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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Brave Gym - Indian Creek Braves

Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Brave Gym 803 W Indian Creek Dr. Trafalgar, IN 46181

Year Opened: 1967

Capacity: 2,300


Keep Your Eye on the Ball at The Creek

Indian Creek High School was created in time for the 1967-1968 academic school year and was the result of three local schools of Nineveh, Morgantown, and Trafalgar all consolidating into one larger school. The district had purchased 79 acres of land two years prior near the southwest corner of SR 135 and 252 to begin construction of the new $1.5 million school.

The school’s new name was picked by 8th grader John Wilkerson who chose it due to a few reasons that included that Indian Creek ran through all three towns, it did not have a connection with any of the three towns, and no other school in the state had this name. For his efforts, Wilkerson received a $50 savings bond.

The new school also needed a new gymnasium and chose Ralph Legemen’s sunken gym design that, at this point, was nearing its end of popularity in the state. Indian Creek’s new home, sometimes known as Braves Gym, would be the second to last of this patented design ever built. All of the elements from the octagonal-shaped seating bowl, arched roof, exposed beams, and wrap-around concourse are present for a game of basketball.

The Braves would capture its first sectional championship in 1978 after a hectic schedule that was affected by the Blizzard of ‘78. The school did not have to wait long for its next few sectional tournament championships as the program secured wins in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, and 2000. Indian Creek’s lone regional championship occurred in 1983.

The gym is also home to 3A sectional tournaments on an annual basis where it hosts Beech Grove, Herron, Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter, Indianapolis George Washington Community, and Speedway. The Braves have not won a sectional since 2000 and with two decades in between, fans would love nothing more than to hang a banner at its only home for basketball.

Food & Beverage 3

The concession stand is outside of the main seating bowl and offers do usual items found in other high school gyms. There is not one item that is more than $3 and everything makes for a nice little snack while watching the game. Fans can enjoy hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and even soft pretzels. The Brave Dog features chili and cheese on top and during this game, ice cream and Kona Ice are served on the main concourse.

Atmosphere 4

There have not been a lot of changes to the Braves Gym since it first opened in 1967 but two years ago it did receive a splash of paint and was reminded that should last until the end of the decade when the floor will need to be replaced. The bold and bright school colors and the oversized center logo of the interlocking “IC” pop off nicely against the ceiling lights and add a touch of pizazz to the old venue.

Another thing that has not changed is the number of people that pack the gymnasium regularly. The last game of the season was Senior Night which brought a near-capacity crowd to the 2,400-seat building that offered an atmosphere that was the norm when the place first opened. Players are introduced behind a lighted Braves logo on the wall and an energetic PA announcer.

The 10-foot wide concourse had various tables manned by graduating seniors who offered autograph books and bowls of fun-sized candy bars and a few other snacks and treats. There are also tables from local businesses, Girl Scouts selling cookies, a full-size merchandise stand (closed due to most of the school merchandise having been sold this year), and a Kona Ice machine.

The walls are covered with framed championship photos of various teams, regional and sectional title banners, Hall of Fame members, and other school memories. The highlight though is the corner exhibit that honors the three former high schools that consolidated to become Indian Creek in 1967. Trafalgar, Nineveh, and Morgantown High are memorialized with photos, letter jackets, yearbooks, senior chords, game balls, and the old mascot head that is all behind lighted glass cases. This might be the best display in any high school gym in the state.

The front-row seats underneath the baskets make for an interesting game-day experience in that they are within a few inches of the gameplay. You have to pay attention to any loose balls, falling players, and throw-ins because chances are the visitor is in the way of the play. There is not much legroom in between and it even leads to two padded coverings directly under the basket to act as a cushion (both included with advertisements).

Neighborhood 2

For the size of the town, there are a few interesting places to eat including the Crowbar Restaurant which offers appetizers or chicken wings in signature sauces and frog legs as well as burgers, sandwiches, and flatbread pizza. Southern Comfort features fried chicken and waffles along with other items including catfish dinners, burgers, and pies. Small Town Pizza and Sub Company is one of three locations serving pizza, pizza rolls, subs, and strombolis at this family-friendly eatery.

Also, the Johnson County Museum of History is in nearby Franklin, and Johnson County Park is in Nineveh. A short drive south is Nashville, Indiana, where the small town is alive with shops restaurants, bars, and nearby hiking trails and parks for a fun time for the entire family.

Fans 4

Indian Creek has an enrollment of 610 but attracts large crowds to games regularly. The student section dresses up in theme outfits and holds oversized heads of celebrity figures in an attempt to distract opponent foul shots. Tonight the students were decked in fraternity wear complete with empty red Solo Cups that were raised during Braves foul shots and sipped when each shot was made. Oddly enough many of these kids will experience a frat party sometime in the future but the cup-raising should be something used for every game in the future.

The rest of the fans are just as involved in the game as they are focused on the action on the court. A collection of family, friends, alumni, and fans of the game cheer loudly during excellent play and display jeers during calls that favor the visiting team. It was a close game in the first half that kept everyone on their toes, but the Braves pulled ahead in the third to the delight of the thousands in the stands.

Access 3

The high school and gym are a little out of the way and several miles from the I-65 exit but part of the journey to many Indiana high school gyms is the journey through small towns on state roads. The gym itself is easy to move around thanks to its sunken bowl design and wraparound concourse.

As with many of these styles of gyms, there are plenty of doors allowing for an easy exit after the game but that is not the case with Brave Gym. It is surrounded but other buildings of the school and there are not as many doors in comparison with other gyms of this kind in Edinburgh, West Vigo, and Southridge.

Return on Investment 4

The small sunken gym costs $5 for a ticket and not one item at the concession stand is over $3. Trafalgar is a small town with a few places of interest to enjoy a bite or drink before or after the game. The town is within a small drive of area attractions but the game itself is enough to attract someone to the gym. It can be a lot of fun to enjoy a game with a frenzied crowd on hand.

Extras 4

The Braves earn one point for the wonderful exhibit honoring the three former high schools that merged to become Indian Creek in 1967. There are a lot of memories from photographs, varsity jackets, and even old senior chords that are beautifully displayed in the corner of the concourse.

The team earns a second point for the introduction that features a lighted mascot head against the wall of the gymnasium. The gym is darkened and the PA announcer gets hyped up before the start of the game.

The third point is for the wheelchair lift that was added to the gym a few years ago.

The fourth point is for the maneuvering one has to do if they are sitting in the first row underneath the basket. The fan is inches away from the action on the court where you need to pay attention unless you’ll be hit in the face with a basketball or a falling player.

Final Thoughts

Brave Gym is a classic sunken basketball arena that is full of life and excitement during the basketball season. The community comes together to honor its players on the court and provide a wonderful backdrop for any visitor looking for that old-fashioned Hoosier Hysteria. The small town offers a big game day atmosphere that’s not too far off the beaten path for anyone to experience for themselves.

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