Game of the Week
Be for Real
of Past Two Seasons
Audio | Video | Boys' Basketball Forum
Photo: Above, Seaford point guard Shirelle Tingle flicks the ball away from Indian River's Dayna Elliott. Below, IR's Brittany Croll pump fakes on Seaford's Cassandra Wright and Ashlee Burbage.
FRANKFORD -- The nightmare in Frankford could finally be ending.
With a 62-43 Henlopen Conference Southern Division victory over visiting Woodbridge on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2000, the Indian River High School boys' basketball team equalled its win total for the past two seasons combined.
A 19-point loss to Seaford on Tuesday notwithstanding, the Indians, at 3-1 overall and in the Henlopen South, appear poised to erase the nightmare of the winless season in 1999 and the 3-17 campaign last year.
To understand how difficult the past two seasons have been for the Indians and their diehard fans, a bit of history is in order.
Indian River has more division titles than any other Henlopen Conference program with 18, and it has followed those up with six conference championships and two state titles.
The Indians were particularly dominant in the 1990s with seven division titles before the disastrous, unthinkable, winless season of 1999.
On Thursday night, the Indians continued the healing process with the impressive win over Woodbridge.
Behind 14 points apiece from 6-10 junior center Justin Tomlinson and T.C. Blake and 11 more by Jermaine Harris, the Indians overcame a 7-point second period deficit to drop the Blue Raiders to 1-2 in the division and overall.
Indian River trailed 19-12 midway through the second period when head coach Curt Bunting changed his team's zone defense from a 2-1-2 to a 3-2.
The switch had an immediate impact, as it shut down the Raiders' outside shooters, eliminated Woodbridge's offensive rebounding on the weak side, and gave the Indians a spark in a game in which they had been outhustled.
After the switch, the Indians went on a 12-0 run capped by a followup dunk by Brandon Clark, a driving layup by James Bratten, and a jumper by Harris.
Suddenly, the Indians led 24-19 with 2:15 remaining before halftime, and they would never trail again.
The Indians continued to build on their lead in the second half. They went ahead by double digits, 40-30, for the first time on a jumper by Blake, and increased the advantage to 45-30 late in the third quarter on a follow by Tomlinson and a three-pointer by Blake.
The lead eventually reached 21 points late in the game.
Woodbridge, which shot less than 25 percent for the game, was led by guard Jeremy Maddox's 15 points including a pair of three-pointers. Miguel Serpa and A.J. Neal added 8 points apiece.
WOODBRIDGE (43) -- Jamil Young 0 2-2 2, Jeremy Maddox 5 3-5 15, Brandon Dennis 0 0-0 0, Miguel Serpa 4 0-0 8, Doug Avery 1 1-3 3, Sharone Sampson 1 0-0 2, Eddie Henry 1 0-0 2, D.D. Kane 1 0-0 3, A.J. Neal 3 2-2 8, Tom Jefferson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 8-12 43.
INDIAN RIVER (62) -- Bradfor Morris 4 1-2 9, Jermaine Harris 5 0-0 11, T.C. Blake 5 3-6 14, Brandon Clark 3 0-0 6, Keshawn Gibbs 0 2-4 2, Buster Belote 1 0-0 2, Justin Tomlinson 6 2-2 14, James Bratten 2 0-0 4. TOTALS 6 7-15 20.
Three-point field goals: Woodbridge 3 (Maddox 2, Kane); Indian River 2 (Blake, Harris).
Photos: Above left, Indians River's Dayna Elliott tries to fend off Seaford's Elise Wynn. Above right, Indian River's Natalie Parsons (left) collides with Seaford's Chaunta Kilgoe.
IR coach Curt Bunting on ending the nightmarish memories of the last two seasons:
"I knew coming in this year that we had some talent. I knew people from the outside didn't think we could but the guys worked hard in the off-season and with that and the combination of the transfer and some other guys, and even with the Gibbs kid, we got stronger than in years past. I knew last year we were going to take our bumps, but it just goes to show you that these guys working in our brand new facility weight room and playing year-round, it's starting to gel now. I'm proud of the kids because we're finding ways to win. We were patient on offense. We executed our offense to our big guys. We knew coming in that we were way bigger than Woodbridge. So I told the guys before the game we've got to be patient on offense and work the ball inside and that's what we did and Justin had 14 points. He did his job and I'm proud of him."
Bunting on his goals for the 2000-2001 season:
"My goal coming into this season. Obviously we won only three games and we've won three now. My goal was to be at least .500. I felt like if we came in this year with a .500 record, if we won 10 games, that we would be much better."
Bunting on the zone defense that forced Woodbridge into less than 25 percent shooting:
"We started out in a 2-1-2 zone and we got hurt a little bit on our weak side rebounding so we switched it up on our 3-2 zone to match up on their shooters. They have some shooters. We matched up on them pretty well. We knew where their shooters were at all times and we closed out on tem good defensively and we contested their shots. We held them under 30 percent shooting and that was good for a team like Woodbridge, which can shoot."
Bunting on Tomlinson:
"Justin struggled the last two games and I had a long talk with Justin before the game. I told Justin that when he comes in with an attitude that he's going to take control of the game, he can do it. He came in with that attitude tonight and he controlled the game. When we can work the ball to Justin and Justin wants the ball, then that benefits us because we're working our strengths on our team."
Woodbridge head coach Barry Connors on the game:
"When they switched from man to zone our kids just did not hit the shots. We shot less than 25 percent from the floor tonight. They had a nice zone, the 3-2 was pretty good and they extended it a little bit and widened it out. Our two best three-point shooters, Maddox and Avery, between the two of them were like 2 for 24 from three-point territory. We've got to shoot threes to survive because we have a small unit. If we hit a third of them to half of them we're in good shape. If we don't hit our third, we're hurting and we know that. We just have to come back against Laurel and hopefully they'll go down."
Copyright © 1999-2000 Sussex County Online