As reigning champions of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference, the Indian Creek girls basketball team set a standard last year when it won the program’s first championship
with a core of mostly sophomores.
Now a year older, the Eagles are navigating changes to the roster and the ensuing shuffling of roles, all with intentions of successfully defending their conference crown when the playoffs begin on February 9.
At 13-6 overall and 11-3 in conference play through February 1, the Eagles have overcome a slow start to the season to rise near the top of the conference in the new year.
“We’re striving to be better,” said head coach Jamie Cook, whose Eagles started just 3-5 before reeling off 10 straight victories from December 18 to the end of January. “We came out struggling, but then we started putting the pieces together. Now, the more basketball they’re playing, the more comfortable they’re getting with each other and understanding what we’re trying to accomplish as a team.”
Among the players driving the success of the Eagles are juniors Maddy Evans, Delaney Dignam, Paige Wells, Kara Matthews and Parker Booth. Evans had 29 points and 12 rebounds in a galvanizing 53-47 win over Catholic High School on January 3, which Cook said helped “turn the light on” for the girls and establish roles. Dignam and freshman Megan Bunker both had eight points in the win for the Eagles.
The victory sparked a streak. The team’s next opponent was Garrison Forest, which Indian Creek defeated in last year’s championship game, and the Eagles again took care of business in a 59-46 win. Evans turned in a monster performance and near-triple-double with 36 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
“Garrison was a good confidence booster, since they were our opponent in the championship last year, so that was an important win,” said Evans.
Cook, Dignam and Evans all noted the absence this season of Christina McPhail and Aysia Ferguson, classmates and major contributors to last year’s team who transferred to other schools this year. After an early adjustment period, those personnel losses have been largely offset by a pair of dynamic freshmen in Bunker and Janeiyah Cajudoy, who both play significant minutes. Bunker has emerged as a skilled slasher and complementary wing scorer to Evans.
“I’d say, we got off to a slower start, but once we put together the pieces that were missing, we got back on track,” said Evans. “It was a matter of finding the roles.”
Evans’ night of 26 points and 20 rebounds led the Eagles to perhaps their biggest win of the season on January 26 when they defeated Oldfields (11-2), a school in northern Baltimore County that is battling with Bryn Mawr (12-2), Indian Creek (11-3), and Catholic (9-3) at the top of the IAAM C standings. Bunker added 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win, which avenged Indian Creek’s December 8 loss to Oldfields.
The Eagles had their 10-game win streak snapped on February 1 in a 40-35 loss to Bryn Mawr, their second five-point loss to the Mawrtians this season. With Bryn Mawr at the top of the pack and the reigning-champion Eagles right behind, Dignman believes the team has what it takes to defend its crown come playoff time.
“We definitely go into every game thinking we’re going to win,” Dignam said. “We have to keep that confidence.”
Evans agreed and said the team is not overlooking anyone on the schedule.