Graduation cost the Indian Creek boys basketball team its leading scorer and a number of playmakers.
So expectations are naturally low for the 2015-16 season, right? Wrong.
With the return of five players who were either full-time or part-time starters on last year’s 16-6 team, the Braves expect nothing less than to contend for conference, county and sectional championships.
“We’ve got a good nucleus back. It just seems like everything’s flowing well,” sixth-year coach Derek Perry said. “It just makes it nice when you can have five kids back that saw a lot of varsity action.
“It makes practice a little bit easier. You’re still teaching, but maybe not as much because it’s more fine-tuning some things and really working on the things that you do.”
Leading the way for the Braves are seniors Tyler Parks and Gynson Robley, juniors Bryce Hogue and Tim Abel and sophomore Jared DeHart. All five have starting pedigrees, and all five are expected to be full-time starters.
Parks, a forward, and DeHart, a point guard, were honorable mention All-County selections last season.
Those players will be complemented in an eight-player rotation that is expected to include seniors Chris McGillem, Jarrett Rozzi and Max Pugh.
In short, the Braves are experienced, well-versed in the system and poised to build on last year’s success. They won a second straight Mid-Hoosier Conference championship and appear poised for a successful defense.
“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble picking up where we left off,” Perry said. “We start with the Mid-Hoosier Conference. That’s our goal every year. We’ve been fortunate enough to win it two years in a row. This year, I don’t see any reason why we can’t win it again.”
Besides experience and chemistry, the Braves’ strength is executing an uptempo offense that averaged just under 70 points per game last season.
Defensively, Indian Creek allowed only 59 points per game last year and should be strong in that area, as well. The Braves, per usual, expect to generate points from their defense.
“Our transition has been good in practice, just getting up the floor quick. We’re going to play uptempo,” Perry said. “Transition is one of our goals, and one of our strong points. We seem to be moving the ball pretty well.
“We’ve gelled very well. It just seems like we’ve kind of put it all together.”
Indian Creek opened the season with a 73-39 win against county rival Edinburgh. The Braves, whose sectional field now includes two-time defending state champion Park Tudor, which moved up to Class 3A this season, return to action Friday night at Morristown.
“We’re taking it one practice at a time, one game at a time, just not looking ahead to anyone,” Perry said. “We’re more focused on what we need to do as a team and taking care of ourselves.”
Nov. 28;*Edinburgh;3:30 p.m.
Dec. 4;at Morristown;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 5;Hauser;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11;Greenwood Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 12;at Knightstown;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18;Martinsville;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 29;Monrovia Tournament;TBA
Jan. 2;at Greensburg;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5;Oldenburg Academy;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9;at South Decatur;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22;Southwestern;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 30;at Brown County;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4;at Whiteland;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9;at North Decatur;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 13;at Eastern Hancock;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20;Tri-West;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 23;Greenwood;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 26;at Waldron;7:30 p.m.