DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRSPONDENT
Indian Creek played so well in the second quarter, its coach hated to take a break in its Class 3A boys basketball sectional semifinal battle with tournament-host Danville on Friday night.
After scoring just seven points in the opening quarter — and looking susceptible to an early rout — the Braves put it all together in the second period, surprising the suddenly flat sixth-ranked Warriors.
Indian Creek hit 7 of 9 shots in the quarter and roared back to lead by three points on three occasions before settling for a one-point edge at the intermission.
“We had that momentum and made a run in the second quarter,” said Braves coach Derek Perry, managing a brief grin afterward. “It would have been great to keep it going.”
But Danville quashed Indian Creek’s momentum, wasting no time reasserting itself in the third period. The Warriors took over at both ends of the floor and outscored the visiting challengers by nine heading into the last eight minutes.
Before it was over, Danville upped its advantage to 20 points before the Braves whittled the final deficit to 13 just before the buzzer. The confident hosts prevailed 66-53.
“We didn’t do the things to win the basketball game, take care of the ball and play transition defense,” Perry said. “They (the Warriors) shot layups against us.
“I think our kids saw what level you have to play at to beat a team like Danville.”
The Warriors improved to 21-4 and advanced to meet Tri-West Hendricks, a 63-50 winner of Beech Grove in the first semifinal matchup, in tonight’s championship game.
Junior forward Ryan Cloncs hit 10 of 13 field-goal attempts and led all scorers with 23 points, including 14 in the first quarter, and took down a game-best eight rebounds.
Luke Callahan, a senior forward, added 16 points, and Jake Elliott and Jayson Stone contributed nine points apiece.
Senior guards Spencer Wood and Dylan Phair tallied 11 points each to lead Indian Creek.
Braves senior Braxton Zachary saw considerable time in the middle and added nine points and five rebounds.
Indian Creek finished a very successful season with a 16-6 record.
The Braves closed out their regular season with five straight wins prior to the tournament.
“I told our guys maybe they’ll remember what we did,” said Perry. “We were 9-0 in the Mid-Hoosier Conference and we had the most (overall) wins since the late 1980s.
“It doesn’t always end the way you want it to and when you want it to, but it does end. I feel like we’re building a tradition here at Indian Creek.”