Indio boys’ basketball coach Ivery Thompson looked ready for a celebration.
Donning a black suit (with silken, silver vest and tie) in which he was recently married, Thompson coached and coaxed his Rajahs to a dramatic, 55-49 overtime home win over Desert Valley League rival La Quinta on Tuesday night. The win gave Indio sole possession of second place in the conference.
“I had to pull out all stops tonight because I knew it was gonna be tough,” said Thompson.
And while the victory wasn’t quite as stylish as their leader’s attire, the fourth consecutive conference win for Indio evidenced all the pluck and grit for which the Rajahs have become known under Thompson.
Trailing La Quinta 37-33 entering the final period of play, a nine-point fourth quarter from senior captain Cesar Cid led the Indio charge to overtime. In the extra session, Thompson’s change of the Rajahs defensive strategy led the hosts to a 6-0 overtime scoring edge.
“We did a really good job of changing our defense,” Thompson said. “I told the kids, ‘We’ve been going man-man and pressure-pressure and now we’re gonna sit and wait on the ball and force them to make mistakes.’ I thought we did a really disciplined job of not getting out of sync.”
Cid led all scorers with 17 points and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas added 15 more. A Cid steal in the game’s final seconds of regulation led to an 18-foot Thomas try that found the glass and rim before the two teams went to overtime at 49 apiece.
While the visiting Blackhawks received contributions from eight different players and were led in scoring by a 16-point effort from stellar sixth man Kameron Dashner, Indio continues to excel despite a lack of roster options.
“You know, we only have seven guys,” Thompson said of a Rajahs’ squad ranked 15th in Division 3A. “I don’t think people understand how hard these seven guys play every night. They’re 15-6, they won a championship out in the Hemet Tournament and nobody is really talking about these seven guys playing this hard every single night. It’s just a testament to what these guys wanna do.”
Seeking a fifth straight DVL win, Indio (5-2 DVL) is now primed for a marquee matchup when it travels to conference-leading Palm Desert next Thursday night.
After four consecutive DVL wins of its own, La Quinta (10-11, 4-3 DVL) has now lost back-to-back games and aims to return to the win column when it hosts Coachella Valley on Tuesday.