For The Tribune
Never in doubt, but never quite comfortable either, Brownstown Central’s boys basketball team took care of business with a 58-43 victory against North Harrison in the opening round of the Class 3A Sectional 30 tournament Tuesday night.
The Braves (22-2) used defense and a hot-handed Ty Maxie to overwhelm North Harrison in the first half.
Brownstown Central pestered the Cougars into 10 first-quarter turnovers that fed an early 12-2 run and gave the Braves a low double-digit lead that it maintained for most of the rest of the game.
Maxie, meanwhile, couldn’t miss after the opening tip, hitting his first four 3-point attempts and seven of eight first-half shots. The senior’s 20 points in the opening two quarters outscored North Harrison’s team, which had just 17 points at halftime.
“We got separation early, but then it was a grind the rest of the game,” Brownstown head coach Dave Benter said. “That’s a credit to North Harrison. They battled and competed all night. I didn’t think we played smart with the lead. The first quarter and a half, we play with great energy.”
Most of the energy on the offensive end came from Maxie, whose 3-pointer and jumper at the top of the key boosted the Braves’ early run, giving the Braves a 12-4 lead with 2:41 left in the first quarter.
Maxie then took off, making three straight 3s to start the second quarter, followed by an old-fashioned three-point play — a 12 point burst that extended the Braves’ advantage to 25-7.
“Ty really got it going in the first half and our guys did a good job finding him,” Benter said. “That’s what we need from him. He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder right now. I was really happy for him tonight.”
After Brownstown built its 18-point lead, North Harrison fought back to close the deficit to 30-22 early in the third quarter and 50-41 in the fourth quarter, but Brownstown never allowed the Cougars’ hopes to get too high.
When Maxie cooled off in the second half, teammates Carson Lambring and Cody Waskom took up the cause. Lambring poured in 17 points after halftime, while Waskom contributed 8-for-10 foul shooting.
Maxie finished with five 3-pointers and led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Lambring with 18 and Waskom with 14.
With Tuesday’s win, Brownstown advances to Friday’s semifinal round to take on Charlestown, which enjoyed a first-round bye. The Braves defeated the Pirates (12-10) by 19 points in January and have won nine of the two teams’ last 10 meetings.
Tuesday’s victory was also a continuation of Brownstown’s recent dominance over North Harrison. Brownstown Central has now won 16 straight against the Cougars, all of them by double-digit margins.