Braves use 28-0 second half start to rush past Eagles
Most high school basketball teams want to prepare for the state tournament by playing a quality opponent. South Putnam’s girls’ team did that in a big way as it hosted Western Indiana Conference champion and Class 3A No. 4 Indian Creek on Thursday night, a game in which the Braves showed why they are ranked so highly in a 60-24 victory over the Eagles.
Indian Creek used a pressure defense and 28-0 run to start the second half to cruise to the victory. The Eagles turned the ball over 31 times in the game while the Braves shot 56.5 percent (26-of-46) from the field to close out the regular season.
The loss dropped the Eagles to 7-15 and 2-8 in the conference, while Indian Creek finished its season 22-1 and a perfect 10-0 in the WIC.
“It is really tough to simulate in practice what Indian Creek has. You don’t see 6-04, 5-10, and 5-09 girls that are that long and athletic,” South Putnam head coach Brian Gardner said of the Braves.
Indian Creek jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead as the Eagles turned the ball over against the Brave press on their first four possessions. South was able get a pair of free throws from Madison Gardner and then a three-pointer from Danae Cline to keep the game at 19-5 after the first quarter.
The Eagles turned the ball over a total of 12 times in the period and only attempted five field goals.
“They through a lot of defenses at us tonight. I thought we did well against some of them, but they are a really good team,” Gardner said.
South made a game of it in the second quarter. Indian Creek’s Abby Fleetwood opened the quarter with a three-pointer and then a layup by Lauren McClanahan gave the Braves a 24-5 lead, but Chlara Pistelli provided a spark with five quick points and then Cline and Kelsey Custis nailed three-pointers during a 10-2 run to close the half and cut the Braves lead to 26-16.
The Eagles took care of the ball in the quarter, only turning it over three times.
“When you don’t turn the ball over, you get good looks. We did a really good job after we settled down in that second quarter of getting to right spots and doing the right things,” Gardner said.
“The Creek” came out in the second half and ratcheted up the defensive pressure. The variety of full-court presses befuddled the Eagles and led to the Braves outscoring the Eagles 26-0 in the quarter.
The Braves hit 11-of-14 shots in the quarter and the Eagles managed only three field goal attempts as Indian Creek led 52-16 and got the running clock started before the end of the period.
The fourth quarter saw both squads empty their benches as the Eagles did manage to tie the Braves, 8-8, in the period but the third quarter damage was too much to overcome.
“You really want to go into the tournament playing some tough games and being able to take some things you do well and don’t do well away to work on them. We saw some different defenses and at times attacked well. We did some good things on defense at times,” Gardner said.
Indian Creek’s Faith Wiseman led all scorers with 21 points. Lauren Foster had 18 in support. Cline led the Eagles with eight points while Pistelli added seven for the Eagles.
South Putnam will start the ‘second season’ next Wednesday, Feb. 1 against the Riverton Parke Panthers in the Class 2A Sectional No. 44 at Greencastle.
INDIAN CREEK (60) – Lollar 2-5 0-0 4, Fleetwood 3-4 0-0 7, Foster 7-10 0-0 18, Hall 0-3 2-2 2, Wiseman 10-15 1-2 21, McClanahan 1-1 0-0 2, Lemmon 1-3 0-0 2, Gault 1-1 0-0 2, Emenhiser 1-2 0-0 2, Day 0-0 0-0 0, Sprong 0-2 0-0 0, Chapman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-46 FG, 3-4 FT, 60 TP.
SOUTH PUTNAM (24) – Custis 1-3 0-0 3, Cline 3-8 0-0 8, Pistelli 3-6 1-1 7, Pilcher 0-7 0-0 0, Jeter 0-0 0-0 0, Gardner 0-0 2-2 2, Dooley 1-4 0-0 2, Phillips 0-0 0-0 0, Holderfield 0-0 2-2 2, Wallace 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-28 FG, 5-5 FT, 24 TP.
3-point shooting – IC 5-12 (Lollar 0-1, Fleetwood 1-2, Emenhiser 0-1, Foster 4-5, Sprong 0-1, Hall 0-2), SP 3-12 (Custis 1-2, Cline 2-3, Pilcher 0-5, Dooley 0-2). Rebounds – IC 21 (Lollar 2, Fleetwood 4, Foster 4, Hall 5, Wiseman 1) SP – 17 (Custis 2, Cline 1, Pistelli 2, Pilcher 2, Gardner 1, Dooley 2) FG Pct. – IC 56.5, SP 28.6. FT Pct. – IC 75.0, SP 100.0. Turnovers – IC 16, SP 31.