Of all the statistics tallied by the Indian Creek girls basketball team through nine games, one category in stands out to coach Dan Burkman.

It’s rebounding. The Braves average 36.3 rebounds per game, and it’s a major reason why they are off to a 7-2 start.

“I’ve been kind of surprised with how we’re playing. We’re rebounding better than I thought we would,” Burkman said. “Rebounding better has been an emphasis for us from summer all the way until now.

“Last year we just didn’t rebound worth a darn.”

Story continues below gallery

That was reflected in the form of a

9-13 record, the only time the Braves finished below .500 during his previous five seasons.

It’s been a group effort with 5-foot-10 junior Candace Danz’s 6.9 boards a game being just a few ticks higher than the 6.7 of Celina McElroy, a 5-11 freshman center. Senior “2” guard Alexis McGregor is rebounding at a 5.7 pace.

Pretty impressive considering Danz and McGregor are crucial elements of what can be a three- or sometimes even four-guard lineup.

“We’re not really a tall team, so we’ve worked a lot on blocking out. But I think we could rebound better,” the 5-8

McGregor said.

“I knew with the freshmen we had we would be better than we were last year. I’m kind of surprised (at being 7-2), but we could easily be 9-0.”

Both the Class 3A Braves’ losses came against Class 4A opponents — a buzzer-beating loss to Whiteland in a first-round game of the Johnson County Tournament, and last week’s 54-43 setback against Martinsville.

Indian Creek’s core four is made up of starters Danz (17.9 ppg), McElroy (12.4), McGregor (10.8) and 5-5 freshman point guard Addie Rund (7.6). Depending on matchups, 5-6 junior Cassie Smith (4.0) or 5-7 senior Raven Danz (1.6) draw starts.

Off the bench, Mikaela Smith, a 5-7 senior, has been utilized along with another freshman in 5-8 Lacie Tekulve.

Along with outrebounding foes by an average of six a game, Indian Creek has more than doubled other teams in assists, 139-65. The Braves also own a 125-87 advantage in total steals and are limiting opponents to .328 field-goal shooting — including 23 percent from beyond the 3-point stripe.

One area Burkman would like the Braves to clean up is turnovers. They go into Saturday afternoon’s game against visiting Beech Grove averaging 16.6 per outing.

“Generally speaking, we need to continue getting better being unselfish. We could be undefeated if we didn’t turn the ball over so much,” Burkman said. “I think we’re doing a better job of it than we were early in the season, but there is definitely room for improvement.”

Not to mention plenty of opportunities.

After hosting the Hornets, Indian Creek is idle until Jan. 3, when it takes part in the Franklin Tournament. The Braves face the host Grizzly Cubs in the 10:30 a.m. opener, with Game 2 pairing Rushville against Batesville.

Then it’s a pair of key Mid-Hoosier Conference games. Indian Creek hosts Edinburgh on Jan. 7 and is at North Decatur on Jan. 10.

Indian Creek is averaging 16 victories a season since Burkman became coach in 2009 and has a pair of sectional titles to go along with it. The Braves appear to be on pace to at least approach that number in the coming weeks.

Continued success rebounding promises to help their cause greatly.

At a glance


Here are Indian Creek’s leading rebounders going into Saturday’s home game against Beech Grove:

Player;Rebounding average

Candace Danz ;6.9

Celina McElroy;6.7

Alexis McGregor;5.7

Raven Danz;2.6

Cassie Smith;2.4

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.