DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Indian Creek combined a stellar passing game, another good game from standout scorer Candace Danz and strong contributions from two starting freshmen to record a 48-35 win against host Edgewood Thursday evening.
The game started off with a very quick tempo as both teams played aggressive man-to-man defense. While Edgewood took an early lead behind some hot outside shooting by senior Hannah Pitcher, Indian Creek began to pull away in the second quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 16-5 in the period with a number of transition baskets due to good passing on the fast break.
Danz was on the finishing end of a number of these scores, as she filled the lane well and avoided defenders with driving layups on the way to a game-high 20 points. Her movement without the ball was exceptional and the team’s passing game to create layups was at times in top form Thursday night, as Braves coach Dan Burkman pointed out.
“That was kind of our game plan. We wanted to pick up the tempo because a faster-paced game would benefit us,” Burkman said. “As the second quarter went on, we started playing better offensively with some good passing.”
Two freshmen starters changed things up for Indian Creek. Point guard Addie Rund handled the ball extremely well against pressure, connected with a number of incisive passes to set up baskets and caused a number of Edgewood turnovers despite having to sit out several minutes with foul trouble.
Center Celina McElroy was a force inside, scoring 11 points with some good post moves and pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Burkman agreed that both freshmen were important factors in the win.
“Addie obviously brings a lot or she wouldn’t be out there,” he said. “She’s very aggressive and likes to play defense which I really like. She gives us another good ball-handler which allows Candace to play away from the ball where she can be really dangerous.
“Without Addie we would struggle in doing a lot of things we are doing well.”
In McElroy’s case, the strong performance came despite frequent double and sometimes triple teams from the Mustangs’ defense.
“She and Candace were the focus of their team, but Celina has made the transition from middle school to high school basketball probably smoother than any player I’ve ever coached,” Burkman said. “She’s smart and can do a lot of things inside with the basketball, plus she’s a good rebounder too so she too makes a big difference for us.”
Indian Creek led by more than 20 points until a brief Edgewood rally in the closing minutes of the game made the final margin of victory more narrow than the game actually proceeded.
The Braves (12-3) host Waldron on Saturday.