For The Tribune
Coach Dave Benter said he feels his Brownstown Central basketball team is peaking at the right time.
“The first half we played exceptionally well,” Benter said following a 76-50 senior night win against Orleans on Friday night.
The Bulldogs came in ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, and had a record of 18-2 and carried a 12-game winning streak into the game and hadn’t lost since the Braves beat them 69-57 in the finals of the holiday tournament at North Daviess.
Orleans was on top 3-2 before Jacoby Shade made a 3-pointer, followed by a layup for a 7-3 lead at the Braves never looked back.
Shade scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers, while Cam Shoemaker, Matthew Nierman and Cody Waskom added 3’s in the opening period to spark the Braves to a 21-9 lead.
“We guarded well, and we were really effective in transition,” Benter said. “When we did miss I thought we offensively rebounded well. There weren’t a lot of weaknesses in the first half. That’s maybe our best half of basketball overall of the year.
A 3-pointer by Zach McCory, and layup by Shoemaker, pushed Brownstown’s lead to 28-12 three minutes into the second period. McCory scored 7 and Shoemaker 6 points in the second period for a 39-20 lead at the half.
“We got the ball into Cam, and they had a hard time guarding him in the first half, and they had to start doubling him in the second half,” Benter said as Shoemaker shot 5-for-5 in the first half
The Braves shot 16-for-26 from the floor, and had only two turnovers in the first half, and held the Bulldogs to 6-for-22 shooting during that time.
Brownstown cooled off offensively in the third period, and did not make a basket until McCory scored with 2:55 left in the period.
The closest the Bulldogs came during that time was 43-30 on a 3-pointer by Murphy Wheeler with 3:30 on the clock.
The Braves were able to maintain their lead by making all nine of their free throws in the period, and Nierman added a 3-pointer.
“In the third quarter Orleans was able to make some shots, but we were able to manufacture enough points at our end to stay even with them, and I thought in the fourth quarter we played really well,” Benter said.
The reserves helped Brownstown finish strong with a 21-point fourth period as Ty Maxie had a deuce and 3-pointer and Grant Reedy had two baskets including a dunk that brought a loud ovation from the Brownstown fans.
Shade topped the Braves with 18 points, Shoemaker scored 13, Nierman added 12, and a total of 10 players scored for the Braves.
Brownstown held a 26-15 advantage in rebounds with Shade grabbing seven and McCory six.
Benter said he was pleased to see his team play so well heading into the sectional.
“We’ve had some injuries with Zach,” Benter said. “He’s getting close to 100 percent. It’s good to get guys back and come out and play well.
Cale Hall topped the Bulldogs with 17 points.
“He’s so smart and plays the right way,” Benter said of Hall. “I’m not going to miss not facing him in the next couple years.”
The Braves are 17-3 heading into Tuesday’s game against Silver Creek in the Corydon Central Sectional.