Coming into this past weekend’s Mid-Southern Conference tournament at Charlestown, the Brownstown Central boys basketball C-team knew they could accomplish something special if they stayed focused.
At 14-0, 6-0 in the MSC, the Braves could secure a perfect season with a pair of postseason wins.
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The Braves defeated Charlestown 53-20 and North Harrison 37-19 to finish their 2015-16 campaign unblemished at 16-0.
“We knew we had a chance to go undefeated going into it, so it put a little more pressure on us,” freshman Braden Neal said. “I think we reacted well. I think the thing with us was that we were never really out of a game. We always found a way to come out for a win.”
This past season, the Braves averaged 42 points per game while allowing just 26.
“I thought they had a really nice mix of everything,” sixth-year coach Brandon Allman said. “We had some guys who could really score the basketball and a couple who were really good defensively as well as leaders.
“Our role players really accepted their roles. They did the intangibles we needed to do to beat teams in close games. There was no bickering with their roles. It was a joy to be able to coach that kind of close, cohesive unit.”
While the Braves defeated smaller schools, like Pekin and Austin, they also faced much larger programs.
In a five-game stretch, from Dec. 14 to Jan. 14, the Braves defeated Class 4A schools Columbus East, Bedford North Lawrence, Seymour and Jennings County.
For Allman, the 49-46 victory against East was a big achievement.
“Every game is important, but that was a game that I really marked on our schedule this year,” Allman said. “(East) was a team we haven’t beaten since I started. Two years ago, we were undefeated up until we played them and we lost on a tip-in. (East) was a really nice win for us.”
Against Mitchell, on Jan. 21, the Braves won on a tip-in 32-31.
“It’s a nice mix of competition during the season (with big and small schools),” Allman said. “We beat Mitchell on a tip in with three seconds left, and I felt like their C-team was better than their junior varsity team because they didn’t move anyone up.
“Some of the bigger schools will be good because of their numbers. A lot of times, I will lose two or three to JV where the bigger schools don’t do that as much. It can be a challenge.”
Freshman Matthew Garland said that the team had strong perseverance through some tight games.
“Our work ethic is pretty good,” he said. “We had some bad times, but we had good shooting.”
BCHS freshmen Caleb Bollinger averaged 8.1 per game while shooting 82 percent from the floor, and Isaac Johnson put up 8.3 per game shooting 77 percent to lead the team.
“We kind of fed the ball to whoever was getting points,” Braves sophomore Stuart Hayden said. “Every game someone was always scoring.”
“I’ve known (my teammates) for a long time. I had practiced with a lot of the kids from Lutheran Central, so I was familiar with them.”
Allman said that he has enjoyed coaching the C-team over the past few years even though he typically has players for just one season.
“It’s enjoyable because, for me, I have to really sit down and reevaluate our guys (at the beginning of the season,” he said. “We do a lot of the same stuff varsity does, but (varsity) coach (Dave) Benter allows me really put in my own coaching style.
“It kind of sets (the C-team) apart. I like being a C-team coach in the fact that I’m almost running my own team where the JV is always practicing with the varsity — with their goal to make the varsity better. I feel like it’s my own team.”
Brownstown Central boys basketball C-team 2015-16 season
Nov. 23: BCHS 31, Pekin 26
Nov. 30: BCHS 37, Providence 22,
Dec. 3: BCHS 47, Austin 23
Dec. 7: BCHS 45, Clarksville 26
Dec. 8: BCHS 41, Salem 26
Dec. 14: BCHS 49, Columbus East 46
Dec. 17: BCHS 53, Corydon 24
Jan. 4: BCHS 39, BNL 23
Jan. 7: BCHS 32, Jennings County 25
Jan. 14, BCHS 49, Seymour 23
Jan. 18: BCHS 49, Trinity Lutheran 35
Jan. 21: BCHS 32, Mitchell 31
Jan. 25: BCHS 40, Seymour 29
Feb. 1: BCHS 36, Silver Creek 25
Feb. 6: BCHS 53, Charlestown 20
Feb. 6: BCHS 37, North Harrison 19
Those on the 16-0 Brownstown Central boys basketball C-team included:
Sophomores: Stuart Hayden, Andrew Kellermeier
Freshmen: Caleb Bollinger, Seth Borden, Matthew Garland, Matthew Bell, Braden Neal, Ethan Wischmeier, Luke Shelton, Isaac Johnson, Dane Darlage, Robbie Branaman, Taylor McElfresh