While Brownstown Central stood outmatched in size at nearly every position on the court, they didn’t plan on backing down to Jennings County.
The Braves (10-0) stayed unbeaten on the season by coming up with a big fourth quarter — outscoring the visitors 25-16 in the final eight minutes — to down the Panthers (9-2) 75-65 on Friday.
Brownstown didn’t lead in the first eight minutes of play.
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The Braves struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the opening quarter, as the Panthers built a 10-4 advantage by the 2:36 mark behind four different scorers.
Despite the team’s six combined turnovers, the Braves cut their deficit to 17-15 after Carson Lambring buried a 3-pointer with three ticks on the clock.
A 6-0 scoring run, in part of four points by Lambring, gave the Braves the lead two minutes into the second quarter at 21-17.
Panthers 6-foot-6 forward Tyler Vogel scored from close range, and Travis Wilson added a 3-pointer to tie the game at 26-all with 2:31 left in the first half.
Free throws by Gavin Bane concluded the scoring in the second quarter, with the Braves in front 32-29.
Lambring accounted for 13 of the Braves’ points in the first half and Vogel led the Panthers with 11 points.
Brownstown started sinking their shots in the third quarter, building a 13-2 run — led by two 3-pointers from Ty Maxie — to lead 45-35 at the 4:46 on a timeout by Jennings Count.
Vogel kept the game close for the Panthers by pouring-in 12 third quarter points.
“(Vogel) is long and skilled,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “He has such a quick release that you have to be on top of him at all times. They have guards who can shoot too, if you hop off him they can hit shots.”
After 24 minutes, BC would maintain the edge at 50-49.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Braves caught fire from distance.
Brownstown Central went on a 12-4 run on two 3-pointers from Lambring, and one each from Waskom and Cameron Luedeman, to go up 67-59 with just under four minutes to play.
Luedeman added two more baskets to extend the lead to 73-63 with 2:14 left in the game.
Benter said the Braves did a better of running the floor in the second half.
“After they made their big run, we started getting out in transition on both ends,” he said. “They had to extend their defense and we were also able to get some stops. I thought (Maxie) and (Derek Rieckers) played great in the second half, and we subbed (Luedeman) and (Cameron Eggersman) in and they were outstanding. We picked the right time to make a run.”
The Panthers hoisted up a number of treys down the final stretch but couldn’t find the bottom of the net.
Lambring topped the Braves with 28 points, and Vogel tallied 27 for the Panthers to go along with nine rebounds.
Brownstown won the battle of the boards 36-29, led by six rebounds from Bane.
“We’re not the biggest team in the world, but we feel like we can be a good rebounding team because of our quickness,” Benter said. “I thought we did a really good job of chasing down rebounds to get extra possessions.”
The Braves also had less turnovers, with 11 giveaways to the Panthers’ 14.
“Bottom line is we beat a good basketball team and made plays when we needed to,” Benter said.
With Friday’s win, it’s the third time in Benter’s 19 seasons as head coach that the Braves have opened their season 10-0.
The Braves last started with 10 consecutive wins in the 2011-12 season, as they finished 23-3 by season’s end.
In the 2009-10 season, the Benter-led Braves went undefeated in the regular season at 21-0 before finishing 25-1.
On Jan. 13, the Braves will host Silver Creek for a Mid-Southern Conference matchup.