Girls fall to Central and Caesar Rodney

The Indian River varsity girls’ basketball team went 0-2 last week versus two of the most dominate northern Henlopen conference teams, Sussex Central and Caesar Rodney.

Last Friday, Jan. 28, the Indians fell to 64-39 to a deep Sussex Central team.

“It’s tough to really compete with those teams because their talent pool is much larger than ours,” said head coach Steve Persolio. “They (Central) have two middle schools in which they probably get about eight to 10 starters each year.”

The Indian kept the game close, trailing the Knights only by six points midway through the second quarter until Central’s two scorers took the game over.

“Central has two good scorers in Dickerson and Felton, and we couldn’t seem to stop Felton,” said Persolio.

Indian River’s sophomore guard Kiarra Graves and senior center Stephanie Simms tied for the team scoring lead with eight points apiece. Seniors Jessica Hudson and Ravin Robinson each scored seven points in the losing effort.

“It’s hard for us to win games when we allow teams to score over 60 points,” said Persolio. “We’re playing our game when we hold our opponents to less than 40.”

The Indians proved coach Persolio right when they hosted the 6th-ranked 12-2 Caesar Rodney Riders Feb. 1. Caesar Rodney’s aggressive style of play forced 19 first-half turnovers, which the Riders converted, leading them to their 67-28 win over the Indians.

Caesar Rodney’s squad was anchored by the slippery smooth overall play of sophomore point guard Brittni Shells and her 15 points, four assists and four rebounds. Shells’ play not only kept the Indians on their heels, but also her own teammates, as she did her best Jason Kidd impression — dishing several no-look passes, most of which were too quick to handle.

“She is the best player that I’ve ever played against,” said Graves.

Caesar Rodney forward Nakia Anderson also scored a game high 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Forward Jessica Hudson led the Indians with a tough-earned nine points.

Even with the lead, Caesar Rodney continued to apply the pressure, implementing their zone press as the Indians brought the ball up. Initially the Indians were stifled by the Riders pressure but they would eventually find the seams, passing to the cutting shooter for the basket.

“It was hard to identify what they were doing because we were dribbling with our heads down or we passed when we should’ve dribbled,” said Persolio.

With the score getting out of reach coach Persolio decided to get his role players some more playing time.

“It’s good experience for these girls to play against this level of competition,” said Persolio. “It can only help them down the road as we play the southern division teams.”

The lady Indians will host Lake Forest Friday, Feb. 4, with the festivities beginning promptly at 6 p.m. Lake Forest will be looking for revenge from their 61-41 trouncing by the Indians earlier this season.