Braves ready for sectional rematch



Brownstown Central’s boys basketball team earned a hard-fought 72-63 victory against Charlestown in Saturday night’s Class 3A Sectional 30 semifinal round, setting up a gold-plated championship game against Salem tonight.

In Saturday’s second semifinal contest, Salem defeated Silver Creek in a come-from-behind overtime thriller, 70-65, ending Silver Creek’s run of consecutive sectional titles at three.

As a result, Monday’s title game will pit two top-10 ranked teams.

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No. 3 Brownstown (23-2) narrowly topped No. 10 Salem (22-2) way back in November, 76-73, in a game that foreshadowed a sectional rematch.

“Monday’s going to be a battle,” Brownstown head coach Dave Benter said. “It’s tournament time and anything can happen. We know we’re going to have to play at a really high level.”

Against Charlestown (12-11), the Braves advanced to the championship game first by assembling a blistering second-quarter offensive performance, and then by fighting off a determined opponent in the second half.

Brownstown gained separation in the second quarter by hitting nine of 13 shots, going on a game-changing 13-3 run and taking a 37-25 lead into halftime.

After that offensive burst, however, Brownstown found itself in a dogfight the rest of the game, and got strong efforts from nearly everyone on the roster to subdue the Pirates.

“One of the good things about this team is we’ve had a lot of combinations that have played well, made runs and won games for us,” Benter said. “Someone off the bench or one of the starters has stepped up for us.”

Late in the third quarter, with Charlestown creeping to within four points of the Braves and leading-scorer Carson Lambring sitting on the bench with four fouls, Benter got stellar performances from Michael Boshears, Cody Waskom, Jordan Peters, Gavin Bane and Derek Rieckers.

Boshears filled in for Lambring and contributed five rebounds, six points (on 3-for-3 shooting), three assists and two steals. Waskom scored 13 second-half points and made four straight fourth-quarter foul shots to secure Brownstown’s lead.

“Boshears really allowed us to have (Lambring) out of the game,” Benter said. “And Waskom put us on his back offensively.”

Peters, Bane and Rieckers, meanwhile, each added four points and two rebounds during the fourth quarter, and each made timely plays during the game’s final minutes.

“The last three quarters, I thought our guys competed every possession,” Benter said.

Charlestown forced Brownstown to compete in third quarter by making five of six shots to start the second half, while Brownstown Central opened with just two-for-11 shooting from the field.

With their hot start, the Pirates closed a 12-point Braves lead to four, 42-38, with 3:27 to go in the third quarter.

The main cog in the Charlestown machine was senior Jordan Knoebel, who scored a game-high 26 points on 10-for-18 shooting.

“We had a hard time guarding Knoebel in the second half,” Benter said. “We tried a lot of different things defensively, but he controlled the game. Every time we made a run, he would take over.”

After Charlestown trimmed the lead to four, Brownstown hit consecutive 3-pointers to quickly restore the advantage to 10 — only to watch Knoebel score seven straight points for his team.

Ultimately, Brownstown countered Knoebel with its army of players. Peters hit a follow-up and Boshears’ steal and fastbreak layup pushed BC ahead 54-43 with seven minutes left.

A Bane layup on a feed from Waskom and then a tough rebound and follow by Boshears increased the lead to 58-45.

After another Charlestown surge, Peters scored on a Boshears feed, Rieckers scored on a Waskom pass and Waskom added two free throws to expand the lead back to double digits, 68-55, with less than 90 seconds remaining.

Despite missing eight minutes due to foul trouble, Lambring led BC with 21 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Waskom finished with 18 points. Rieckers added nine points and eight rebounds.

Led by Rieckers, Brownstown outrebounded Charlestown 31-17.

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