North Decatur High School senior center Evan Wallpe was just too much for Indian Creek.
“We had no answer for him — he’s a giant,” Braves coach Derek Perry said. “We watched four or five films on him and have seen him live, and he does the same thing to every team. He’s big and he uses his body smartly.”
The 6-foot-5 Wallpe, an all-state defensive tackle for the Chargers’ football team, scored 27 points to propel North Decatur to a 69-66 victory against visiting Indian Creek in a crucial Mid-Hoosier Conference game Tuesday night.
North Decatur (12-6) improved 6-0 in the league with three conference games remaining. Indian Creek (14-5) dropped to 6-1 with two conference games left.
“We need help to get back in race,” said Perry, whose team won the outright conference title in 2015 and shared it with Knightstown in 2014. “All we can do is win out and see what happens.”
Indian Creek, which trailed 57-48 after three quarters, was forced to play catchup most of the game. Jared DeHart sank a 3-pointer to cut the Chargers’ lead to 68-64 with 14 seconds left.
After Andrew Hocker hit one of two free throws to push the lead to 69-64, the Braves missed a shot. However, DeHart was fouled and hit two free throws to cut the lead to 69-66 with just under four seconds to go. The Chargers’ Luke Badgley missed both free throws with 1.7 seconds left, but Wallpe intercepted a long pass to seal it.
The Chargers sank six 3-pointers, by five different players.
“They get you in a pickle because if you double-team down (on Wallpe), he kicks it out and they have shooters,” Perry said. “They have two or three guys on the perimeter that can shoot. They’re a good team. I thought we played well. The rebounds are what got us. We only gave up three offensive rebounds in the second half but gave up five or six in the first half. We did a better job in the second half.”
The Braves were short-handed late in the game as two starters were sidelined.
“Tyler (Parks) got busted in the mouth in the third quarter,” Perry said.
Parks was the out for the rest of the game. Gynson Robley, who was in foul trouble most of the game, fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
“I thought our bench gave us some good minutes,” Perry said. “I was proud of our effort and that we hung in there. We knew it was going to be tough.”
DeHart, a sophomore guard, was high scorer for the Braves with 24 points, hitting 4 of 9 3-point attempts and eight of 10 free throws. DeHart added seven assists.
“DeHart hit some really big shots, especially at the end,” Perry said.
Junior guard Tim Abel added 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting for Indian Creek. Bryce Hogue chipped in with 12 points for the Braves.
Indian Creek will play at Eastern Hancock on Saturday.