A remarkable four-year run ended for Faith Wiseman and the Indian Creek seniors Saturday, but not before the Braves showed the fight that exemplified an 87-19 record and four sectional titles.
Indian Creek fell behind longtime tournament nemesis Bishop Chatard by 12 in the first half of the Class 3A Greencastle Regional, came back to take a third-quarter lead and then fell behind by 10 again — but had the ball with a chance to win with less than 10 seconds remaining. A turnover and a pair of Chatard free throws ended the run, however, giving the Trojans a 64-60 win and the regional title.
It was the third straight year the teams squared off in state tournament play. Last year, IC defeated Chatard in the semistate 76-47, and the Trojans won in the 2022 regional title game, 52-36.
Neither of those games were close. Saturday’s contest looked like it might play out in similar fashion, but the Braves took what appeared to be a Chatard runaway early and made it a game that wasn’t decided until the closing seconds.
“We just needed an extra bounce to go our way,” Creek coach Brian Ferris said. “I can’t say enough how proud I am of their determination and their drive.”
Sixth-ranked Indian Creek, whose season ended with a 21-5 record, trailed 59-49 with 4:30 remaining, but the Braves outscored Chatard 11-2 over the next 3:31. Ayla Lollar’s 3-pointer with 59 seconds to play cut the Trojans’ lead to 61-60.
The Braves had multiple chances to take the lead from there but couldn’t capitalize. They stole the ensuing inbound pass, but Lauren Foster, who was second only to Wiseman with 15 points, missed a short jumper with 40 seconds left.
Chatard maintained possession despite IC’s pressure defense until the Braves’ Jasmine Day fouled Addison Duncan with 14.2 seconds left. Duncan missed the first free throw but hit the second, giving the Braves the ball down 62-60 with a chance to tie or win.
The Trojans fouled Wiseman with 7.1 seconds left, but the Braves weren’t in the bonus yet, so Ferris called time. They worked the ball around, but lost it in the lane, and they fouled Chatard’s Olivia Berzai with 2.5 seconds left. Berzai hit both free throws to seal the win and end an incredible run for Creek seniors Wiseman, Foster and Olivia Pendleton.
“We were looking for a weak-side layup, because we were going to try to pull Faith to the strong side and suck their defense over,” Ferris said, explaining the last-shot strategy. “We didn’t get that look, then we kind of had a miscue in the paint of who was going where. Then we were looking for that short 5- to 10-footer. We didn’t hang onto the ball, and it was just one of those bounces.”
Indiana University-bound Wiseman finished with a team-high 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Freshman Ellie Oliver added 10 points off the bench.
Most statistical categories were relatively even, with two exceptions. Chatard dominated the glass, outrebounding IC 42-21. Anna Caskey, the Trojans’ 6-0 junior, grabbed a game-high 18 reboundds to go with 16 points, and several of her boards came on the offensive end. Berzai, a 5-11 sophomore, added 12 rebounds and 16 points.
Thanks in part to that rebounding advantage, Chatard hit more free throws (18) than IC attempted (15). The Braves hit 10 of 15 from the line (66.7%), while the Trojans hit 18 of 26 (69.2%).
The Braves trailed 32-20 with 2:20 remaining in the first half but scored the game’s next nine points to whittle the lead to three with 6:12 left in the third quarter. They then took a 45-44 lead on a Wiseman putback basket with 1:38 left in the period.
Chatard (19-8) responded by scoring the game’s next nine points to take a 55-47 lead with 5:58 remaining, and still led 59-49 about a minute and a half later before Indian Creek made its late-game run.
“We were definitely getting a little tired, and our shots just weren’t falling,” Wiseman said, referring to the energy the Braves had to expend in falling just short of their comeback bid. “Chatard is a really good team. They’re very physical, they’re very fundamental, very skilled, so we just had to be our best. We didn’t come out and play our best, and (Chatard) did.”
Ferris had nothing but praise for Wiseman, Foster and Pendleton, as well as the rest of the current Braves squad.
“We’re going to miss our seniors,” Ferris said. “Four years of amazing fun, changing the culture and winning games. We’re hoping our young ones are going to learn from that and carry it forward.”