While the coveted trophy didn’t come easy, the title will remain in Brownstown.
Class 3A No. 7 Brownstown Central’s boys basketball team dealt Class 2A No. 1 Barr-Reeve its first loss of the season, 53-48, to claim the Graber Post Buildings Classic championship on Friday.
BCHS (9-0) is the first school to win the tournament — started in 2006 — for three consecutive years.
It was apparent the game would prove a defensive battle from the opening minutes, as both teams adjusted and re-adjusted with every stoppage of play.
The Vikings (9-1) challenged the Braves’ long-range shooting to start, using a 2-3 zone defense.
Trading baskets throughout the opening eight minutes, two Brownstown players accounted for all of the Braves’ points.
Cody Waskom scored four and Carson Lambring added three as the Braves trailed 9-7.
The offenses hit its stride in the second quarter, as the Braves opened on a 9-4 run on a pair of 3-pointers by Lambring and another from Cameron Eggersman. Brownstown took its first lead of the game at 16-13 with 3:26 on the clock.
Barr-Reeve responded with a basket from Trevor Lengacher and free throws from Javan Miller, and in that stretch the Braves piled-on fouls.
Back-to-back baskets from Gavin Bane and Andrew Murphy put the Braves up 24-20, before Miller hit a pair of freebies to cut the deficit back to a possession before half.
At intermission, the Braves led 24-22 led by 12 points from Lambring. The Braves were called for 11 fouls to the Vikings’ three infringements.
The Braves opened the third quarter on a 7-1 run behind an and-one from Waskom and baskets from Gavin Bane and Michael Boshears.
Boshears and Eggersman — who both came off the bench — each added scores as the Braves led 38-28 after three quarters. The Vikings only totaled six points in the period, struggling to handle the Braves’ press which switched into a zone.
Miller made it his mission to get to the foul line in the fourth quarter since the Vikings weren’t hitting 3-pointers.
The 6-foot-3 senior scored nine points for the Vikings up to the 4:21-mark, as they got back into the game at 44-42.
Barr-Reeve split their free throws twice before Lambring hit two from the line to put the Braves up 48-44 with 2:26 on the clock.
From the 1:38 to :46-mark, the Braves moved the ball around to burn time leading 48-44.
The Vikings were forced to foul, and Waskom hit his free throws to extend the lead back to four with 46 seconds.
On a missed 3-pointer, Eggersman pulled down the rebound and got the ball to Lambring who was fouled and sank his free throws with 17 seconds left.
Lambring, who led the Braves with 17 points, stole the ball on the ensuing possession which ended any hopes of a Vikings comeback.
The Vikings finished 20-for-26 from the free throw line, as the Braves combined for 22 fouls.
Miller topped the Vikings with 27 points, making all 13 of his free throw attempts.
Waskom added 12 points and Eggersman and Bane each scored eight.
“I thought we played really well: Our bench was superb tonight,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “They really gave us a lift to get some separation. I thought, from top to bottom, this was our most complete team win. I thought Cam Eggersman was outstanding. Him and Gavin Bane were giving five to six inches in the post. On top of that, Cam hit some big shots on top of it. Everyone who played, played well and that’s the first time I feel like I can see that.”
On the boards, the Braves outrebounded the Vikings 24-18.
Waskom, who totaled 69 total points through three games, was named tournament MVP following the game.
Lambring, who broke the tournament record for points in a game with 40 against Evansville Reitz, also was named to the all-tournament team during postgame awards.
“I thought it was a good team win,” Waskom said. “I couldn’t have (gotten MVP) with my teammates. It means a lot. I work really hard every day. Tonight was a good team win.”
While the Braves rely on Waskom and Lambring for scoring, Benter said that the two made plays outside of finding the bottom of the net.
“We depend on them a lot for scoring and other teams try to take them away, Benter said. “Fortunately, they trusted their teammates and made some big passes also. A lot of different guys made big shots on top of them. Our guys just made plays and it was a good overall team win.”
Brownstown will host Jennings County on Jan. 6.