If Indian Creek boys basketball is going to reverse its habit of losing to Whiteland, tonight would be the ideal setting.
It’s the Johnson County Boys Basketball Tournament semifinals, after all.
A big stage with even bigger stakes.
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The Warriors’ dominance includes wins in 12 of the past 13 games against Indian Creek dating back to the start of the 2005-06 season. The teams met in last season’s county semifinals at Greenwood Community High School, with Whiteland prevailing 67-61.
“It always seems like Whiteland is real physical, especially on the defensive end, and maybe that’s given us some problems in the past,” said Braves coach Derek Perry, whose squad advanced with a one-point win against Greenwood on Wednesday.
“Their team this year has a kid at every spot who is pretty good. (Terr’e) Moss is a facilitator for them, and (Will) Higdon has really been shooting the ball well.”
Whiteland will be without scoring leaderTom Purdie, who is suspended for disciplinary reasons, Whiteland athletics director Ken Sears said.
Indian Creek at 12-1 is the lone non-Class 4A program making it to tonight’s doubleheader on the Braves’ home floor. Whiteland (8-2) is the tournament’s No. 1 seed, having already secured regular-season wins against county foes Center Grove and Greenwood.
This evening’s first game features 19-time and defending tourney titlist Center Grove (5-6), the third seed, taking on No. 2 seeded Franklin (7-2).
These teams met only 10 days ago, with the host Grizzly Cubs pulling out a 57-52 triumph.
Four of the past six meetings between these longtime rivals have been decided by seven or less points.
“The last game was quite a battle. I thought we stayed engaged in the competition the entire game, and Center Grove seems good at that, too,” Franklin coach Brad Dickey said. “We still do the same things, and we have to do them better.”
Dickey and Trojans coach Zach Hahn are both emphasizing the need for fewer turnovers considering the teams combined for 30 in the first meeting.
“We need to limit turnovers and keep guys in front of us,” Hahn said. “We have to make sure (Cameron) Smith doesn’t get going, as well as keep their post off the boards.”
The Grizzly Cubs’ leading scorer at 15.2 points a game, the 6-foot-3 Smith, a left-hander, produced only seven points the first time the teams played.
Historically, the Trojans dominate, with seven of the 11 Johnson County Tournament trophies since the event returned in 2005 following a nearly four-decades hiatus.
The other four are property of Franklin, which claimed local bragging rights in 2005, 2010, 2013 and 2014.
Whiteland is looking to end a 61-year dry spell after most recently winning it in 1955. An Indian Creek championship would be the first in school history, although the Trafalgar Redbirds did reign supreme in 1922, 1957 and 1958.
There have been two programs to capture four consecutive county titles — Greenwood from 1939 to 1942 and Center Grove from 2006 to 2009.
At Indian Creek High School
Center Grove (5-6) vs. Franklin (7-2), 6 p.m.
Indian Creek (12-1) vs. Whiteland (8-2), 7:30 p.m.
At Indian Creek
Fifth-place game, 4 p.m.
Third-place game, 5:45 p.m.
Championship game, 7:30 p.m.