For the Tribune
The Brownstown Central girls basketball team breezed through pool play in the Eastern Greene Toby Yoho Tournament on Monday as they beat Bloomington North 59-34 and South Knox 62-34.
On the day, the defense kept both opponents 10 points below the Braves’ season points allowed average.
“I thought, for the most part, defensively we played fairly well,” Braves coach Karla Rieckers said. “I was concerned that we gave up offensive boards. There were several times (South Knox) would shoot it and get their own rebound two or three times in a row. I said, ‘When we’re playing somebody in a close game we can’t give up those easy rebounds.’ We have to have those.”
The Braves had a 29-15 advantage on the boards against Bloomington North, but South Knox out-rebounded the Braves 22-21.
Riley Wischmeier topped the Braves in both games with nine rebounds against Bloomington and 10 against Knox.
Rieckers said she felt like her team did a good job of moving the ball and looking for open shots.
“They’ve been playing together for a quite a while now, and getting Madison (Klinge) in the flow, and getting Kasandra (Rieckers) back makes a big difference,” she said. “We’re really athletic so we can play fast; but then we make a lot of careless turnovers. So I said (recently) we just need to slow down a little bit and make smarter passes. I think since that time we’ve been doing a lot better job with ball movement and finding the open man.”
Brooke Ebbing’s second basket of the game, at 6:35, gave the Braves a 6-0 lead against Bloomington.
The Braves had a 17-6 lead at the end of the quarter, then increased its lead to go 24-6 on a rebound basket by Ebbing early in the second period.
Ebbing scored 14 points in the first half to help her team to a 32-13 lead at the break.
The Braves’ Morgan Wehmiller made two 3-pointers in the third period when the Braves outscored the Cougars 17-9 to take a 49-22 lead into the fourth period.
A total of 13 girls played in each game, with nine scoring in each contest.
Ebbing topped the scoring against Bloomington with 21 points. Rieckers, who played in her first game of the season since recovering from knee surgery, scored 11.
In the second game, the Braves came out with intensity.
A free throw by Olivia Goecker put the Braves up 5-0 against Knox, and a 3-pointer from Rieckers increased the margin to 11-2 before the Spartans scored the final basket of the first quarter.
Knox closed the gap to 14-10 at 5:53 of the second quarter before Jaelyn Reynolds scored inside to start her team on a 13-4 run for a 27-14 lead at the break.
Rieckers had a 3-pointer in each quarter, while Bailey Bonebright had field goals in both quarters.
Bonebright and Wischmeier scored two field goals each in the third when their team tripled the scoring on the Spartans (24-8) to lead 51-23 going into the final eight minutes.
“The second game we kind of toyed with them a little bit,” Rieckers said. “In the third quarter, after I called a timeout, I got on them a little bit, and I thought they responded well and put them away. I told the girls my goal was I wanted to play the freshmen and some of my JV players in the fourth quarter so they could get some tournament experience.”
Ebbing topped the Braves with 15 points. Bonebright added 11, and Rieckers made three 3-pointers for nine points.
The Braves, the defending tournament champions, take a record of 10-2 into today’s championship bracket semifinals where they will play Paoli/Brown County (winner of the B pool) at 1 p.m.
“Now we have to focus on (today’s game),” Rieckers said. “The last time we had played was the 18th (at Silver Creek), and I was glad to see us come out sharp, especially against Bloomington North. (When) we started and we played hard and got the lead right away, (which) kind of put them away. I think whenever you have a lay off like that it’s always good to come out strong and play hard.”
Having the JV players in the game helps build towards next year’s team, Rieckers said.
“With having seven seniors, next year (the JV girls) are going to have to be ready to play,” she said. “I thought everybody responded really well. You’re going to have this amount of time to play, and you’ve got to make the most of it when you’re in there.”