Halting and inconsistent at the start, Brownstown Central’s Class 3A No. 1 boys basketball team eventually found its game and put on a show during a convincing 76-57 victory against Bedford North Lawrence on Friday night.

The Braves (19-0) exploded for 31 points during the decisive third quarter, expanding a two-point first half lead into a double-digit advantage that Bedford (8-14) could never overcome.

Cody Waskom scored 16 points during the third period, including 12 straight to close out the quarter. Jumpers in the lane, layups, 3-point shots — anything the senior put up seemed to find the net.

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“As soon as Cody made a couple of shots, the basket got pretty big for him,” Brownstown head coach Dave Benter said.

Waskom finished with 23 points, but teammate Carson Lambring led with a game-high 29. When Brownstown was struggling to find its range in the first half, it was Lambring’s relentless attack on the basket that kept the Braves afloat.

“Other than a couple of big shots from Ty (Maxie), Carson was really all we had in the first half,” Benter said. “He did a nice job getting to the basket. I was happy for him because he’s playing hurt and hasn’t shot the ball as well as he wants.”

Lambring scored 16 points in the first half. His steal and feed to Gavin Bane for a fast break layup with six seconds left in the first quarter gave Brownstown a 19-17 lead, which it never gave up.

Maxie drained consecutive 3-pointers to increase the lead 27-20 with five minutes left in the half. When Lambring hit a jumper in the lane with 3:31 left, the Braves led 29-22 but would go the rest of the half scoreless.

Bedford closed the score to 29-27 at halftime and appeared to have momentum.

The Braves dispelled any remaining Bedford hopes with their amazing third-quarter performance, however.

“I thought we took too many bad shots in the first half and missed too many close shots,” Benter said. “We gave them too many straight-line drives to the basket. (In the third quarter) we tried to get the ball to the basket and did a good job. We keep track of lane touches and we had 16 in the third quarter, which is the best we’ve had this season.”

An 11-2 burst to open the third quarter expanded BC’s lead to 40-29. Fueled by Waskom, the Braves swelled their advantage to 60-44 over the final five minutes of the quarter. Bedford never got closer than 12 the rest of the game.

Brownstown’s defense was solid throughout the game, forcing 21 Bedford turnovers and limiting the Stars’ leading scorer, Brayton Bailey, to 10 points.

Benter also called out senior Derek Rieckers, who scored nine tough points around the basket and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.

“Derek was outstanding tonight,” Benter said.

Friday’s victory improved Brownstown’s record against Hoosier Hills Conference teams to 4-0. The Braves are 5-0 against Class 4A opponents this season.

Attention now turns to what figures to be BC’s most difficult test to date, a home game against Floyd Central (14-3). The Highlanders, another Class 4A opponent, current sit atop the Hoosier Hills Conference standings.

“Like Coach (Mark) Lubker was telling our players in the locker room, ‘Enjoy this tonight, but we’ve got to get ready for Floyd Central tomorrow,'” Benter said. “This was a good team win … but there’s not much time to enjoy it.