Among the things Brownstown Central coach Karla Rieckers likes about her team, she said she has enjoyed seeing how much they have improved showing patience and taking care of the ball on offense.
“I just think we’re doing a much better job of taking care of basketball than we did earlier in the season,” she said after a 64-60 win against Austin in a Mid-Southern Conference game Saturday.
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“I think early in the year we wanted to play so fast, and we’d make a lot of careless turnovers. We’ve kind of decided to slow down a little bit and not do as much running as what we are capable of doing. We just take care of the basketball better when we slow it down just a little bit.”
The Braves’ Brooke Ebbing hit a 3-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter to put the Braves on top 49-39, but the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to close to 49-46 with 6:08 remaining.
Braves senior Riley Wischmeier scored off an offensive rebound, and freshman Madison Klinge added a basket and the difference went back to seven at 53-46.
The Eagles hit four 3-pointers to cut into Brownstown’s lead and trailed 62-60 following a deep shot by Kami Owens with three seconds remaining.
Ebbing made two free throws to seal the win as the Braves improved to 3-0 in the MSC.
Ebbing, a senior, scored 10 of her game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter.
Wischmeier also stepped up big in the fourth quarter with three baskets and three rebounds. Wischmeier topped the Braves in rebounds with nine boards while Ebbing had eight on the glass.
Austin held a 10-6 lead midway through the first period before the Braves went on a 9-0 run, and led 20-18 at the end of the period.
Ebbing scored nine points and had six rebounds in the second quarter to help the Braves to a 34-34 lead at the break.
Rieckers felt her team had to battle to the end to beat the Eagles.
“They’re a very good team,” Rieckers said. “Coach (Jared) Petersen and I were talking before the game about how many injuries the two of us have consistently had. He’s had a lot of kids that have been banged up different times, and we’re without three players right now.”
Braves players Kasandra Rieckers, Jaelyn Reynolds and Ally Barnett missed the game due to injuries.
“He’s slowly getting everybody to come back and we’re kind of in that process,” Rieckers said. “When you look at Austin, I think Austin has the potential to be at the top of the conference if he gets everybody back and healthy, I think he could make a run for it.”
Freshman Addie Brasher topped the Eagles with 20 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and four free throws in the fourth quarter.
Kaitlin Embrey added 12 and Kami Owens 10 points for Austin.
“Our game with Austin is always a competitive game, and we were fortunate to come out on top,” Rieckers said. “We knew a match up was probably not going to be in our best interest and we’ve got two 6-foot players.”
Guard play proved crucial in the matchup for the 6-2 Braves.
“They’re more of a guard-
orientated offense,” Rieckers
said. “That makes a difference. We pulled Riley a little bit to play a little bit smaller line up. We tried to make a few adjustments to see how things would work.”