For The Tribune
Morgan Wehmiller was in the right place at the right time for the Brownstown Central girls’ basketball team Thursday night.
With her team trailing 42-39, North Harrison coach Missy Voyles called a timeout with 16 seconds remaining to set up a play.
Following the timeout, on the in-bounds pass, Wehmiller stole the ball and drove for the clinching basket to spark the Braves to a 44-39 win that kept them on top of the Mid-Southern Conference with a record of 7-0.
Braves coach Karla Rieckers expected a tough battle.
“What I had told the girls on the scouting report is that North Harrison is a very scrappy team, and they don’t quit,” Rieckers said. “They’re really young (starting three freshmen and a sophomore), but they play extremely hard, and I said we had to match their level of intensity because sometimes we don’t do that. We don’t come out and play as hard as we should, and it was definitely not going to be a ‘give me’ game.”
The Braves held a 32-22 lead going into the fourth quarter before Cali Nolot and Jessicka Chiquito made back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap to 34-28, forcing Rieckers to call timeout.
Braves senior post player Riley Wischmeier scored on three straight moves to the basket to give the momentum back to the Braves at 38-28 with 5:35 remaining.
“We talked about (North Harrison’s 3-pointers),” Rieckers said. “We got lazy on defense. We knew who the 3-point shooters were, but we backed off and were playing on our heels instead of on our toes, so we adjusted to that. Give them credit. Missy (Voyles) does a great job. Missy and I are friends, and they are going to be a team to be reckoned with in the next three-four years.”
The Cougars rallied to close the gap to 41-37 with 1:50 remaining. Klinge added a free throw with 46.1 seconds remaining, before Carlie Burson scored for Harrison for the 42-39 score with 22.6 remaining.
The first quarter was a combination of missed shots and turnovers at both ends of the floor with the Braves holding a 4-3 lead. North Harrison was 0 for 14 from the floor in the period.
Jourdan McAfee finally hit the visitors’ first field goal at 7:07 of the second period.
Brownstown shot 2 for 10 from the floor in the first period.
“When we started the game we missed some shots that we typically make, and we got frustrated and things didn’t quite go our way, but I was proud of our effort,” Rieckers said. “We came back and stayed with them.”
North Harrison was leading 10-6 early in the second quarter when the Braves went on a 9-0 run. Madison Klinge scored off an offensive rebound, Ally Lorenzo hit a 3-pointer, and Wischmeier and Olivia Goecker scored layups for a 15-10 lead at the half.
Brownstown’s best offense came in the third quarter behind a 17-point effort on 6-for-13 shooting.
A layup by Wischmeier boosted the lead to 21-12 before Lorenzo and Kasandra Rieckers hit 3-pointers, and Klinge and Brooke Ebbing added free throws in the final minute for the 10-point lead going into the final period.
Wischmeier topped the Braves with 12 points, while Ebbing was the top rebounder with nine.
McAfee topped the Wildcats (14-8, 4-3 MSC) with 14 points.
“We knew who their shooters were going to be and tried to zero in on them,” Karla Rieckers said. “They’ve got a lot of players that can put the ball in the basket. McAfee had a nice game for them.”
The Braves (17-4) will play host to Corydon Central on Saturday.