the Indians started Tuesday’s game slow, falling behind 12-2 before head coach Mike Fabber called an uncharacteristic first-quarter time-out.
“They came out sluggish, and I called a time-out, which I don’t like to do,” Fabber explained. “I try to save them for late-game situations if we need them. I think we were too hype. We were turning it over, missing easy shots.”
The Lady Indians missed a chance to better their playoff chances last Saturday, falling short against Delmarva Christian Academy in a tight game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
Down 4-0 in a low-scoring first quarter, Indian River High School senior point guard Taylor Billinger ended the drought by draining a shot from long-range, to make it 4-3. Billinger would eventually tie the game at 10, after nailing her second-three pointer of night, before DCA took off on a 8-0 run in the second quarter.
After tying the game at 18, freshman guard Keeley Allison drew a foul and went one-for-two from the line to give Indian River their first lead of the night. She would notch a steal and score on a fast break in the second half, right before pulling down a rebound and finding senior forward Tashara Houston under the net, to give the Lady Indians a 40-39 lead.
Indian River Cheer to compete in Wilmington
The Indian River High School competitive cheer team advanced from the preliminary competition held at Lake Forest High School last Sunday and will compete at another preliminary competition this Sunday at St. Marks High School in Wilmington at 10 a.m.
Tennis ability is runs deep for 10-year old Julianna Johnston. Her father, Sea Colony Tennis Director Thomas Johnston, was a three-time All-American at Pomona Pitzer College, as well as the University of Virginia Men’s Tennis Team.
That 2015 resolution can be a healthy one when people start their exercise routines to get ready to run or walk the annual Ten Sisters of Dewey Beach Run/Walk Series 2015, which will begin on May 25 and end with the 39th Bottle and Cork 10-mile run.
Since Thomas Johnston took over as tennis director at Sea Colony near Bethany Beach five years ago, his hard work, expertise and dedication has lead the club to a Top 50 tennis resort ranking, a ranking as Tennis Resorts Online’s No. 12 adult tennis camp, and even being named as the United States Tennis Association Outstanding Facility of the Year in 2012.
Clearly the NCAA hasn’t seen any of the Terminator movies because for more than 15 years they let a computer system run the show with what they liked to call “The BCS” playoff system. And much like the decision to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film, and his eight-year stint as the governor of California, for that matter, the end result was pretty terrible.
Last week, we were looking ahead to New Year’s Eve and looking back at the 2014 sports year. This week is just the opposite as the ball has dropped and questions about what the new year will bring for local sports loom.
After leading for the majority of the game last Tuesday night, things began to unravel in the third quarter for the Indian River High School basketball team as division-rival Laurel took a late fourth quarter lead and held on for a 57-48 win.
Jumping out to a 15-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, and 28-21 lead at the half, the Indians’ offense took a hit when senior point guard and leading scorer Kei Juan Major fouled out on a technical mid-way through the third quarter.
“We just had to play around where Kei Juan’s points would have came from and then the calls weren’t going our way,” explained senior guard Shaquille Hall. “[Laurel] could play their regular defense. We had some open opportunities but we just couldn’t do it. We tried to fight through it.”
“We got a little stagnant, when your main ball handler, one of the guys that is responsible for a lot of your set plays, a lot of the motion work you do — when you lose them for a whole quarter, of course, it’s tough,” added Fabber. “But we’re, ‘next man up.’ We’ve got 12 guys that can play basketball. Last year we lost Kei Juan for the last three games, won two of them, so we just play.”
Without freshman forward Tashara Houston and freshman center Latayja Atkins, the Lady Indians basektball team has been doing just fine. Headed into last Tuesday’s game at Laurel, they were riding a three-game win streak and having no problem putting up points in the process.
However, the return of their two best rebounders played a large role in continuing that win streak, as the team jumped out to a 34-15 lead at halftime, and dominated the boards on their way to a 51-42 victory.
“Tashara just killed the offensive glass tonight,” said head coach Matt Mayette. “We got a lot of opportunities which is great for this team.”
Not only did Houston perform well on the boards, but also led the Lady Indians in scoring with 14 points, as well, as she continues to try and get back to health after an LCL strain.
“She’s still battling through,” said Mayette.
Every year I make the same New Year’s resolutions. This year, I’m going to volunteer more. This year, I’m going to eat healthier. This year, I’m going to write more interesting columns and not turn them in at the last minute before press deadline. But, just like most New Year’s resolutions, they never seem to pan out.
The Indian River High School basketball team didn’t know much about Maryland opponent Catoctin High School headed into Monday’s Governor’s Challenge matchup, but that didn’t stop them jumping out to a quick lead and never looking back.
“We didn’t know anything about them, so we just went hard,” said senior guard Shaquille Hall after the 77-44 Indians’ victory.
“We just stuck together and played our game,” added senior guard Da’Von Justice. “Coach just told us to play our game and play how we usually play.”
The tone for how the Indians “usually play” was set early on, when senior center DeAndre Cooper grabbed an offensive rebound and put it away, to make it 2-0. Senior guard Kei Juan Major would knock down a three-pointer shortly afterwards, as the Indians made their way to a 17-9 lead by the end of the first quarter.