Sports

Indians boys and girls dominate Sussex Academy on the courts

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Ja’Shaun Johnson goes up for two in Indian River’s win over Sussex Academy.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Ja’Shaun Johnson goes up for two in Indian River’s win over Sussex Academy.Indian River High School’s boys’ basketball team dominated the Sea Hawks of Sussex Academy on Jan. 3, on SA’s home turf.

IR shooters got an early 8-0 run on the Sea Hawks with 6:35 minutes of play remaining in the first period. Sea Hawks shooters got on the board just as the clock ticked down to 6 minutes. At by the end of the first period, IR had built a very comfortable 16-point cushion, leading 29-13.

IR outshot the Sea Hawks 16-10 in the second eight minutes, for a commanding 45-23 halftime advantage. They returned to finish the job, outscoring the Sea Hawks 27-13 in the third period and 15-3 in the final period, making for a 87-39 victory. It was the Indians’ fourth straight win, for a 6-4 record thus far in the season.

“Now we’re four in a row, you know, and we won the tournament down in Salisbury, and we won here tonight,” beamed IR head coach B.J. Joseph after the victory. “We’re supposed to play Cape [Henlopen] Friday, and that would be a good test, but I don’t know what’s going to happen with the snow and all forecasted.” (That game was rescheduled to Tuesday, Jan. 25.)

Pickleball Tips: Sweet Spot and Sweet Spots

Improve your pickleball game by more than 50 percent

If you want to improve your own pickleball game this season, cut your errors in half.

I know it sounds like an over-simplification, but it is estimated that 80 percent — and frequently more — of all pickleball points are the result of errors. Players tend to think about that one winning shot they nailed down the middle, but then have amnesia about the eight or nine errors they made.

IR boys win Governor’s Challenge Tournament’s A bracket

It only took two wins for Indian River High School’s varsity boys’ basketball team to be crowned Division A champions at the largest high school boys’ and girls’ basketball holiday tournament in the country — the Governor’s Challenge High School Basketball Ball Tournament — last week, Dec. 26-30.

IR girls go 1-1 at Pat Borowski basketball tournament

After suffering a 51-24 loss to Dover High School’s Senators in the opening round of the Pat Borowski Girls Holiday Basketball Tournament on Dec. 27, the Indian River High School varsity girls’ basketball team topped Milford High School, 51-33, on Dec. 28.

Pickleball Points: New knees, please

Folks, after a decade of pain, my right knee is pain-free! I am doing well — too well — so please stop sending the cookies and other goodies, as I am hoping to return to, not roll onto, the pickleball court this new year.

It’s time to renew Delaware fishing licenses

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police this week reminded anglers that it’s time to purchase their 2018 Delaware fishing licenses, as 2017 licenses expired Dec. 31. A valid fishing license is required for fishing, crabbing and clamming in Delaware, in both tidal and non-tidal waters.

Start the New Year off right — with a quick run and dip

Coastal Point • File Photo: Revelers took a (cold) leap of faith into the ocean off Bethany Beach last Jan. 1 to participate in the Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos event, put on by the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.Coastal Point • File Photo: Revelers took a (cold) leap of faith into the ocean off Bethany Beach last Jan. 1 to participate in the Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos event, put on by the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.

Those who are looking for a way to start the New Year off with a bang, and possibly wash away 2017, may want to consider a cleansing dip in the Atlantic on Jan. 1.

The Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos will celebrate its 23rd year in Bethany Beach on Jan. 1, 2018, giving people of all ages the opportunity to dive into the frigid ocean.

Shiver me timbers! Fenwick Freeze returning Jan. 1

What’s it like to jump in the Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day?

“It’s not as bad as it seems,” said Becca McWilliams, organizer of the Fenwick Freeze. “You go in so fast, and your adrenaline is pretty pumped at that point. You’re in and out before you feel how cold it is. … If you do it, you really feel good after you do it. It’s kind of exhilarating.”

IR girls’ basketball grabs another home win

Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Fabrea’ McCray drives into the paint against Lake Forest.Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Fabrea’ McCray drives into the paint against Lake Forest.Indian River High School’s varsity girls’ basketball team earned another home win on Dec. 19, improving their overall record to 3-2 by defeating the Lake Forest Spartans 33-22. IR’s offense got an early 8-0 run with 3:46 minutes to play in the first quarter and controlled the game from there.

The Indians were ahead 12-2 going into the second quarter, and they put 10 more points on the board in that quarter, leading 22-9 at the end of the first half.

Senior IR guard Fabrea’ McCray led the Indians with 14 points, five rebounds, three steals and three assists, and junior center Julie Jordan had nine rebounds, five blocks and three assists.

“Today’s win was a defensive win,” described IR head coach Donna Polk. “They did a good job of cutting out the double-team and the girl popping out and taking the middle, and taking away a couple of passes inside. And we made the adjustment and they did a good job. They also did a good job of rebounding. We did a good job of securing the boards, so it was a good defensive win.”

This week, it was tournament time. IR’s girls’ basketball team joined 11 other teams from around the state for the annual Pat Borowski Girls Basketball Tournament, played at Lake Forest High School in Felton starting on Wednesday, Dec. 27, and running through Thursday, Dec. 28, (after Coastal Point press time). IR was scheduled to play their first game of the tournament against Dover High School’s Senators.

Indians tame Wildcats 73-61

Coastal Point photos • Bruce Walls:  Ja'Shaun Johnson drives against a Delmar defender in IR’s 73-61 win on Dec. 21.Coastal Point photos • Bruce Walls: Ja'Shaun Johnson drives against a Delmar defender in IR’s 73-61 win on Dec. 21.On Friday, Dec. 15, temperatures around Delmarva dipped just enough below freezing for several inches of snow to blanket the peninsula. That night’s high school basketball battle between Delmar High School’s Wildcats and Indian River’s Indians had to be canceled. The make-up game was played last Thursday night, Dec. 21, at IR’s home gym in Dagsboro.

IR controlled the game from beginning to end, when the teams were separated by 12-points. The Indians’ 73-61 win over Delmar is their third win of the season, giving them a 3-4 record for the season thus far.

IR sank the first basket with the clock at 7:41 minutes. From there, IR got a small early 8-0 run on the Wildcats. After the first eight minutes of play, IR had a very comfortable 20-point lead over Delmar. Each team scored 10 points in the second eight minutes, giving IR a 30-16 advantage at halftime.

Surfin’ Snowman, Santa’s Helper taking a run for local non-profits

The Surfin’ Snowman 5-Mile Run and the Santa’s Helper 2-Miler Family Run/Walk Challenge ride into town Saturday, Dec. 30, on a wave of success — five years’ worth, to be exact.

According to Race Director Rick Hundley, the run and walk benefit three local organizations: Justin’s Beach House, the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and Contractors for a Cause.

Have a happy and healthy pickleball year

I am looking forward in 2018 to getting back into the game of pickleball, with the idea of competing in some tournaments.

IR swim team splits doubleheader on Dec. 14

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Indian River’s swim team split a doubleheader, winning against Delmarva Christian High School and losing against Caesar Rodney on Thursday, Dec. 14.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Indian River’s swim team split a doubleheader, winning against Delmarva Christian High School and losing against Caesar Rodney on Thursday, Dec. 14.After recording two wins in away meets at Sussex Academy and Polytech High School on Dec. 8 and 12, Indian River High School’s boys’ swim team split two home meets last Thursday, Dec. 14, suffering a 53-41 loss to Caesar Rodney and then beating Delmarva Christian High School at Sussex Academy’s pool.

“Caesar Rodney’s one of the top contenders in our conference,” said Indians head coach Colin Crandel. “C.R. is pretty much the top contender in our conference. They’re a solid, well-coached, respected team. We competed against them, and that’s what I wanted.

“We were awesome. I’m really, really, really proud of my guys. We had a lot of kids who are new to this. I told the boys I wanted them to race, and coming out of this we probably got eight or nine best times and we got three kids qualified for our state meet, so they did everything I asked them to do.

“So, I wasn’t worried about points,” he emphasized. “I wanted them to race, and they did.”

Christmas is a present

I have always been, even as a child, a very reflective person at Christmas. I remember, as a kid, wondering if I would live a life worthy enough that folks would light candles for me in 2,000 years.

Indians basketball suffers narrow losses to Laurel, Woodbridge

Special Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Jamier Felton tries drives towards the paint against a Raider defender.Special Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Jamier Felton tries drives towards the paint against a Raider defender.Last week, Laurel High School’s Bulldogs and Woodbridge High School’s Raiders took turns narrowly beating Indian River High School’s Indians, 53-50 and 48-51, respectively in varsity boys’ basketball play.

On Dec. 5, Indians junior Jamier Felton led the team with 18 points against the Bulldogs in a game that had to be settled in overtime. On Dec. 7, Felton and Indians sophomore Ja’shaun Johnson bucketed 16 and 12 points, respectively, against the Raiders.

The week started with Laurel. At the end of the first quarter, IR had an 11-12 advantage over the Bulldogs, who trailed 19-15 at the end of two quarters. IR added 13 points to their side of the scoreboard, and Laurel added nine.

But in the final period of regulation play, IR scored eight points, while Laurel tied it 40-40 with 15 points. In overtime, IR put 10 points on their side of the scoreboard. Laurel broke the tie with 13 points in overtime, while IR earned 10 points in the same period.

Then, on Thursday, Woodbridge was first on the board as the Raiders kept a narrow lead over the Indians the entire game. At the first period’s end, IR trailed 13-8. At halftime, Woodbridge was ahead 27-19. Woodbridge would add 12 points in each of the third and fourth periods, while IR hit 11 and 18 points in the same time, trailing by just three points.

Pickleball 2018 resolutions

At various times over the past year, I have written entertaining articles about pickleball, and at other times, various issues I thought were good for the community of pickleball.

Sometimes I promoted pickleball so the public would know more about the game, and other times I highlighted extraordinary accomplishments of some of our pickleball warriors on a national level.

Girls basketball team nets first win

Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Braydee Whitman goes for two, as a Blue Jays defender tries to stop her.Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Braydee Whitman goes for two, as a Blue Jays defender tries to stop her.After four losses on the road, Indian River High School Girls basketball team showed the home crowd they still have the winning spirit with a 37-25 win over the Seaford Blue Jays on Tuesday, Dec. 12. IR grabbed an early lead, ahead 8-5 at the end of the first 8 minutes. They posted 9 more points in the second period to Seaford’s 3, taking a 17-8 lead into the locker room at half time.

“I’m pleased of the fact that we got our first win tonight. So I’m very pleased with that,” said IR Head Coach Donna Polk, who added, “We still have a lot of work to do. I’m happy the girls maintained their composure once they were starting to come back and they pushed to come back. I’m pleased with the fact that they didn’t lose their composure. It got a little franticly at the end.”

With 2:21 remaining to play, Seaford got a short run on the Indians, narrowing the gap to 28-27. IR fought back with a trio of unanswered buckets in the game’s final minutes for the win.

Teaching pickleball and improving in pickleball

Pickles are not grown but cultivated from cucumbers, and they can’t be rushed because it is all about the balance between salt, acidity and natural sweetness. Ditto pickleballers!

The tickle in pickleball

Coastal Point • File Photo: Vaughn Baker serves one up against Tripp in 2016.Coastal Point • File Photo: Vaughn Baker serves one up against Tripp in 2016.Research is revealing that laughter is one of the best medicines available, and you get plenty of it in pickleball.

I recently invited Matt Pencek, sports director at TV station WBOC, to Northside Park in Ocean City, Md., to meet nationally-ranked pickleball pro Sarah Ansboury so she could talk a little to him about the then-upcoming Beach Blast and give him an opportunity to learn a little about pickleball.

I taught the previous sports director at WBOC how to play tennis, so I understood a little about their business. When the WBOC camera and microphone shows up, bystanders normally preen and pose. When the sports director comes out, he is accustomed to viewing younger athletes in uniforms. The pickleballers were not preening, and they certainly were not in uniform.

When Matt was setting up the camera, he had a gaggle of pickleballers milling all around him, and some bumping into his camera. As he was refocusing his camera, he scanned the crowd one more time and then looked at me, surprised and in bewilderment.

So what is a good pickleball holiday gift?

No doubt there is that special person in your life who has become addicted to pickleball, and you decided some time ago to buy a new pickleball paddle as a gift for this special person.

Flipping for Families event to support Alana Rose Foundation

Coastal Point • Submitted: The Alana Rose Foundation will host the Flipping for Families event at Mid-Coast Gymnastics on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m.Coastal Point • Submitted: The Alana Rose Foundation will host the Flipping for Families event at Mid-Coast Gymnastics on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m.For the second year in a row, the Alana Rose Foundation is teaming up with Mid-Coast Gymnastics to give kids the chance to have a fun afternoon while supporting other families.

The Alana Rose Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was borne out of the tragedy endured by Kyle Prettyman and Alexa Shoultes, who lost their daughter Alana Rose to a neurodegenerative disease at 15 months old, in December 2015.

According to its website, “The Alana Rose Foundation works to provide financial assistance to help with travel, housing and/or living expenses for qualified families, making children happier and healthier by keeping their family together.”

The Flipping for Families event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. The cost of admission is $10 per child, with children younger than 4 able to attend free of charge. Parents and caregivers may attend the event at no charge. There is no pre-purchase required; families may buy tickets at the door the day of the event.

IR boys’ soccer kicks off state tournament

Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: Indian River’s Juan Linares fights for control of the ball against McKean High School on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Dover High School. IR won the game 6-0 and advanced to the semi-finals vs. Delaware Military Academy.Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: Indian River’s Juan Linares fights for control of the ball against McKean High School on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Dover High School. IR won the game 6-0 and advanced to the semi-finals vs. Delaware Military Academy.The Indian River High School varsity boys’ soccer team began their climb to the summit of a Division II title with a very decisive 6-0 blanking of upstate challenger McKean High School (11-3-1) on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Dover High School.

Senior Indians offensive player Oscar Cruz Osorio scored all three points in the first period, starting with a penalty kick at 5:37.

That was followed minutes later with a series of calamities, ending at 14:17 with the McKean goalie landing on top of Cruz Osorio as the ball gently rolled into the net. Cruz Osorio was credited with the goal on an assist from Esly Carmona Deras, who also assisted in Osorio’s third goal of the period, with the clock at 53:19.

With a little help from Indians senior Egardo Velasquez, fellow senior Juan Linares booted in their first goal of the second period at 64:54. Velasquez was on the assist again at 69:32 when Carmona Deras hit the net with the Indians’ fifth goal. IR got a final point near the game’s end when sophomore Jared Cordoba finished it at 74:28 with an unassisted netting.

Indians football ends season with 35-point loss to Sussex Tech

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Indian River running back Adam Bordeau makes his read against the defensive line in IR’s 35-0 loss on Thursday, Nov. 9.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Indian River running back Adam Bordeau makes his read against the defensive line in IR’s 35-0 loss on Thursday, Nov. 9.Last Thursday, Nov. 9, Indian River High School’s varsity football team played their last game of the 2017 season. When it was over, there was the feel of a collective sigh from players, coaches and fans. The 1-9 2017 season will be a longtime losing Indian River benchmark.

The team that surprised a highly-ranked Glasgow High School 21-20 in mid-September suffered its ninth straight loss by mid-November — this one a 35-0 blanking from inter-county rivals the Golden Knights of Sussex Central.

Despite the loss, IR’s defense — which had allowed 35 points in the first half —prevented the Central team from scoring at all in the second half.

With just 3:38 minutes off the first-quarter clock, the Golden Knights offense got their first possession on an IR kickoff fumble at the 20-yard line, reaching the goal line in just two plays. The Golden Knights rallied on from there, scoring a total of 35 by halftime. But the Indians didn’t just give in.

Coastal Point Pickleball Worthies of 2017

Let’s stop the presses for at least one brief moment this week before yet another pickle harvest engulfs us. Before we hermetically seal the year 2017, I want to mention just a few people who I believe do more than the rest of us — much of it selflessly unseen — so the game of pickleball along our pickleball coast and beach resorts can be enjoyed by so many.

Indians fall to Lake Forest in rainy battle

Special to the Coastal Point  photos• Bruce Walls: Indian River field hockey players fight for ball control vs. Lake Forest, before ultimately falling 0-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 7.Special to the Coastal Point photos• Bruce Walls: Indian River field hockey players fight for ball control vs. Lake Forest, before ultimately falling 0-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 7.In a steady rain, 12th-seeded Indian River High School’s girl’s field hockey team faced 5th-seeded Lake Forest on the Spartans astro-turfed football field on Tuesday, Nov. 7, for round one of the DIAA State Tournament.

Under harsh conditions both defenses battled fiercely to keep their opponents from scoring. Then, with just over five minutes remaining in the second half, the Spartan offense scored the game’s only goal, breaking the longstanding tie.

“The girls played well,” said IR Head Coach Jodi Stone. “This is the second time we’ve made the tournament — two consecutive years — so as a young team we have to be proud of our journey. We were at least able to get to the tournament. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and we’re going to keep our heads high.”

Indian River soccer team falls to Laurel in battle for South title

Laurel Star • Mike McClure: Indian River’s Oscar Cruz-Osorio looks to hold back Laurel’s Santos Rodas as he dribbles the ball. Cruz-Osorio had a pair of assists in his team’s 4-2 road loss.Laurel Star • Mike McClure: Indian River’s Oscar Cruz-Osorio looks to hold back Laurel’s Santos Rodas as he dribbles the ball. Cruz-Osorio had a pair of assists in his team’s 4-2 road loss.The stars aligned for the Laurel varsity soccer team last Wednesday night. The Bulldogs’ home matchup against Indian River had been pushed back due to weather, setting up a final divisional showdown with the Indians for all the marbles and the Laurel team didn’t disappoint its fans.

The Bulldogs scored a pair of unanswered goals in the second half to win the game and the Henlopen South with the 4-2 victory.

“I didn’t sleep last night, that’s how nervous I was,” Laurel’s sophomore goalie Jailon Gillespie said. “It feels so good to beat a team you’ve never beaten and to be on top.”

Indian River took advantage of Laurel’s nervousness at the start of the game as Erick Aguilera-Baruch scored on a feed from Oscar Cruz-Osorio for a 1-0 Indian lead with 38:21 left in the first half.

Girls cross-country team makes history

Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: The girls’ cross-county team poses with their Southern Division Conference title trophy.Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: The girls’ cross-county team poses with their Southern Division Conference title trophy.Indian River High School’s varsity Girls Cross Country team made school history last Saturday, Nov. 4, at Killens Pond State Park where the Henlopen Conference Championships were being held. The girls brought home their first regular season Southern Division Conference title. They earned seven wins, beating Delmar, Dover, Polytech, Sussex Academy, Milford, Cape Henlopen and Sussex Central.

According to Coach Katie Ryman, who co-coaches the teams with her husband, Frank, it took, “Five years of hard training with different teams that we’ve had. We’ve built upon our successes every single year. This year we did our best to keep our runners as healthy as we could.”

The girls were 6th place overall, and individually Micayla Meehan was 8th overall with a time of 21:05 for 2nd team All-Conference, and Lauren Meehan finished 20th overall, with a time of 21:50 for 3rd team All-Conference.

“We had significantly fewer injuries and that was because we focused on speed in the beginning of the season. We always consider the fitness level of our runners, and any aches and pains from the previous days workouts were considered before deciding on a workout for each day,” Katie explained.

The boy’s cross-country runners finished 9th overall, with 2 medal winners. Junior Patrick Spencer was 12th overall with a time of 17:28, and junior Tony Velasquez, who was 10th in County, completing the distance in 18:02

IRSD ready to pursue Bermuda grass on fields

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Indian River is considering making the switch to Bermuda grass like this at Seaford High School.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Indian River is considering making the switch to Bermuda grass like this at Seaford High School.After tossing the idea around for years, the Indian River School District’s Board of Education unanimously voted this week to begin pursuing Bermuda grass for the football and field hockey stadiums at both high schools.

“I think the public is going to appreciate what we’re doing with these four fields,” said Joe Booth, supervisor of Buildings & Grounds. “I work for the district, but I also am a district resident. … I think this is a good thing moving forward, trying to improve these fields for our students.”

The optimum option would be artificial turf, he said, but Bermuda grass is a great runner-up.

“It’s mainly because of the recovery, and it gives you a little bit of the cushion. It’s mowed short so you don’t have a problem with cleats getting caught,” he said. Also, “It’s flat. It’s consistent all the way through.”

Pickleball Tips: Sweet Spot and Sweet Spots

Bonkeys in Ocean View is my favorite sweet spot. Too many trips to Bonkeys can definitely have a negative influence on finding the other sweet spot, the one on your pickleball paddle. It matters not how large your paddle sweet spot is if you can’t move into position to hit returns of serve and volleys.

Fourth annual Thanksgiving Day Gabby Gobble nears

Coming to the Delaware beaches for Thanksgiving and looking for a twist on your family tradition?

Join up for the Fourth Annual Gabby Gobble 5K on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, Nov. 23, at Irish Eyes Pub in Lewes. The race will begin at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds from the race will go to the Get Well Gabby Foundation.

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