Braves cruise past Indianapolis Washington, 81-25

Indian Creek girls basketball coach Dan Burkman created an unusual but understandable rule for Tuesday night’s romp against Indianapolis Washington.

“At halftime, I implemented a 16-point rule,” Burkman said. “When you score 16 points or more, you’re coming out.”

Two hit their limit.

Burkman’s daughter, Katie Burkman, scored 17, and Celina McElroy added 16 points in the Braves’ 81-25 rout of Washington in the first round of the Class 3A Indian Creek sectional.

The Braves (18-4) will play Cardinal Ritter (17-5) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Danville (18-7), which blew by Northwest, 78-24, in the opening game Tuesday, will face Beech Grove (13-10) in the first semifinal contest Friday.

“I think Celina saw (Tuesday night) she could score any time she wanted,” said Burkman, whose team led 42-5 at halftime. “As well as Katie saw she could get an open shot any time she wanted.”

Indian Creek’s top scorer, Candace Danz, a senior, just missed getting yanked for scoring production, scoring 10 of her 14 points in the second half for the Braves. Eleven different Braves scored.

Only three players scored for the Continentals (5-13), who were led by Vashana Divine’s 11 points.

McElroy, a 5-foot-10 sophomore center/forward, scored six in the first quarter as the Braves scored the first 13 points en route to a 24-3 lead after the first quarter.

“As a team we were playing really well and there were a lot of open areas,” McElroy said. “Being able to score the first round sets the pace for the next round of sectionals.”

McElroy said she has become more comfortable shooting as the season has gone on.

“The team aspect helps you become comfortable with your shooting and your role,” McElroy said.

Burkman said McElroy’s game is progressing in the right direction.

“She hit a rough spot in the middle of the season where she was struggling a little bit,” Burkman said. “I told her this past week, she’s my starting center in the sectional, and she doesn’t need to get down on herself. We need her playing the way she can play.”

Katie Burkman, a 5-10 freshman, sank 5 of 8 from 3-point range. She is shooting around 40 percent from 3-point range for the season, her father said.

“We were trying to pass the ball more, so I wasn’t trying to shoot as much,” Katie Burkman said. “When I did shoot, it did go in, so that’s good. We were trying to get the ball to other teammates so they could have a chance to score, too.”

Burkman said she has been trying to drive to the basket more of late.

“There’s more to basketball than shooting,” she said. “Points aren’t all that matter. I’ve been trying to work on my defense and my rebounding, especially. I’m one of the tallest people out there for us.”

Katie Burkman started the season playing junior varsity.

“It’s an adjustment from last year and even JV. It’s a much faster pace,” she said.

Coach Burkman said he expects Ritter to present quite a challenge.

“I’ve watched several game films of them, and my assistant saw them in person,” Burkman said. “In my opinion, they look similar to us in many ways. They have a lot of talented kids who can all play, like we do.”

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Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.