The Whiteland boys basketball team got hit with a big opening run by Indian Creek on Thursday night — only to respond with a bigger one.

Down by a dozen early, the host Warriors responded by closing the half with an extended 31-8 surge and then held on for a 75-70 victory.

After Indian Creek came out and stunned the home crowd with a 14-2 blitz over the first four and a half minutes, Whiteland responded by outscoring the Braves 23-3 over an eight-minute span.

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That run, which included a pair of Brennan Neal 3-pointers and was capped by consecutive buckets from Nick Angerer, put the Warriors in front 25-17 with 3:35 to go in the half.

Whiteland coach Matt Wadsworth said that several players had a hand in that decisive stretch.

“One of the things we’ve talked about as a team is that we need all nine guys,” Wadsworth said. “When we were down 14-2, you go to the bench, and Isaac Ebeyer hits a 3. There was possession where he catches the ball in the post and he throws it out to Brennan, and he hits a 3. Across the board, we can look back and find a way that everybody sparked us.”

Down as many as 13, Indian Creek made several comeback attempts in the second half, only to be rebuffed.

Three 3-pointers by Zach Pugh in the third quarter helped get the Braves within five at 42-37 before a 3 from Luke Helton and a putback by Neal restored Whiteland’s double-digit cushion. In the fourth quarter, Indian Creek got as close as 52-46 on a Kyle Lime layup with 6:20 remaining, but Neal answered with a three-point play and the Warriors (7-9) were able to maintain at least a five-point lead the rest of the way.

“There were times where I thought we defended pretty well and they still made shots,” Indian Creek coach Drew Glentzer said.

Jared DeHart scored 28 points in defeat for Indian Creek (11-6), including 18 in the fourth quarter as he fought in vain to rally the Braves back.

“We came out strong and focused, everybody was playing hard,” DeHart said, “and then we kind of got relaxed and they came back and kind of punched us in the mouth.”

Pugh added 17 points for the visitors.

Neal paced Whiteland with 26, while Carter Crowe matched DeHart’s 18 fourth-quarter points, hitting two key 3s and then making 12 foul shots in a row down the stretch. Crowe finished a perfect 14 of 14 from the line and scored 20 overall.

The Warriors travel to Bloomington North on Saturday, while the Braves — who haven’t had a home game since Dec. 19 — host Indianapolis Herron next Friday.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.