Braves best county-rival Cougars

Brownstown Central opened up an 18-11 lead against Trinity Lutheran after one quarter, then outscored the Cougars 37-22 in the middle periods to post a 72-52 win Tuesday night in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

“With our intensity level we wanted to try and push the ball, and Trinity did also,” Braves coach Karla Rieckers said as Trinity opened an 8-2 lead on a basket by Abby Hackman with 5:15 left in the first period.

“I thought we got rattled by them,” Rieckers listed as a reason the Cougars were able to gain the early lead. ”They had a large student section and they were really into it. Their players were really into it. We just talked that we needed to calm down and play our game. Then after that we went on a 40-20 run.”

The Braves went to a faster pace with more success as Grace Jaynes scored three baskets inside, while Payton Farmer and Morgan Wehmiller added two field goals each as the visitors went on a 16-4 run to take the 18-11 lead at the end of the first period.

Brownstown started one senior, three sophomores and one freshman, while Trinity opened with one junior and four sophomores.

“I think it was a good outcome for us,” Rieckers said. “When you have a young team they’re always hungry to win. I’m glad we got to play a few extra players. It was nice that we could dress Taylor Garland and to see her come in and do some good things. She is another freshman for us.

All 10 Braves that stepped foot on the floor scored and collected at least one rebound where the Braves had a 27-20 advantage.

Jaynes was a force inside throughout with nine baskets and 21 points, while Wehmiller added a season-best 15 as the Braves’ registered a season high in points.

Jaynes kept attacking in the second period with four baskets and a free throw, while Kristen Stuckwisch and Wehmiller hit 3-pointers.

A basket by Sophie Kries two minutes into the second period doubled the score to 22-11, and a lay-up by Jaynes late in the period gave the Braves their biggest lead of the half, 16 points at 42-26.

“Jaynes was our leading scorer, and Morgan stepped up, and Madison (Klinge) and Payton (Farmer) had been our leading scores the past two games, so it was nice to see other players score,” Rieckers said. “We need everybody on our team to contribute.

“If you can shut one or two people down it’s certainly nice to see them do that, and Grace has a really nice shot.”

Abby Hackman and Maddie Roark topped the Cougars with 12 points each, and Hackman had 13 rebounds.

“We’ve got to keep Hackman in the game mentally,” Cougars Coach Mike Lang said. “She had a tough assignment on the defensive end as well (guarding Jaynes). You’ve got to be able to play both ends of the floor.”

Trinity (2-1) had 28 turnovers and the Braves committed 17 turnovers, and Lang said that was a big factor in the outcome.

“We try to come out here in practice, and we can’t simulate the pressure they showed here tonight,” he said. “We got a little mentally soft once we started breaking down and it got away from us from that standpoint.

“I felt if we could have handled the pressure a little bit better that it wouldn’t ballooned to 9 or 10 points that quick. You’ve got to give credit to the kids from Brownstown and Coach Rieckers. They played extremely hard.”

Brownstown (3-0) shot 28 for 56 for the game, while Trinity (2-1) was 15 for 41.

“I thought in the first three quarters we played pretty well defensively,” Rieckers said. “In the fourth quarter I thought we gave up some easy baskets. We stopped moving our feet, we stopped being quite as sharp as we needed to, and being a young team hopefully that will improve.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.