Lay Indians debut season with win over Lake Forest
The Lady Indians’ varsity basketball team picked up right where they left off last season, as they hit the court at Lake Forest with a 49-31 win this past Monday, Dec. 6, to get the year rolling.
The Lady Indians have won the Southern Henlopen Conference for the past two years, and with the majority of their lineup returning, they’re focused on making it three years in a row.
“These conference wins early in the season are really big for us,” said Indian River head coach John Frye, “especially when we can grab them on the road. Lake always plays us tough, and coming into the season, I thought we may be a little bit behind, but we took control of the game and did what we needed to do.”
Lake Forest came out strong, though, posting up seven quick points for a discerning lead over the Lady Indians. But Indian River, led by point guard captain Destiny Blake, fired back 10 unanswered points in the first quarter to regain the lead.
“As a team, everybody played really well,” said Frye. “They kept their composure, even when we were trailing, early. Destiny’s work habits on the team have really picked up this year. Sometimes, she would have three players on her, and she was always looking for the open pass. We’re really trying to develop her in that role. A player doesn’t have to be a leader by scoring the most points. It comes down to attitude and composure, and she has all of that. She was putting other players where they needed to be.”
Indian River continued their battle against the Lady Spartans, pulling ahead 21-13 by halftime, then outscoring Lake Forest 28-16 in the second half. Blake led the team with 14 points, eight of which came from the free-throw line. Keeonya Shelton scored 13 points, while her sister, Keiosha Shelton, contributed eight, including a three-pointer.
“When the game starts getting chaotic and unraveled,” said Frye, “you need someone to really take control. Destiny does that for us, and Keeonya stepped up, too. When the pressure was on Destiny, she made herself available and got open.”
Playing away has never been too difficult for Indian River, who finished 9-1 on the road last year, but with a stretch of them to start this season off, Frye know his team has to be ready.
“We don’t have an easy schedule,” he said, “but it is what it is. We host Seaford later this month, and Laurel at the turn of the year, but nine of our first 11 games are away. The kids know what they have to do. It’s just a matter of execution. We’re going to have to hold our composure in these games. Opponents are going to make runs, and schools that we travel to are going to be noisy. Sometimes, we’re simply going to face talented teams. We’ve just got to play our game.
“The main part is getting through this early stretch of away games,” he added. “By the middle of the season, we have a lot of home games coming up, and we need to keep our heads up so we can improve as the year goes on.”
With the team’s success in the past few years, they have become the team the standard that other teams measure their performance.
“Now, we’ve got to take it to the next level,” said Frye. “We’re well-scouted now. Other teams know our players, and for the most part, they know how they’re going to play us when we face them. We need to make sure our execution is centered around our attention to detail. Sometimes, we’re going to have to look at other options to switch things up and keep our opponents on their toes. We need to be giving them different looks, and through practice, defining how we make those adjustments.
“All season long, we’ll be looking at different options, but staying together as a team. I want us to play hard and compete well in the South. Last year, Seaford was right on our heels. It’s going to come down to being aware of what teams are going to bring against you.”
The Lady Indians head to Woodbridge this Friday, Dec. 9, then travel to Cape Henlopen on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and to St. Elizabeth on Saturday, Dec. 17.