Coach Karla Rieckers feels her Brownstown Central girls basketball team is going to have to sharpen its focus and raise its level of intensity during the next two weeks after the way it played Saturday afternoon at Brown County.

The Braves came out sluggish, trailed 9-8 after the first eight minutes of play and were down 20-18 with 1:30 left in the second quarter before closing the first half with a 10-2 run.

That rally sparked the Braves to a 56-45 win.

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Rieckers said a big problem in first half was turnovers.

“We had fewer turnovers (7) in the second half,” she said. “In the first half we had 13 turnovers, which is uncharacteristic for us to have that many turnovers in the first half. Give Brown County credit, they really came out and played scrappy. I think maybe our girls assumed that it was going to be an easy victory, and we weren’t quite ready to play when the ball was tipped.”

Brooke Ebbing scored three baskets and had two rebounds to help keep the Braves close in the opening period.

The Eagles held a 20-18 lead following a basket by Tanner Chapman with 1:30 remaining in the second period when the Braves offense came to life.

Morgan Wehmiller converted a 3-point play, Madison Klinge drove for a layup and Ally Lorenzo added a free throw for a 24-20 lead. The Braves closed the half on a free throw by Jaelyn Reynolds and a 3-pointer by Bailey Bonebright for a 28-22 lead.

A layup by Kasandra Rieckers at 3:35 in the third quarter put the Braves on top 39-28 before Wehmiller scored Brownstown’s last two baskets of the quarter, for a 43-33 lead entering the final period.

The Braves’ largest lead of the game was 14 points, at 49-35 on a basket by Ebbing with 5:10 remaining.

Ebbing topped the Braves with 14 points, Wehmiller and Wischmeier scored 12 each, and Wischmeier topped her team in rebounds with nine.

Chapman led Brown County (7-12) with 18 points.

“They had considerable post presence today,” Brownstown coach Karla Rieckers said. “We couldn’t get a foul called on them early to try to get to the free-throw line, and when we did get to the free-throw line it was a real struggle (11-for-30). Normally we shoot free throws a lot better than that. We’re going to have make them going into the tournament.

“We have to make free throws, and I just think, for the most part, everybody was just a little off, and we just have to go back Monday, and we have to keep working hard.”

The Braves are 16-4 overall and 6-0 in the Mid-Southern Conference and will play host to North Harrison on Thursday night, Corydon on Saturday afternoon and Scottsburg on Feb. 3 for conference games.

“None of those, I don’t think, are going to be easy games,” Karla Rieckers said. “Whenever you’re at the top of the conference that makes the bull’s-eye on your back a little bit bigger, and everybody wants to knock us off, and we have to be ready to play no matter who we play and no matter what their record is. So we’ll go back and work hard Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so we’ll be ready to go.”

The Braves were 22-for-52 shooting for the game, and the Eagles finished 17-for-51 from the field.