IR, Tech basketball win big at annual Governor’s Challenge

SALISBURY, Md. – The Indian River and Sussex Tech boys’ basketball squads combined to go a perfect 4-0 at this year’s Governor’s Challenge holiday tournament in Salisbury, Maryland Tuesday Dec. 26 and Wednesday, Dec. 27.

Indian River, sporting a 3-4 season record heading into the tournament, competed in session I’s Boys’ Basketball Bracket No. 6 with Queen Anne’s (MD), Nandua (VA) and Carver Vo-Tech (MD). The squad came away with wins on consecutive days to capture the bracket championship.

The championship victory extends IR’s win streak to three games, putting IR back above .500 following the team’s four-game losing streak dating from Dec. 5 to Dec. 19.

“We’re starting to play better, we beat Delmar (Dec. 19) and now it’s three in a row,” said IR head coach B.J. Joseph. “We have to try to keep it rolling here. We’ve lost three games by three points, so we just didn’t know how to win yet but I think now we do.”

Sussex Tech, with a 3-1 season record prior to the tournament, competed in Session I’s Boys’ Bracket No. 3 with Cambridge-South Dorchester (MD), SEED School (Washington D.C.) and New Era Academy (MD).

IR boys’ basketball poses with the Governor’s Challenge trophy after winning its bracket Wednesday night (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Tech managed a pair of wins Tuesday and Wednesday to capture its respective bracket championship.

In the tournament’s opener, IR handed Queen Anne’s a 61-35 loss behind a game-high 18 points from junior Jamier Felton. Felton (18 points, 12 rebounds), junior Ja’Shaun Johnson (15 points, 12 rebounds) and junior Antonio Jones (12 points, 10 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles in the win.

While IR was running up and down the court on the Q.A. Lions, one court over Tech was putting up 50+ points on Cambridge-South Dorchester in the first half alone.

They would go on to win the first-round game 81-25 behind a 15-point performance from senior guard Jaquan Burton. Senior forward Kamron Williams added another 10 points for Tech and, in total, all 11 players who suited up would score four or more points.

Wednesday’s Day 2 action included a championship performance from both squads, as Sussex Tech defeated Seed School, 88-62, behind a 29-point performance from Burton.

Sophomore Ricky Kane recorded a double-double, putting up 14 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes of play. Elshaddai Mifflin (12 points) and Kamron Williams (10 points) also finished in double-digits for Tech.

Junior Jamier Felton dribbles up the court in IR’s bracket 6 win Wednesday night (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Indian River capped its Governor’s Challenge schedule with a 68-59 championship win over Carver Vo-Tech.

Felton scored a team-high 26 points in 27 minutes of play. He also reeled in six rebounds and dished out five assists for the Indians.

“It feels good to get back on a winning streak,” Felton said. “I know, in the beginning of the season, we were 2-0 but then we went down and lost four in a row. The Delmar game was a must-win in the South, so luckily, we beat Delmar and coach told us ‘hey, we can win these two games at the Governor’s Challenge.’ So that’s what we came out here and did. It was a great experience for everyone.”

Teammate Antonio Jones scored 11 points, shooting 5-for-7 from the floor, and reeled in four rebounds in the win.

“It feels great coming out here,” Antonio Jones added of the Governor’s Challenge experience. “I’ve seen some players I’ve never seen before, there are a lot of great players out here.”

Both Jones and Felton characterized the tournament win as a confidence-booster as they head back into the thick of their Henlopen Conference schedule next week.

Tech will resume its schedule with a home match-up against a tough Cape Henlopen squad Tuesday, Jan. 2.

IR will resume with a match-up on the road at Sussex Academy Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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