For The Tribune
Brownstown Central came up with one of its best opening quarters of the season by jumping on top of Eastern (Pekin) 27-7 and rolling to an 80-47 Mid-Southern Conference win Wednesday night.
The Braves started the game shooting 6 for 7 from the floor and were 10 for 15 for the quarter.
Jacoby Shade and Collin DeHart made 3-point goals in the first minute of the game, and Zach McCory’s second 3-pointer of the game put the Braves on top 14-0 with 5:15 on the clock.
“It was a good one,” Braves coach Dave Benter said of the opening period. “I don’t know if it was our best, but it was right up there. Obviously, we made shots. I thought we rebounded the ball well, we guarded well and communicated well. Transition, both offensively and defensively, I thought we were really sharp in the first quarter.”
DeHart, McCory and Shade made two 3-pointers each in the opening period. The Musketeers, meanwhile, shot 3 for 11 from the floor.
The Braves kept up the pace in the second quarter when Shade made his first two shots for five points, and Cam Shoemaker added three baskets later in the period for a 41-24 lead at the half.
Eastern outscored the Braves 17-14 in the second period, and Benter said, “They started making some shots. That affected our transition a little bit. (Alex) Doebler hit some tough, deep shots, and we quit shooting the ball so well.”
The Braves were 5 for 11 in the second period.
DeHart’s third 3-pointer of the game put the Braves up 46-27 two minutes into the third period, and Shade scored seven and Shoemaker six points in the third as the home team built its lead to 59-40 heading into the final quarter.
The Braves finished with 15 3-pointers to miss tying the school record by two.
Matthew Nierman added two, while Shade, Ty Maxie and Cam Eggersman made one apiece in the fourth.
“I think we got good shots,” Benter said. “I’ll have to go back and watch film. We keep reminding our guys that when we’re not shooting it well we need to get Cam some touches inside, and we started to do that, and he kicked it out and was being unselfish.
“We got good shots from good shooters and they just weren’t going in during the second and third quarters, but then we hit a couple shots and the basket got big and we hit some shots again.”
Shade topped the Braves with 21 points, Shoemaker added 15 and McCory 10.
Shade was high-rebounder for the Braves with eight and Shoemaker pulled down seven. The Braves held a 32-17 advantage in rebounds. Shoemaker was 7 for 9 shooting.
Doebler topped the Musketeers (11-10, 3-6) with 23 points.
The Braves finished second in the MSC with a record of 8-1, and are 16-3 heading into Friday’s senior night game against Orleans.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed because we didn’t win the conference, but finishing second we have nothing to be ashamed of,” Benter said. “We need to get through Friday night.”