If you’re like me, you know who Phill is and you’ve seen the movie “The Grey” featuring the incomparable Liam Neeson.
You could say it was “major” week for Indian River High School basketball senior guard Kei Juan “Skeeter” Major. Not only did the Tribe’s hoops captain lead his team to a 70-64 comeback win over Seaford on Monday night to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the standout was also named to the roster for the annual Blue-Gold All-Star game — which will be held at the Bob Carpenter Center next month.
The event, which features the best talent from across the state, supports Best Buddies Delaware — a nonprofit organization and global movement designed to create one-on-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Major, like the rest of the game’s participants, will be paired with a “buddy” for the day.
Major will represent the Gold Team, which will comprise “downstate” players, as they go up against the Blue Team and its designated northern players.
IR wrestlers at states
The DIAA State Wrestling Tournament will be held this Friday, Feb. 27, and Saturday, Feb. 28, at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes. Preliminary rounds will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, with the rest of Friday’s schedule as follows:
Round 1 — Preliminaries (4 p.m.)
Round 2 — Quarter finals/first-round consolation (7 p.m.)
Sign-ups are still open for the Lower Sussex Little League, with this Saturday, Feb. 28, and possibly Wednesday, March 4, being the final chances to register before baseball and softball tryouts begin on March 7.
Sign-ups have kicked off for the Youth Outdoor League at River Soccer Club, a Saturday-morning game league for players 4 to 14.
Registration is open online at www.riversoccerclub.com, but drop-off registration sites will be open this Saturday, Feb. 28, and next Saturday, March 7, at John M. Clayton Elementary School in Frankford from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
America is used to being lied to by Bills.
Coming off a 53-21 loss to Smyrna and riding a four-game losing streak, the Indian River High School girls’ basketball team made a statement with 51-32 win against Seaford in their final game of the season last Friday night.
After the team fell behind the Lady Blue Jays in the first quarter, senior point guard Taylor Billinger drilled her first shot of the night from beyond the arc, to give her squad a 19-12 lead as they began to pull away.
“There were stretches in this game where they’re getting layups and easy shots, but then there’s stretches in the game where we’re getting steals, forcing turnovers, getting easy shots for ourselves,” said head coach Matt Mayette. “We feel like, in that man [defense], we have a great advantage.”
The second-quarter scoring run continued until the break, with the Lady Indians leading 24-14 while they conducted an emotional Senior Night ceremony for Billinger, Maggie Allison, Faythe Wise, Patrina Bratton, Ashley Donahue and Marley Belzner.
While spring may not be in the air just yet, baseball and softball sign-ups are under way at the Lower Sussex Little League for the 2015 season.
Online registration is open for tee-ball, baseball and softball, for players 4-18 at www.lowersussexlittleleague.com, but walk-in registration dates have also been scheduled, with three upcoming chances to sign up.
Last week was a rough one for a few Coastal Pointees.
Head coach Mike Fabber doesn’t lose on Senior Night. He puts on his lucky green blazer and takes the court, no matter who the opponent is — just like he has done for the past three seasons at Indian River High School, and the prior five seasons of his basketball head coaching career before that.
Monday night against Woodbridge was no exception, as Fabber and the Indians put together a 67-60 division win against the Blue Raiders, despite limited bench options in a foul-heavy game that saw a staggering 83 free-throw attempts.
“We don’t lose Senior Night. I don’t wear this jacket for nothin’,” said Fabber of the streak and his lucky blazer. “In the third quarter, I didn’t have a sub because everybody had four fouls that was on the bench. I give a lot of credit to our guys, battling through that kind of mindset.”
The Blue Raiders would jump out to a 9-6 lead early on, but the Indians found their shot in the second quarter, taking a 33-29 lead into halftime. They were able to maintain that lead throughout the rest of the game, thanks to a defensive scheme switch designed to help take away Woodbridge senior guard Randy Dupont.
“We’ve been talking about going ‘diamond-in-one,’ so I came in thinking we try a 3-2 against them, but the players came to me and said, ‘We can handle this — let us try to take Dupont out,’” explained Fabber. “We tried. It worked, for the most part, so we kept trying different versions of it.”
While Woodbridge continued to challenge for the lead, even pulling within four points with just over five minutes to go, the Indians maintained the defensive scheme and their stamina despite the foul trouble — with players including senior guard Raekwon Knight and sophomore forward Isaiah Bratton picking up the slack in demanding roles.
There have certainly been some appropriately named athletes throughout sports history. Usain Bolt runs track. Willie Thrower was an NFL quarterback. And Prince Fielder is an infielder for the Texas Rangers.
However, none of those pros may be more appropriately named than 8-year-old Sea Colony Sharks’ swimmer Brayden Trout, who made his way upstream at the Two Bays Championship held at Lake Forest last weekend to finish first in all four of his events.
“It felt awesome,” said an enthusiastic Trout of the achievement. “My coaches told me that I was seeded second in breaststroke, and that in order to take first in all my events, I would have to go faster in that event. That was the only way to win them all — so I did.”
Swimming in the boys 7-8 division, not only did Trout “go faster” in the 25-meter breaststroke, to finish first with a time of 21.52 seconds, but he did the same in the 25-meter freestyle, 25-meter backstroke and 25-meter butterfly — finishing with times of 20.52, 27.97 and 25.23 seconds, respectively.
The Indian River High School girls’ basketball team hit a tough stretch of schedule during their road series last week, falling in back-to-back games against Henlopen South leaders Milford, 54-41, and Woodbridge, 59-32.
Despite the final score, the Lady Indians matched up well against South title-contending Milford on Thursday, Feb. 5, overcoming a 19-4 first-quarter deficit to close the lead to just three points at 25-22 before halftime.
“The kids just battled and battled and battled,” said head coach Matt Mayette of the comeback. “We got to the line a lot. Our goal for the first half was to take them out of their pressure, beat their pressure so much that they feel like they can’t play it against us anymore — and we did.”
Keeping the game close throughout the third quarter, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Lady Bucs were able to pull away, as a depleted Lady Indians’ lineup began to lose steam due to their dwindling bench numbers.
The program’s precedent was set last season, when both the Indian River High School boys’ and girls’ swim teams claimed their first-ever Henlopen South titles. Just a year later, neither squad has faltered from the new swimming standard at IR, proving it at last weekend’s Henlopen Conference championships by each locking in respective South titles for the second year in a row.
“We’re trying to build a program,” explained head coach Colin Crandell. “We’re doing this with no home swimming pool — the fact that we’re driving here and there, and they’re swimming like they do, they should be proud of themselves. I’m proud of them.”
Another division title wasn’t the only noteworthy achievement for the Indians last weekend, however, as 10 swimmers qualified for the state finals later this month, and the girls’ team set a new school record in the 200-medley relay — edging the previous school record of 201.75 set last year by less than .2 seconds, at 201.57.