DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
The Mid-Hoosier Conference title is within the Indian Creek boys basketball team’s grasp.
Indian Creek, in the middle of a four-game home stand, used its home court to its advantage Thursday night in beating league rival North Decatur 69-59.
With the win, the Braves (13-5) extended their conference unbeaten record to 7-0 and at the same time damaged North Decatur’s hopes for a conference title by handing the Chargers their second league loss.
For the Chargers to at least gain a piece of the title they have to win their final league game and hope the Braves lose twice and Hauser loses one more conference game.
All the Braves need now is at least one more win in conference play to clinch at least a tie for their second straight championship. They can do that Saturday against visiting Eastern Hancock.
“It’s nice to be 7-0 with only two conference games left,” Braves coach Derek Perry said. “This was a big win against a very good team.”
Indian Creek’s defense, coupled with North Decatur’s ball-handling problems, threatened to turn the game into a blowout. The Chargers had three turnovers and didn’t even have a shot attempt in the first two minutes.
But once North Decatur scored, it settled in and traded baskets with the Braves for much of the first half. The difference was the quickness with which Indian Creek kept the Chargers off-balance.
Getting off to fast start was a main part of of the Braves’ strategy.
“We talked about that before the game,” Perry said. “We did let them back in, but there’s no doubt the start was the key.”
Senior guard Dylan Phair led the Braves with 19 points. Senior Spencer Wood added 15, and junior Gynson Robley had 11 points.
The balance was especially welcome on a night when sophomore Tim Abel sat out with a back injury.
“It’s been like that all year,” Perry said. “All seven of our guys contributed, and that always helps.”
North Decatur, which cut the lead to 56-52 with a little more than three minutes to play, ended up turning the ball over six times in the final minutes.
The Chargers were led by Dayne Lecher’s game-high 20 points.
Indian Creek’s win was its second straight and fourth overall in the past five games. The Chargers saw a three-game winning streak end.