Braves celebrate 2016-17 season


Brownstown Central High School basketball coach Dave Benter shared a quote with his team during last year’s banquet that resonated with the disappointment they felt after their season ended in the sectional.

The team had high hopes for success and many believed it was “their year,” Benter said, but as fate – and sports go – the predictions didn’t follow suit.

“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason,’” he told them at last year’s banquet.

Fast forward to the end of the 2016-17 Braves, and the message seemed to sink in.

“This is a group that never felt sorry for themselves and that quote is about moving on and putting the past behind you and that’s exactly what they did,” Benter said following the team’s awards night Tuesday evening in the school auditorium.

“They were fighters and handled adversity very well.”

The Braves had what many would consider a very successful season, going 24-3 and losing a close overtime game to Evansville Bosse in the Washington Regional.

Brownstown defeated Salem to claim the sectional championship.

The success was driven by the team’s unique roster of 10 seniors playing on the team.

Benter said it was interesting to watch the team this season because they have played together for so long that they have become more like siblings than teammates.

“These guys have been together for so long,” he said. “They’re like brothers, fighting one second and then hanging out the next and it’s tough getting everyone playing time, but everyone was competing.”

Benter felt the season was one that displayed success despite a delayed start for the Braves.

The football team’s success only gave the Braves seven days to practice together, but the team seemed to not miss a beat.

“It was a fantastic season from start to finish,” Benter said. “We had the conference favorite that first game against Salem and only playing together for seven days, and I think that win helped things snowball from there where we were getting better and better and ended up winning the conference and winning the sectional.”

Benter handed out awards to highlight individuals for success on the court throughout the season.

He also presented awards the team voted on.

The first award presented was to Carson Lambring for assists. Lambring led the team with 127. Lambring also received an award for highest free throw percentage with 80 percent and was voted by his teammates as the most valuable player.

Mike Boshears was presented with the high field-goal percentage at 66 percent.

Derek Rieckers won the most rebounds with 139 while Ty Maxie scored the highest three-point percentage at 43 percent. Cody Waskom scored the most points on the team with 508.

Gavin Bane was voted best defender on the team, while Cam Eggersman was voted for the mental attitude award.

Benter said that Bane was one of the most talented defenders he has worked with throughout his coaching career.

“He may be the best defender I’ve ever coached,” he said. “He did a tremendous job.”

Benter said the team’s mental strength also was an asset throughout the season, noting their maturity through difficult games.

“We knew it was OK if we lost a game — and as a coach you don’t ever want to lose — but we knew there would be nights we didn’t have our best and there would be nights that the other team did, but we still competed. Every game,” he said.

Replacing the 10 seniors will be difficult because of the experience and Benter knows the recent success in the program may lead some to believe that the team will always be good.

But Benter wants students to understand that the work needs to be put in to be successful.

“If our guys think that just because they put on a Brownstown jersey that they’re going to win games, you know, that’s not how it works,” he said.

“They have to put the time in the way others have in the past and they have to be able to handle adversity the way this team did and other teams have. It should be a good, competitive summer.”

Benter said the team in the future will not have much size, but that the 2016-17 Braves proved that size on the court doesn’t matter.

“You win by playing good basketball,” he said. “Our guys are very capable of doing that.”

Junior varsity coach Marty Young presented his team with awards during the evening and shared that the team had a 19-4 record — with two of those losses coming against varsity teams — and some interesting statistics about the team’s ability to win games.

The junior varsity squad outscored opponents by 400 points throughout the season, collected 50 more rebounds and had 150 less turnovers.

The freshman team, coached by Brandon Allman, had a record of 13-3.

Caleb Bolinger won the award for highest free throw percentage at 76 percent and Cameron Luedeman was the most improved player award.

The varsity cheerleading square also presented its mental attitude award to Suzzanna Kramer.