First half-deficit spells fate for Indians
Since the opening tip of the first game of the year, the Indian River High School boys’ basketball team has found itself playing from behind in most of their games. Such is often the case with a young, inexperienced team looking to find an identity with a brand-new head coach.
It was the case once again on Tuesday, Jan. 7, when the Indians hosted Early College High School. IR fell behind by 13 points after the first half and wound up losing the game in the end, 61-46.
“We really struggled with transition defense,” first-year head coach Devin Mann said of Tuesday’s game. “It was something we knew that was a big part of what they did. We knew their leading scorer would leak out into transition. It was something we talked about, but we never stopped him from running.”
The Hornets’ leading scorer is sophomore Keyon Scott, and he put on another show-stopping performance with a game-high 29 points. Sophomore David Bradley added 15 markers for the winners, and junior Joseph Tillman also turned in a double-digit effort with 11.
The Indians were led in the loss by Gage Spinks’ 23 points. He sank three buckets from beyond the arc, while connecting on 4-of-6 from the foul line.
“Offensively, we ran decent sets at times but would rush to shoot threes instead of moving it to find better looks,” continued Mann. “I was very happy with the effort of our leader, Gage Spinks. He had his first 20-plus-point night, and if not for him, they run away with that game.”
But it is the Indians’ defense Mann is still pinpointing for their early-season struggles.
“Defense has to be the center of our focus as we prepare for Lake Forest,” he added of the Thursday, Jan. 9, game “and, ultimately, rematches with Seaford and Woodbridge next week.
“We will get back to work,” he said of Wednesday, “and another chance to get better. All of these games are lessons for us. With our youth, we are getting stronger, even if the win column does not show it.”
Carson Barnes and Malachi Waters each chipped in Tuesday with eight points for the Indians, who saw their season mark fall to 1-7.
It was just the third win of the season for ECHS, which is playing in their first season of varsity-level competition as a new school.
The results from Thursday’s IR game with Lake Forest (played after Coastal Point press time) can be found on the Coastal Point sports Facebook page.
By Jason Feather