Girls look to close season in a rush

The Indian River varsity girls’ basketball team dropped two out of three games this past week, with tough losses to Sussex Tech and Seaford. The Indians record fell to 10-8, but they play three southern division teams in the next four games as they make their final push towards the playoffs.

“We are playing at a higher level than the earlier part of the year,” said head coach Steve Persolio. “To hold Seaford and Sussex Tech to 45,43 points in the last two games is a big step up for us, but now the offense must improve.”

The Lady Indians scored their second highest point total last week in their 62-40 victory over Lake Forest Feb. 4.

“We’re playing up to the competition, but not enough to win the game. Until we can score 45 to 50 points on a consistent basis, we’ll have a hard time competing versus the upper level teams,” said Persolio.

The Lady Indians have stepped up their defensive play over the past few games, with several players making significant contributions. In the win versus Lake Forest, sophomore guard Kiarra Graves nabbed a game-high 9 of 23 Indian River steals.

“We’re playing well right now, but to win we have to keep up the defensive pressure, rebound and convert in transition,” said Graves.

“Sara Powell plays a productive hardnosed game and Lisa Butler has really stepped up defensively, busting her butt over the past few games,” said Persolio.

Solid defensive, more scoring and rebounding seem to be the key themes for the Indians to make their run into the playoffs.

Senior captains Ravin Robinson and Jessica Hudson have dominated the paint, averaging 8 rebounds each over the past three games. Robinson, who is still playing with “jumpers’ knee,” has maintained a constant presence, playing an overall solid game — blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, forcing steals, and scoring must-have points. Hudson has maneuvered well in the lane to get the easy baskets and key rebounds for put-backs.

The Lady Indians final playoff push couldn’t come at a better time, as Indian River looks to beat Woodbridge, Delmar and Laurel for the second time this season.

They will have to do without their reserve junior guard Erin Sagers, due to a season ending ankle injury.

“We will miss her defensive play and leadership on the court — she plays very smart,” said Persolio.

Woodbridge travels to Indian River Friday having lost their last six games, and Delmar has lost their last seven. Indian River has lost six of their past seven games to the northern Henlopen conference teams but the higher competition has raised their level of play.

“We are starting to turn the corner just in time,” said Persolio.