DANVILLE — Recent sectional girls’ basketball history between the Tri-West and Indian Creek basketball teams has been a back-and-forth affair.
Tri-West won an overtime decision for a sectional title over Indian Creek in 2012. Indian Creek knocked Tri-West from sectional play in 2013.
On the back of strong defensive tenacity, the Tri-West girls’ basketball team nearly led Indian Creek wire-to-wire — with one tie at 2-2 — to take its first sectional victory since the 2012 season with a 58-47 win.
“We never ever had a game where I felt we were not ready to play and these last couple of weeks, our energy and defensive effort have been non-stop and I think that’s why we’ve won,” Tri-West coach Brad Acton said. “We have great team chemistry and that shows on the court.”
Tri-West’s Katrina Headlee, who scored a game-high 24 points, went 4 for 4 in the first quarter, scoring eight of the Bruins’ 11 points. Senior Marisa Meyer scored two off a turnover and Madison Sprecher hit a free throw with 30 seconds remaining to give the Bruins an 11-8 lead headed to the second.
“We needed for (Headlee) to get started like that and she needed that,” Acton said. “I thought we’ve improved on making the extra pass to get the open look.”
Meyer’s play caught Acton’s eye as he said the lone senior on the team “was a scrappy player that does not necessarily show up in the box score much, and has been such an asset to our team.” Meyer scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds in the win.
“It was amazing and I wanted to go out with a bang,” Meyer said. “I wanted this all season long and I’m glad we pulled through.”
Headlee opened up the scoring in the second and Tri-West led by as many as eight before two free throws from Sprecher with 7.5 seconds left in the half gave the Bruins a 30-20 lead at the break.
Tri-West’s pace did not slow in the second half as Headlee knocked down a basket and Indian Creek’s Candace Danz connected from behind the arc in the first minute. Karen Jones added two baskets and began to dominate the inside.
Jones would finish with a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down 14 boards.
“Karen’s a great player and we talk about our goals to be playing inside out and play through her,” Acton said. “I thought we did a pretty good job getting her the ball and she was relentless on the boards.”
Trailing 41-31 as the fourth started, both teams had their best offensive outputs as Tri-West scored 20 to Indian Creek’s 16. Tri-West hit a majority of its free throws down the stretch.
Tri-West moves on to regional play to take on No. 15 Western Boone at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Danville.
Both teams reside in the Sagamore Conference and are familiar with one another. Western Boone finished tied for first with Lebanon at 6-1 while Tri-West placed second at 5-2, losing to both teams.
“It’s exciting for our conference,” Acton said. “But, hey, we’re back on this floor that we know well and are excited to get the opportunity.”