It was supposed to be a highly competitive rematch, but Tuesday’s first-round sectional match-up between Indian Creek and Tri-West turned into a blowout that favored the Braves.
Indian Creek outscored the Bruins, 38-6, from the midway point of the second quarter until deep in the third period to register a 74-50 victory at the Class 3A Beech Grove Sectional.
The Braves (17-5) will face Indianapolis Northwest in Friday’s sectional semifinal at 7:30 p.m.
Against Tri-West, senior Ally Lehman had a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds to help the Indian Creek avenge last year’s season-ending overtime loss to the Bruins (16-6) in the sectional final.
“It was rough last year, and it took weeks for us to get over it,” said Lehman. “We were happy with the way the draw worked out this year because this is how we wanted it. This was a revenge game for us.”
However, early on Tuesday night, the Braves looked as if they might struggle.
“We played with a lot of nerves during most of the first quarter,” said Indian Creek coach Dan Burkman. “We had nine turnovers and a couple of defensive breakdowns, but then we started to settle into our offense.”
Heading into the game’s second period with a 17-15 deficit, the Braves began to capitalize on a smothering full-court press that forced multiple turnovers by the Bruins and led to easy transition baskets.
“Our 1-3-1 was tremendous,” added Burkman. “They struggled against it all night.”
Overall, Indian Creek hit 18 of its 32 field goal attempts in the opening half and closed out the second quarter with a 22-4 run that equated to a 41-25 halftime lead.
The Braves opened the second half with a 16-2 run to quickly build a 30-point advantage.
“Lehman is really an incredible player,” said Burkman. “She can score with ease and leads our team in assists, but is also pretty tough defensively. She set the pace tonight.”
But the 5-11 guard wasn’t alone.
Fellow senior Brooke Mathena scored 17 points, while sophomore Alexis McGregor added 15 points. Freshman Candace Danz chipped in 13 points.
For Tri-West, sophomore Karen Jones scored a team-high 16 points and senior guard Lauren DeSutter added 14.
“We played like we really wanted this game, but now I’m a little concerned about a letdown,” said Burkman. “It will be interesting to see how we respond Friday. Northwest is big, fast and athletic. We need to come out with the same enthusiasm.”