Braves struggle, fall to North Harrison

North Harrison built an early lead to defeat Brownstown Central 53-16 Thursday night in a girls basketball game on the Braves’ floor.

With the win, the Cougars finished unbeaten in the Mid-Southern Conference at 9-0 and the Braves dropped to 4-5.

The Braves got off to their worst start of the season as the Cougars led 20-0 after 6:08.

“They’re No. 1 in 3A for a reason, and they are very, very good,” Braves coach Karla Rieckers said, “They’re very fundamental, they all handle the ball well, they see the floor well, they move without the basketball. I think they’re pretty much what you would want in a team. They’re not selfish.”

The Braves missed their first seven shots from the floor and committed five turnovers, while the Cougars came out hot by shooting 10-for-11 from the floor, with Lilly Hatton shooting 5-for-5 from the floor during that time.

Brownstown’s only point in the first period was a free throw by Ashley Schroer with 47.2 seconds left in the quarter.

The Braves were 1 for 4 in free throws in the first quarter.

The Braves missed their first eight shots from the floor at the start of the second period, as the Cougars built their lead to 25-1.

Shelby Stuckwisch made BC’s first field goal at 5:39 for a 25-4 score. The Braves’ only other field goal in the first half was a 3-pointer by Grace Jaynes in the final minute of the half, as Harrison led 30-10 at the half.

“I thought we panicked against their press, and that is something we had worked against, and we came out and played into everything North Harrison wanted to do,” Rieckers said.

“The second quarter was 10-9, and I thought we played much better in the second quarter and battled with them. North Harrison is a team that you can’t get down like that and can’t make unforced turnovers, which we did several of those tonight. They are going to make you pay if you do that, so when we made a mistake, they capitalized.”

The Cougars shot 14-26 and the Braves 2-21 in the first half.

After the Cougars (21-2) scored the first four points of the third quarter, the Braves scored on a layup by Madison Klinge and a free throw by Kristen Stuckwisch to make it a 34-13 game with 4:53 on the clock.

The Cougars then scored the final 11 points to lead 45-13 going into the fourth quarter.

Hatton scored 11 points in the third quarter and topped her team in scoring with 25 points.

The Braves (14-10) will play Scottsburg on Wednesday night in the sectional at Corydon Central.

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.