For the Brownstown girls basketball team, defense would be the focus from the start against rival Salem.
The Braves held the Lions to just nine points in the first half and stopped a late run by the Lions on Thursday to take a 47-39 Mid-Southern Conference win at home.
“That’s something we’ve been talking about — getting better defensively,” Braves coach Karla Rieckers said. “We think if we play better defensively, our offense feeds off our defense.”
In the first quarter, the Braves allowed just four points and forced a number of Lions turnovers.
On the offensive end, the Braves attacked the low post with 6-foot senior Riley Wischmeier from the start. Wischmeier recorded six points, on three field goals, and four rebounds as the Braves took a 12-4 lead after eight minutes of play.
In the second quarter, the Braves got a boost off their bench from freshman Madison Klinge. She made all four of her free-throw attempts and added a rebound while Wischmeier continued to dominate in the post through scoring six more points.
Klinge is seeing more minutes on the floor for the Braves as the season progresses.
“Madison (Klinge) knows the game, and she’s not afraid to attack the basket,” Rieckers said. “We need to have that. She gets a little more confidence each game. She doesn’t sit back and watch; she gets as involved as she can, and we’re really proud of that.”
At intermission, the Braves held a 25-9 lead.
The third quarter saw the Lions make a huge push. The Lions narrowed the gap to 31-24 on an 11-5 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Liz Weaver at the 1:44 mark.
During the third quarter, the Braves struggled to get much offense. However, senior Brooke Ebbing was able to score eight of her team’s 12 points before the final period to give the Braves a 37-24 lead.
“We have different people that can step up and do different things. I’m glad to see (Ebbing) step up,” Rieckers said. “I can’t say enough how well we played with a team effort tonight, though. We’re hopefully making steps in the right direction.”
Two of the biggest buckets came at the end of the third quarter, as Morgan Wehmiller hit a mid-range field goal and Shelby Stuckwisch added another two points.
Wehmiller netted two field goals, and Ebbing added three points to lead the Braves to their second-straight MSC win.
On the night, the Braves faced a tough offensive player in Alex Davidson. Davidson, who is scoring near 20 points per game, finished with five points on the night.
The Braves’ Goecker got the call to guard Davidson on the night.
“Alex Davidson is averaging 20 points for (Salem), and we limited her to five tonight. Olivia (Goecker) did a heck of a job on her,” Rieckers said. “(Goecker) isn’t going to take the credit though, she will say it was her team. Overall, it was a great team effort.”
On Saturday, the Braves (5-2) will host Austin.