IRHS Boys' Basketball - Andrew Burns

Indian River's Andrew Burns attempts a shot near the basket while covered by Saints Peter & Paul's Eli Sherman on Saturday.

This one hurt.

But the heroic comeback attempt was a source of holiday joy for head coach Devin Mann.

“I am so proud of us going into a very hostile environment and finding a way to claw back and make it a game,” said coach Mann said after a furious late comeback fell short in Woodbridge’s 47-45 Henlopen Conference victory over the visiting Indians last Thursday night, Dec. 16.

After trailing by as many as 17 points, Indian River (2-3 overall, 0-2 conference) entered the fourth quarter facing a 37-28 deficit.

Coach Mann’s squad outscored the Blue Raiders 17-10, taking their first lead in the final eight minutes. Both teams held the advantage several times in a back-and-forth contest. With the score tied 45-45, Blue Raiders senior guard Emmanuel Mosley hit a learning runner off the backboard with :21 remaining.

The Indians had a chance to tie or win the game, but could not hit the crucial basket.

“The last two minutes before halftime, we woke up,” said head coach Devin Mann. “We started matching their physical play. (In the second half) we fought slow and steady, matched their effort and physical style of play, and started finding ways to score. We also changed our defense and that created big problems for them offensively.

The green and gold trailed 19-7 after one quarter and 27-16 at intermission. “We started very slow,” said Mann. “We struggled to handle their pressure (defense) and match up with how physical they were. They were beating us up in the first half.”

Indians junior guard Brandon Bradford led all scorers with 14 points, nine of them coming from the free throw line. Senior Jamie Burns added 11 points, including a trio of three-point jumpers. Seniors Josh Townsend and Laron Horsey added seven and six points, respectively.

Indian River will resume its season after the Christmas break by hosting the Blue Knights on Tuesday, January 4 beginning at 6 p.m.

Staff Reporter

Mike is a veteran sports journalist, covering generations of student-athletes in Pennsylvania, Texas and Delaware. He moved to the area in 2018 with his wife, Colleen. His passion for people and sports enables him to honor young athletes’ achievements.