For the Tribune
The Brownstown Central boys basketball team began their season Tuesday night at Salem in a Mid-Southern Conference game.
In the beginning of the game, the Braves struggled to get their shots to fall and the Lions came out pumped-up.
However, the Braves found some momentum late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter to take the lead for good and picked up the 61-47 season opening road win.
Braves Coach Dave Benter praised the Lions for coming out and playing well.
“Our guys came out and acted like they were shell-shocked,” Benter said. “They played with so much more energy than we did and that was the disappointing thing by how much more energy they had than we did.
“They had us on our heels the whole first half and we have some guys who we need to depend on didn’t come ready to play.”
The Braves only lead in the first quarter came when Jacoby Shade hit a three-pointer to lead 3-2. The Lions scored the next four points and held on to take a 13-9 lead after the first quarter. The Lions scored the first seven points of the second quarter to lead 20-9, which was their biggest lead of the game.
Zach McCory caught fire for the Braves as he scored the next six points including a steal and a layup at the 4:53 mark to cut the lead to 20-15. Cody Waskom hit a free throw, McCory drained a 3-pointer and Waskom hit a basket to force a 24-24 tie at the break.
“We settled in and started to make a few shots,” Benter said. “They were having a hard time guarding us off the dribble and we threw it inside and we kept shooting 3-point shots in the first half that were not going in.
The Braves took their second lead of the game at the start of the third quarter as McCory hit a 3-pointer, Cam Shoemaker dropped in a 2-point basket and McCory hit another basket to make it 31-24.
The Lions were able to battle back and force a 36-36 tie at 1:23, but Waskom hit a basket and got fouled for the 38-36 lead.
Waskom missed the free throw, but Carson Lambring collected the offensive rebound and found Waskom open for a three-pointer for the 41-36 lead. The Braves led 45-40 after three quarters.
The Braves slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter by scoring the first nine points of the quarter and led 54-40. The Braves outscored the Lions 16-7 in the fourth quarter and the Braves defense limited the Lions to one field goal in the quarter.
“Salem hit some tough shots and I have to give them a lot of credit,” Benter said. “They came out and played with a ton of energy and they looked like the veteran team out there. I thought as the game went along we adjusted, got some defensive stops and good things started to happen.”
McCory led all scorers with 24 points on 9 of 15 shooting from the floor. Waskom came off the bench and added 15, while Shade chipped in 10 for the winners. Jordan Baker led the Lions (0-1, 0-1) with nine points.
“I think this is going to be one of the better shooting teams I have coached and I have eight guys who are capable of shooting the 3-point shot,” Benter said. “We have to understand that when those shots are not going in we have got to find other ways to score.”
The Braves (1-0, 1-0) won the battle of the boards 39-26 as Shade led with eight.
The Braves will host Seymour on Friday night.