Braves take control for win

BROWNSTOWN

Brownstown Central’s Class 3A No. 1 boys basketball team limited Clarksville to a combined 11 points during the second and third quarters on Saturday afternoon, converting an early eight-point deficit into a comfortable 63-40 victory.

The Generals (9-8) opened the game with 8-for-10 shooting from the floor and grabbed an early 18-10 lead. Brownstown responded, however, by outscoring Clarksville 21-4 over the next eight minutes.

“We came out in the second quarter rejuvenated,” BC senior Cody Waskom said. “We weren’t getting anything going offensively in the first quarter.”

Waskom provided the impetus behind the Braves’ rejuvenation, scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points in the second quarter. His steal and fastbreak layup with 2:38 left before halftime gave BC a lead it never relinquished.

The second quarter surge extended into the third period. Brownstown assembled a 17-7 run and used consecutive baskets by Cody Schrader to grow the Braves’ lead to 48-27.

“It took us some time to get going,” BC head coach Dave Benter said. “We were playing a little selfishly in the first quarter. The last three quarters, I thought we played really well. We went to our trap defense and disrupted (Clarksville’s) flow.”

Brownstown (18-0) forced the Generals to commit 15 turnovers over the final three quarters. And, after starting red hot from the field, Clarksville managed to make just five of 24 shots (21 percent) over the remainder of the contest.

Gavin Bane scored on five of his seven shots and finished with 13 points, followed by Carson Lambring with 10. Ty Maxie and Derek Rieckers each added seven points. Rieckers had a game-high seven rebounds.

Clarksville’s Christian Stewart led all scorers with 20 points.

Saturday’s victory extended Brownstown’s winning streak to 18, tying the 2013 Braves team for the third longest win string in Benter’s 19-year tenure. Only the 2004 (24) and 2010 (25) teams had longer streaks than this year’s squad.

The win also improved the Braves’ Mid-Southern Conference record to 8-0, keeping them one step ahead of second-place Salem. Only Eastern Pekin (1-15, 0-7 MSC) stands in the way of the Braves securing their seventh outright MSC title in the last 14 seasons.

For Benter and Waskom, a looming sectional tournament and upcoming games against Bedford North Lawrence, Floyd Central (14-3) and Providence (16-1) occupy the mind more than conference titles and winning streaks.

“Winning the conference is one of our goals, but we’re trying to get ready for the postseason,” Benter said. “We’ve got a really tough end-of-season schedule. We want to be playing our best basketball starting now.”

Being ranked No. 1 creates mixed feelings, Waskom said.

“It’s cool and all, but we really want to do well in the tournament,” Waskom said. “(Being No. 1) in the regular season doesn’t matter. It puts a target on our backs, so it puts a little pressure on us.”