Indian Creek girls basketball coach Dan Burkman knew his team needed to come out strong against host Greenwood on Thursday night, but the Class 4A No. 6 Woodmen were ready.
Greenwood’s man-to-man defense stifled Indian Creek early en route to a 57-37 win in a Johnson County Tournament semifinal game.
The Woodmen advance to play in the county tourney championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Center Grove. The Trojans defeated Whiteland 47-33 in Thursday’s second semifinal.
Indian Creek finished with dismal 14.8 percent shooting from the field (7 of 47) against Greenwood. The Woodmen made 20 of 46 shots (43 percent) and won the rebound battle 44-32.
Greenwood senior forward Deauna Evans led all scorers with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and recorded five rebounds. Senior guard Kelsie Ratliff added 13 points and eight boards, and guard Chloe Orrvar grabbed a game-best 13 rebounds and scored nine points.
Woodmen coach Debbie Guckenberger applauded her team’s defensive intensity and solid rebounding.
“I felt like our biggest defensive effort was keeping them off the boards,” Guckenberger said. “I also felt like our kids knew who their scorers were, and that’s what we concentrated on. I just think that our kids paid attention to the scouting reports and tried to execute.”
Greenwood (3-0) concentrated on slowing down Indian Creek guard Ally Lehman, who finished with a team-high 22 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Senior guard Brooke Mathena scored six points, and freshman guard Candace Danz added five for the Braves.
Burkman said Indian Creek (3-2) has had a tendency to start flat against larger teams this season.
“We start slow for whatever reason, and then we settle down and try to get ourselves out of the hole all at once,” he said. “And you can’t do that. It results in trying to force shots and hurrying things, and that’s what I saw. After the first quarter, we played decent. But we couldn’t throw it in the basket.”
The Woodmen sprinted out to a 15-0 lead. Indian Creek’s only score of the first quarter came at the 1:18 mark on a Lehman 3-pointer.
Guckenberger said she wasn’t surprised by Evans’ scoring burst in the second half, which came mostly on jump shots.
“We talked to her this summer about how she needs to be more of a scorer for us this year,” said Guckenberger. “She’s looking for her shot a lot more, and she gets better each week.”
Guckenberger said she’s confident the Woodmen stack up evenly with Center Grove, and she looks forward to facing the Trojans for the county title.
“We know we’ll have to keep playing hard, and it’s not going to be easy,” she said. “Really it’s anybody’s game to win. Whoever plays harder is going to be the team that’s successful.”