Brownstown Central’s boys basketball team struggled offensively Tuesday night but still had more than enough to get past North Harrison 66-44 in the opening game of the Class 3A Charlestown Sectional.
The Braves (21-3) hit just 31 percent of their shots in the first quarter, but North Harrison’s hands were even colder. The Cougars (13-10) made just 21 percent of their shots in the opening quarter.
“I didn’t think our ball movement was good on offense, and we didn’t play smart on either end of the floor,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “We were fortunate they missed some shots. Otherwise, it could have been a different game.”
Brownstown recovered in the second quarter, scoring on 7 of 14 shot attempts. A 3-pointer by Cody Waskom from the right side with 2:05 left in the half gave the Braves a 24-12 advantage. Their lead never fell under 10 points during the remainder of the game.
With the victory, Brownstown advances to Friday’s sectional semifinal round to take on Salem (17-5), which enjoyed a first-round bye.
Against North Harrison, Cam Shoemaker and Carson Lambring gave Brownstown an effective inside-outside combination. Shoemaker scored 12 points around the basket, while Lambring hit three 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 19 points.
“Carson and Cam were most of our offense,” Benter said. “Those two were able to get the ball to go through the hoop.”
Shoemaker and Lambring were two of Brownstown’s four double-digit scorers. Jacoby Shade finished with 11 points, while Waskom ended with 10.
Shade was the game’s leading rebounder with nine, helping the Braves to a dominating 37-21 advantage on the boards. Shoemaker and Waskom each added seven rebounds for Brownstown.
Tuesday’s victory ended an extremely rare occurrence during Benter’s coaching tenure at Brownstown — a postseason losing streak.
The Braves suffered consecutive losses in their previous two sectional games, falling to Silver Creek in 2014 and 2015. The only other time Brownstown experienced consecutive postseason losses with Benter at the helm was in 2000 (to Silver Creek) and 2001 (Southwestern (Hanover)).
“Silver Creek has had fantastic teams the last two years, and we’ve had to go through them,” Benter said.
However brief that losing streak, Brownstown could not have asked for a friendlier opponent to end it.
The Braves defeated North Harrison by 30 during the regular season and have not lost to the Cougars since December 2002 — a run of victories that now stretches to 14 straight.
“This is a good sectional, and we knew it was going to be tough no matter who we drew,” Benter said. “Hopefully, we’ve got this one under our belts, and we’ll come out Friday ready to play.”