Opening its 2017-18 campaign on the road — in a conference matchup — the Brownstown Central girls basketball team needed to play with urgency.
The Braves used a third-quarter surge Saturday to post a 45-37 Mid-Southern Conference victory against Corydon Central.
After leading 22-18 at the half, the Braves (1-0) went on a 14-5 run in the third quarter before closing the game in the final period.
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In the opening eight minutes, the Braves’ Shelby Stuckwisch caught fire, scoring eight of the team’s 12 points.
Stuckwisch hit a pair of 3-pointers and Payton Farmer got a basket to put the Braves up 8-1 with 5:10 on the clock.
Stuckwisch and Madison Klinge each added baskets, before the Panthers’ Gracie Paden hit a 3-pointer with 30 ticks left, as the Braves led 12-7 at the end of one.
The Braves struggled to keep the offensive momentum in the second quarter, and the Panthers took advantage.
From the 5:18 to 1:10-mark in the second quarter, the Panthers outscored the Braves 11-5 to take an 18-17 lead.
At the break, the Braves led 23-18.
The Braves made some adjustments at half-time that would pay off.
“We talked about the 1-3-1 offense,” Braves coach Karla Rieckers said. “We’ve only put in one 1-3-1 offense prior to tonight, and they threw that a lot at us. We wanted to stand instead of attack, so we tried to add a couple 1-3-1 offenses at half-time. I thought that did well, and they went to man defense. I think that helped us because we were able to attack the basket and convert.”
Out of the break, the Braves hit a 3-pointer, split free throws and added a layup to go up 29-19 with 4:43 on the clock.
Following a score from Madison Engleman, the Braves went on a 7-0 run — capped by a 3-pointer from Tayler Garland.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Braves led 37-23.
The Panthers went on a 9-3 run, behind three different scorers, to narrow the deficit to 40-32 with 2:07 left in the game.
While the Braves struggled to hit their free throws down the stretch, going five for 10 in the final eight minutes, they were able to hold on for the win.
Stuckwisch led the Braves with 13 points and Ashley Schroer scored 12. Paden topped the Panthers with 11 points.
On the boards, the Braves outrebounded the Panthers 23-16. BC committed 23 turnovers in the game.
“I think there were first game jitters,” Rieckers said. “We’re not where we were from last summer. I thought last summer we were really competitive and confident. Tonight we had some some spurts of panic, but that kind of happens with the first game.”
Rieckers credited Corydon on its toughness.
“Corydon was very aggressive and scrappy, and we need that,” Rieckers said. “For the past two weeks we’ve practiced against our junior varsity. We need more games, and we’re going to be put to the test on Thursday.”
The Braves will next host New Albany on Thursday.