Braves boys, girls pick up conference wins

Daily Journal correspondent

Sometimes timing is everything. At least Indian Creek senior forward Gynson Robley said that was the case Friday night.

“I was in the right spot at the right time, honestly,” Robley said.

The 6-foot-3 Robley scored a career-high 27 points on 12 of 13 shooting to lead the host Braves to a 62-54 victory against Southwestern in Mid-Hoosier Conference play.

The Indian Creek girls had a much easier time, getting by Southwestern 68-39 in the opener.

While Robley did much of the damage, junior guard Tim Abel supplied the Braves’ biggest shot.

Abel, who missed his first nine shots, sank a 3-pointer to give Indian Creek the lead for good at 56-54 with about 85 seconds to go.

“It was a big shot when we needed it,” said Indian Creek coach Derek Perry, whose team improved to 13-3 and 6-0 in the conference.

Robley said he had confidence Abel would make it.

“Everybody struggles. You’ve just got to keep doing what you do and you’ll hit the shots,” Robley said.

After two Southwestern misses, Robley sank two free throws to push the lead to 58-54 with 20.7 seconds left. Jared DeHart added two free throws to seal it with 12.5 seconds to go.

The game was tied at 30-30 at halftime.

“Our attacking inside, especially with Gynson, is what we needed to do,” Perry said. “We get our inside guys going and we get our whole team going.”

Robley scored 14 of the Braves 18 points in the third quarter as the Braves led 48-43 heading into the final quarter. But the Spartans (8-5, 3-1) weren’t finished, regaining the lead at 54-53 with a little more than two minutes to go.

Braves junior forward Bryce Hogue added 14 points. DeHart, a sophomore guard, contributed 10 points and 13 assists.

“He’s been a great floor player for us all year long,” Perry said of DeHart. “He’s struggled a little bit shooting the ball but night in and night out he’s been solid as our point guard.”

Perry said Southwestern (8-5, 3-1) deserves credit for making the Braves work hard for the victory.

“They’re a good team,” Perry said. “They shot the ball well in the first half. It’s another Mid-Hoosier Conference rival and it just shows we have to play hard every night.”

Hayden Veach led four Spartans in double figures with 15 points.

The Indian Creek girls improved their record to 15-4 overall and 8-0 in the conference, clinching a share of the Mid-Hoosier title with one conference game left at South Decatur (0-8 in Mid-Hoosier) on Jan. 30. North Decatur is 7-1 in the conference.

The Braves got off to a 13-1 start against Southwestern (10-9, 6-3) before settling for a 17-7 first quarter lead.

“We busted out got a good 10- to 12-point lead and then it almost seemed like we were going to put it on cruise control,” Braves coach Dan Burkman said. “I think we’re learning as a young team to put the pedal down instead of letting a team hang around.

“At the end of the second quarter, we did that a little better and got up 22 (39-17) by halftime.”

Freshman Katie Burkman, the coach’s daughter, scored nine of her 12 points in the second quarter to get the Braves in gear again.

“I think that did help,” Dan Burkman said. “We’re up about 12 and she hit a couple of 3s and that helped guide us toward that 20-point lead.”

Senior guard Candace Danz agreed.

“We have a tough time putting teams away, but Katie always hits 3s when we need them,” Danz said.

Dan Burkman said his second unit played well in maintaining that lead.

“We have a young team and we’re pretty deep,” Dan Burkman said. “It’s a matter of getting playing time and (Friday night) was a good night for that.”

Danz, who has verbally committed to Marian University, led the Braves with 17 points. She now has 1,503 points for her career and needs less than 70 points to move into third place on the team’s all-time scoring list.

“If we have a good run in the sectional, she could easily get up to third on the scoring list,” Dan Burkman said. “Candace has really matured a lot in the last four years. If she stays focused on playing the game, it will happen.”

Danz said she wasn’t paying attention to how many points she needed. She was presented with a ball when she scored in the third quarter.

“It was cool and then we got the job done,” Danz said. “We had a lot of rotation and everyone was playing their best game I think.”

Logan DeArmitt scored 12 and Brooke Ezell 11 for the Spartans.

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Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.