Braves advance to title game at Monrovia


Indian Creek High School junior guard Tim Abel wasn’t thrilled with his shooting performance in the opening game of the Bulldog Holiday Classic.

The second game was a whole different story.

“Shots were falling before the game in warm-ups,” Abel said. “So I thought let it fly in the first half. I happened to hit them and when I hit them that’s good for us.”

Abel scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter in the Braves’ 73-36 romp over North Putnam on Tuesday in the semifinals at Monrovia High School.

Indian Creek (7-1) will play the winner of Tuesday night’s Bethesda Christian-Brown County game in tonight’s 7:30 p.m. championship.

The Braves beat Daleville 49-40 in an opening-round game Tuesday morning. Abel delivered a team-high 16 points in that game.

Abel sank three 3-pointers in the first quarter as Indian Creek grabbed a 25-10 lead. The Braves expanded the lead to 39-19 before North Putnam scored the final seven points of the half.

The Cougars (3-6) managed a mere 10 points in the second half.

“We had 12-plus minutes in the first half that were pretty good, and then the last three-plus minutes we let them creep back in and cut it to 13,” Indian Creek coach Derek Perry said.

“At halftime, we talked about extending the lead and keep doing things we were doing well. I thought we did that in the third quarter and continued that in the fourth quarter. I was hoping we’d finish the morning game out like that.”

Abel said the halftime discussion was key against North Putnam.

“Defensively, we shut down a little bit in the second quarter,” Abel said. “We had our offense rolling. But whenever we get our offense rolling, we seem to let down on defense a little bit. We talked about that at halftime, got it under control and shut them down defensively.”

Also scoring in double-figures for Indian Creek were sophomore guard Jared DeHart with 15 points and senior forward Gynson Robley with 10. Tyler Parks just missed with nine points.

“I thought we shot the ball pretty well,” Perry said. “We have three or four guys in double-figures all year. That’s what makes our team successful.”

Against Daleville, Indian Creek led 24-15 at halftime and 34-28 after three quarters. Robley added 14 points and DeHart nine points for the Braves.

Perry was pleased how his team responded after a long layoff, losing to visiting Martinsville 93-59 on Dec. 18.

“We didn’t end that last game the way I wanted to against Martinsville,” Perry said. “(Tuesday) we bounced back a little bit, and hopefully we’ll get another win (tonight). We’re going to get home and get some rest and be ready for it.”

Greenwood Christian’s Cougars lost to North Putnam 45-40 in the first game of the tournament. Hunter Slater was high scorer for the Greenwood Christian with 17 points.

Daleville (2-7) then nipped Greenwood Christian, 43-42, in the second game. Krae Sparks led the Cougars (1-8) with 16 points. Greenwood Christian will play Shoals (1-6) at 3 p.m. today.

Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.