With 56.7 seconds remaining and any chance of a miracle comeback out of reach Wednesday, Tim Abel and Bryce Hogue made the slow walk back to the Indian Creek bench.
It was a game lost, but a career won.
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Falling short to Beech Grove at the Class 3A Danville Sectional 74-58, Indian Creek’s seniors exited proudly by combining for 41 of their team’s points.
The 6-foot-2 Abel poured in 26 points and collected a game-high nine rebounds. Hogue, a 6-2 forward/ center, added 15 points and four boards.
“It’s tough,” Indian Creek coach Derek Perry said. “I told them that I loved them and the careers they’ve had … they won almost 60 games in four years. That hasn’t happened here for kids playing four years since the 1980s.
“I told them they had established a winning tradition. You always want to get a championship, but these guys have set the bar for the younger players.”
Indian Creek finishes with a 15-9 record. The Braves are a combined 58-34 during the past four seasons.
Wednesday’s loss, the program’s 12th straight to Beech Grove, wasn’t anywhere close to as lopsided as the final count indicates.
The Hornets led 46-43 through three periods. Up to that point there had been 13 different occasions in which the teams were separated by a single point.
But with 6:56 remaining in the fourth and his squad down 51-48, Indian Creek junior point guard Jared DeHart was whistled for a charge — his fifth personal foul of the game.
The Braves struggled minus their primary ballhandler. The Hornets swarmed, going on a 14-4 scoring run to put the game away.
“It is what it is. They called it, so we have to deal with it,” Perry said. “It’s obviously tough playing without him, but I thought our other guys played hard for 32 minutes. That’s all I asked for at the beginning of the game, and they did that.”
Beech Grove coach Matt English, who received 26 points from senior guard Dylan Allen, pointed to DeHart’s fifth foul as the obvious game-changer.
“I thought our kids showed good poise,” English said. “We knew Indian Creek was good and physical, and they play hard. DeHart is very good, Abel is very good and the Hogue kid is a good player. I was proud of our guys for sticking to what we wanted to do.”
Indian Creek closed the second quarter with a 7-2 scoring run to trail only by a single point at halftime, 28-27.
The Braves led on just two occasions, both in the first half — 3-2 early in the first and 17-16 at 5:01 of the second. A three-point play and 3-point shot by Allen put Beech Grove back on top.
Hogue splashed a 3 from the right wing to pull the Braves to within 22-20, but the Hornets responded with four straight points from junior point guard Kenny Washington for their biggest lead of the half.