For The Tribune
With just under a minute left in the game, the Brownstown Central girls basketball team found itself in a 41-40 battle with Corydon Central in its season opener.
With the ball in her hands, freshman Ashley Schroer was fouled and went to the free-throw line, making both shots.
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On the Panthers’ possession that followed, sophomore Cami Schmitt missed a shot and Braves’ junior Kristen Stuckwisch came down with the rebound and was fouled with 25.5 seconds left in the game. She too hit both her free throws.
Schroer was fouled again and sank both free throws to help the Braves seal the victory. She led the Braves with 19 points.
Braves coach Karla Rieckers said the team shoots a lot of free throws at every practice and that it showed in the final minute of play.
“That’s something we’ve been working on,” she said. “And we always say that when you get in a game like this, free throws can make you or break you and you know I was really proud of how they stepped up and made the free throws.”
The Braves started the game with a 5-0 run off a lay up by junior guard Madison Klinge and three pointer by Stuckwisch.
The Panthers answer with a 4-0 run to bring the score to 5-4 midway through the first quarter.
Schroer then hit a free throw and Shelby Stuckwisch made a lay up to help the Braves take an 8- 4 lead. The Panthers bounced back and the first quarter ended with a 12-8 score in favor of the Braves.
The second quarter was back-and-forth between the two teams as the Braves turned the ball over four times and the Panthers had five turnovers.
The Panthers guard Gracie Paden made three 3-pointers in the quarter and senior guard Megan Rowlett added another.
The Braves used five different scorers to total 11 points in the second quarter to take the 23-21 lead at the half.
Both teams struggled to gain momentum in the third quarter as the Braves record four field goals for nine points and the Panthers recorded three field goals and a free throw for eight points.
Schroer led the Braves in scoring in the third as she made two lay ups and one 3-pointer.
The fourth quarters showed more action as the Braves exploded for 15 points. The Panthers scored 11 point to keep it close.
The Braves’ last six points were scored off free throws in the final minute.
The Panthers tied the game with 3:44 left in the quarter.
It was the only time they would tie the Braves in the game and they never led.
Rieckers said she thinks the team had a difficult start to the season and they needed to work on things both offensively and defensively.
She said some of that may be attributed to it being the first game of the season.
The team has four underclassmen on the team and only two seniors.
“You know, for Ashley Schroer, it’s her first time in a varsity game and Halle Hehman came off the bench and so I think we’re a work in progress,” Rieckers said. “I think there will be games where we will look good and others that we may look like we’re struggling more.”
Rieckers said the team did move the ball well offensively — the passes looked sharp and consistent around the floor and the Braves were able to see open spots on the perimeter and down the lane throughout the night.
“We work on that in practice, we want to rotate the basketball,” she said. “We always tell them to call the one more to get the next pass for that person to get open.”
Thursday, the Braves travel to New Albany.