With 21.2 seconds remaining in Jared DeHart’s high school basketball career, he walked slowly off the court and into the embrace of Indian Creek coach Drew Glentzer.
The senior point guard, the definition of effort and a four-year starter for the Braves who surpassed 1,000 career points earlier this season, had done all he could.
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The same goes for his teammates.
But the Danville Warriors, 82-59 winners in Friday night’s second semifinal at the Beech Grove Sectional, aren’t ranked sixth in Class 3A by accident.
Every member of its starting lineup standing between 6-foot-3 and 6-6, Danville dominated the interior to qualify for tonight’s championship game. The Warriors face the host Hornets, who moved on courtesy of a 75-58 defeat of Indianapolis Manual.
The Warriors (19-4) scored 77 points in the final three periods combined after tallying only five the first stanza.
“It was one of those things where we did a good job and we had the pace of the game kind of where we wanted,” Glentzer said. “And then, obviously, their size hurt us. It’s not a team you want to play from behind.
“We had to spread out a lot more and guard. They obviously high-lowed and got the ball inside and took advantage of our lack (of size).”
Danville, which goes 6-6, 6-6, 6-5 along the frontline, used that trio to combine for 57 points and 18 rebounds. The biggest thorn in the Braves’ side, literally, was senior Alec Burton, a tight end in football who has signed to play Saturday afternoons at Indiana University.
Burton finished with 21 points and a game-high dozen boards. In all, four Warriors finished in double-figures in points as the team shot a balmy 26 of 45 (.578) from the floor.
DeHart’s 27 points and seven rebounds paced Indian Creek in both categories. Junior forward Isaiah Lacey, too, was superb with 18 points and five boards.
Afterward, Glentzer spoke of the impact DeHart has had on the Braves’ program since the outset of the 2014-15 season.
“It’s just how hard he plays the game. Everybody knows how skilled and talented of a kid he is, but he also plays 32 minutes getting double-teamed, triple-teamed, banged around,” Glentzer said.
“It’s a credit to who he is. I mean, he never quit in this game. He was going 100 miles an hour. He’s verballed to go to Bethel (College) and they’re getting a good one up there.”
Danville outscored the Braves 17-4 in the second quarter to hold a 22-17 lead at halftime.
Indian Creek closed the opening period with an 11-1 run to take control early — all the points provided by DeHart and senior backup forward Kyle Lime.
Despite Burton picking up his second foul on a charge five seconds into the second, the Warriors controlled play the rest of the way. Indian Creek’s points came on Dehart buckets scored 4:18 apart.
Indian Creek’s finishes the season with a record of 15-9.