Cold led to warm, which led to red hot for Brownstown Central’s basketball team on Friday night, with little gradation in between.
Starting just 2-for-13 from the field in the first quarter, the Braves warmed up in second period and then got rolling in the second half of a 68-49 victory over Charlestown.
“I thought we played tonight like we practiced last night,” Brownstown Central head coach Dave Benter said. “Last night carried over into the first quarter. We were stagnant offensively. We haven’t been beaten yet, but I think we sometimes need a reminder why we haven’t been beat.”
The Braves (15-0) scored just two points during a six-minute stretch and fell behind the Pirates 12-9 early. But Jordan Peters came off the bench to score seven straight points around the basket, followed by consecutive 3-pointers by Cody Waskom, spurring a 17-2 second-quarter run that gave Brownstown a 26-14 lead just before halftime.
The Braves’ offensive efficiency peaked in the second half. In a nine-minute stretch that spanned the third and fourth quarters, Brownstown scored on 11 of 13 possessions, generating 25 points and swelling the lead to 61-40.
“Jordan Peters was the difference in the game,” Benter said. “He gave us a ton of energy. (Waskom) did a nice job getting space and moving without the ball. He’s played well the last three games, but we need that effort from the opening tip.”
Waskom finished with a team-high 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Carson Lambring followed with 13 points, while Gavin Bane added 10. Derek Rieckers led the Braves rebounders with nine.
Charlestown (8-8) was led by Jordon Knoebel’s game-high 27 points.
Friday’s victory was filled with Mid-Southern Conference significance for Brownstown. Besides being the Braves’ 20th consecutive win in conference play, the victory improved Brownstown Central’s conference record to 6-0 and boosts its drive for a 10th MSC title in the last 14 years.
Charlestown entered Friday’s game as the second-place team behind the Braves, but Friday’s loss dropped the Pirates to 4-2 in the conference and into third place in the standings.
Salem, with just one MSC loss, now steps into the second-place slot, but Brownstown already has beaten the Lions. Also, Salem’s remaining schedule is heavy on conference games, including matchups against top-half teams like Charlestown and Silver Creek.
Brownstown, meanwhile, only has three conference games left against Corydon Central, Clarksville and Eastern (Pekin). Of those three, only Clarksville has a winning record in-conference.
“Winning the conference is really important,” Benter said. “The regular season is about winning the conference and getting better for the tournament. I feel like we play in one of the best Class 2A or 3A conferences in the state. It’s tough to play on the road against these team and then play a lot of the same teams in the sectional. Our sectional is going to be a bloodbath again.”