Early-season struggles continue for Indians on the hardwood
The youth and inexperience have certainly taken their toll early on through the first five games of the season for the Indian River High School boys’ basketball team. Their most recent setback — let’s call it a learning experience — came on Saturday, Dec. 14, when the Indians visited Henlopen Athletic Conference South Division rival Seaford.
The Blue Jays set the tone early, with a blazing 22-7 first-quarter performance, and then making it 44-13 at the halftime break, en route to a 40-point win over the Indians, 69-29.
Senior Qui’maine Jacobs led the Indians with seven points, while Ja’siah Rounds chipped in with six. Carson Barnes added five to the scoring mix for IR, with Joshua Townsend (4), Gage Spinks (3), and Jamie Burns (3) also getting into the scoring column.
The loss dropped the Indians to 1-4 on the season.
“Coming into the game, we were down two guards who didn’t travel with us,” said first-year IR head coach Devin Mann of the matchup against Seaford. “That hurt us, knowing we were playing against an athletic guard-heavy team.
“We were also down a senior leader in Colby Hook, who was at a golf invitational in Florida, as he is preparing to be a scholarship golfer at the next level. Two minutes into the game we have an injury to a forward, and then two minutes after that, his replacement comes up hobbling with an ankle injury as well — so all of those things hurt us.
“Seaford was very athletic and pushed the pace of the game the entire time, which did not play into our favor. We started our season with five straight road games, and four of those games were against quality opponents — three that are experienced and tournament teams last year. Another is ready to make a run at a tournament bid. With our youth and inexperience, these losses, however painful, will make us better.”
Seaford was led by sophomore Tyrese Fortune’s game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Brent Ricketts added a double-figure effort with 13. The Blue Jays are now 4-0 on the season as they head into the holiday break.
Meanwhile, IR will turn its attention to preparing for the Governor’s Challenge, which is set to tip-off on Saturday, Dec. 28, when they take on Maryland’s Benjamin Franklin High School at James M. Bennett High School in Berlin, Md. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.
“Monday was the start of practices during this two-week break, which will be crucial to our season,” Mann continued. “We turned up the intensity and focus on discipline, fundamentals, toughness and execution.
“We are working towards accomplishing one of our big goals, which is to win our bracket at the Governor’s Challenge. Practice on Monday and Tuesday were at a level we will need to continue in order to be successful. The plan is to increase the level of intensity every day in preparation for the second part of our season.”
Following the holiday break, IR will be home quite a bit, with eight of 13 games being played in the friendly confines of the Green & Gold’s hardwoods. Their first game after the break will be on Tuesday, Jan. 7, when new Henlopen Athletic Conference member Early College High School, based at Delaware State University, comes down to IR. Game time is 5:30 p.m.
By Jason Feather