Braves expect to lean on experience, athleticism

Coach Derek Perry has a pretty good idea who will start for the Indian Creek boys basketball team.

But he’s not saying who just yet.

Why disrupt what has been a spirited competition for starting jobs?

With the Dec. 5 season-opener more than a week away, Perry — in his fifth season with the Braves — sees no reason to rush anything.

“I think kids know that there’s quite a few kids that could be potential starters,” he said. “They’re working hard, because all eight or nine of them really want it.”

Regardless which five players get the opening-night nod against visiting Morristown, there should be plenty of minutes to go around in what is expected to be a deep rotation.

Juniors Tyler Parks and Gynson Robley are the only two returning starters, but the Braves added a third player with starting experience — senior Dylan Phair, a transfer student from Franklin — and feature two additional players with significant varsity experience in sophomores Tim Abel and Bryce Hogue.

Parks is a 6-foot forward. Robley, who is expected to miss the first handful of games with a shoulder injury, is a 6-3 forward. Phair is a 6-foot guard who started the past two seasons at Franklin. And Abel and Hogue are 6-2 guards who played meaningful backup roles on last year’s 11-11 team.

All of the above are starting candidates. But they aren’t the only ones.

Senior Braxton Zachery, a 6-6 senior center, is out for basketball for the first time since his freshman season. And senior Nic Brown, a 6-2 forward, is also a newcomer to the program. Both players were standouts on the Braves’ football team that went undefeated during the regular season.

Perry also has high expectations for senior Spencer Wood, a 6-foot guard, and freshman Jared DeHart, a 5-9 guard. Both figure to be part of the rotation.

“We have the depth. I really like our depth,” Perry said. “As far as experience, I think we’re more experienced than last year’s team. We’ll play eight or nine guys. It’s probably the most depth we’ve had in my five years.”

Moreover, the roster is arguably one of Indian Creek’s most athletic and versatile in recent seasons.

And Perry plans to employ, and maximize, every tool in the tool box.

“We’ve got quite a few weapons, offensively and defensively,” he said. “We’re going to be uptempo and pressure opponents. That’s going to be the way we play, our identity. We have quickness and size. We can put a quick lineup in there, and then go big with Braxton and a couple of the other kids.

“It kind of gives us the luxury of playing both ways. We’ll mainly focus on getting up and down in transition and really getting after it.”

As for who starts, Perry doesn’t think it will matter. Everyone is expected to get plenty of minutes, and everyone — as far as he can tell — shares the same goal: Winning.

“Attitudes have been good. Intensity, they’ve brought it every day,” Perry said. “I feel, as of right now, they’ve really come together, and they’re ready to go to battle with each other.”

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Dec. 5;Morristown;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 6;at Hauser;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 12;at Greenwood Christian;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 13;Knightstown;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 19;at Martinsville;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 27;at Danville;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 30;Monrovia Tournament;10 a.m.

Jan. 3;Greensburg;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 10;South Decatur;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 13-17;*County;TBA

Jan. 23;at Southwestern;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 30;Brown County;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 4;Whiteland;7:30 .m.

Feb. 7;at Edinburgh;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 12;North Decatur;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 14;Eastern Hancock;2:30 p.m.

Feb. 17;at Brown County;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 21;at Tri-West Hendricks;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 24;at Greenwood;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 27;Waldron;7:30 p.m.

*at Greenwood