Running on fumes, playing three games in two days, the Brownstown Central girls basketball team was determined to come away with a championship.
The Braves won their second straight Toby Yoho Classic tournament at Eastern Greene High School on Tuesday, defeating Forest Park 46-37 in the final.
It is the third overall tournament title for Brownstown.
At the start of the game, the Braves struggled to find much rhythm on either side of the ball.
After tying the game at 6-6, the Rangers went on a 5-0 run to lead 11 in the first eight minutes.
Following a stern speech from coach Karla Rieckers, the Braves found their game in the second quarter.
“We talked about the fact that we weren’t playing hard,” Rieckers said. “We weren’t attacking the zone. We were passing around to the outside, and we knew we were better than that. You can’t just stand around and not attack. We wanted to make sure we attacked. That’s how you get points against a zone.”
On the opening Rangers possession, Braves junior Morgan Wehmiller nabbed a steal at halfcourt and was able to find senior Brooke Ebbing on the transition to get the offense rolling.
The Braves also locked in as they went on a 13-0 run up to the 2:05 mark.
“We switched between man and 3-2 (defenses),” Rieckers said. “Anytime you play four games in two days you’re going to lose your legs a little bit so we switched to a little bit of zone. They had some big post players which caused a problem for us, but we thought if we kept mixing
it up we would keep
Ebbing hit back-to-back 3-pointers and added a field goal, and Wehmiller added another basket to put the Braves up 21-13.
The Braves only gave up six points in the quarter while scoring 22 to lead 28-17 at the intermission.
Following halftime, both teams struggled offensively, committing five turnovers each.
Leading 34-22 heading into the final quarter of play, the Braves mostly coasted to the win.
The Rangers were able to narrow the gap to 34-41, but Wehmiller came up with another big steal which turned into an and-one layup to seal the game with 1:10 remaining.
Ebbing and Riley Wischmeier were named to the tournament team for the efforts during the two-day competition.
With the victory, the Braves boost their winning streak to nine straight games.
Ebbing led the Braves with 16 points and six of her team’s 22 rebounds.
“I think anytime we get to Christmas we want to make sure we’re playing as well as we possibly can at that time,” Rieckers said. “I think whenever you play four games in two days it makes you grow as a team. It’s good team bonding for our girls. When you get tired, you start to make a few more mistakes, and it becomes more of a mental game. You have to be able to play through those things.”