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Hot-shooting Braves sting Yellow Jackets

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Indian Creek took what the defense gave it Tuesday night.

The Braves shot over 65 percent from the field for the game and held off a late Morristown run to knock off the host Yellow Jackets, 73-58.

It was the Braves’ fifth win in their last six games and kept them in a tie for first place in the Mid-Hoosier Conference.

Indian Creek (8-9, 5-2 MHC) got off to a quick start thanks to its defense. The Braves forced five early Morristown turnovers and converted each into a score.

Tim Abel drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key as the first quarter ended to put the Braves up, 18-12.

Their hot shooting continued the rest of the night.

Indian Creek slowly built up the lead as its defense slowed Morristown, and its transition offense created shots at the rim. By halftime they were up, 37-23.

Another series of close shots pushed the lead to 20. Cameron Smith, Brett DeHart and Abel hit layups over a two minute span that pushed the lead to 49-29 with 4:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Early in the final period, the Yellow Jackets finally rallied. A 7-0 spurt cut the margin to 57-47 with 5:45 to play.

But Indian Creek was cool in the face of full-court pressure from Morristown. The Braves answered with an 8-2 run with all four baskets coming on layups that snuffed out the Yellow Jackets’ rally.

Indian Creek coach Derek Perry said the Morristown defense gave the Braves the chance for easy shots if they were patient.

“The way they pressure and play their zone defense, it was going to open up the middle,” Perry said. “That’s something we worked on the last couple days, concentrating on shooting the high-percentage shot, which tonight was the layup.”

He added that the Braves played smart once they built their lead.

“In a game like this, especially when we can stretch the lead to 10, 12, 15 (points), we don’t need jump shots. We got the job done.”

Smith fueled the Braves attack on both ends of the court. The sophomore guard had a game-high 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Abel and Austin Smith scored 18 points each. Indian Creek hit 29 of 44 shots for the game (65.9 percent).

The Braves took just six 3-pointers, hitting two, and knocked down 13 of 19 free throws.

The Braves controlled the boards all night, a challenge because of 6-foot-5 Morristown center Andrew Shepherdson. Indian Creek collected 31 rebounds to just 17 for the Yellow Jackets.

Perry was pleased by the Braves rebounding effort, especially on the defensive end.

“We average giving up 10 offensive rebounds a game, and we only gave up three tonight,” he said. “That’s been our Achilles heel all year. That was a big part of our win tonight.”

Patrick Munson led Morristown (9-7, 5-3) with 14 points. The Yellow Jackets hit 20 of 46 shots from the field (43.5 percent).

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