Boys hoops up and down

You win some, you lose some. That seems to be the story for the Indian River’s varsity boy’s basketball team this past week.

On Friday, Jan. 28, Sussex Central, the Indians big rival, came to town only to leave disappointed as senior guard Larry Bailey dumped 31 points on his former team in a 76-58 victory.
“It was great to beat my old team, but it was better winning playing good team basketball,” said Bailey.

Senior guard Jeremy Sturgis complimented Bailey with a cool 20 points and freshman center Jeremy Purnell chipped in with an additional 10 points in the paint.

With success comes failure, but not in the eyes of Coach Pat Kelly as the Indians hosted Caesar Rodney in a much-anticipated match-up.

“We played a very good half with one of the best teams in the state tonight,” said Kelly. “I was glad to see Bailey never lost his intensity.”

As Indian River hosted the Caesar Rodney Riders, on Feb. 1, what could have been a great victory soured into a hard defeat. Caesar Rodney defeated the Indians 72-46 — in large part due to better free throw shooting.

The Indians failed to capitalize on Caesar Rodney’s aggressiveness as they shot a dismal 20-41 from the charity stripe Tuesday evening. Though Bailey notched a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and two steals, he only hit 10 out of 19 free throws.

“To have a chance in this game we needed to hit our free throws,” said senior guard Therman Hagans. Hagans played well, especially in a pivotal run before the half, as he scored six of his nine points in the second quarter and he collected a couple of key steals.

The Indians had their fair share of foul trouble as well. Junior forward Travis Irving picked up a quick three fouls forcing him to the bench.

“We’re not as effective without Travis in there because he brings a lot of pressure and the other players feed off his energy,” said Kelly. Big man Purnell (10 rebounds, four points, four blocks) also picked up early fouls forcing him to tone down his aggressiveness.

In the end, Caesar Rodney’s big three (Thorton, Stratton, and Reid) were too much as they combined for 53 points. “Those guys are some of the best players in the state,” said Kelly. “Stratton is probably the best all-around player I’ve seen, he can shoot, defend … and he can finish in the lane.”

The weather has stifled the Indians squad, limiting their practice time this past week. With so little time to prepare for each team it is essential to maximize practice time but that has proven difficult so far.

“We have lost practice time to the weather and to other rescheduled events,” said Kelly. “We only have an hour of practice (Feb. 2) before the wrestling team has their match versus Caesar Rodney.”

The Indians record moved to 8-6 as they prepared to play their southern division rival Lake Forest on Thursday, Feb. 3, in a rematch of an earlier defeat.