The new-look Braves’ boys basketball team churned out the same old results in its season opener.
Class 3A No. 5 Brownstown Central opened its 2017-18 campaign with a 53-43 Mid-Southern Conference victory against No. 19 Salem on Tuesday.
Brownstown, which graduated 10 of its 12 varsity roster spots going into this winter season, has now won 10 straight season-opening games under coach Dave Benter. Under Benter-coached teams, the Braves have won 14 openers in his 20 seasons at the helm.
The Braves (1-0, 1-0 MSC) took a 2-1 lead before the Lions (1-1, 0-1 MSC) scored eight straight points — led by six-foot-three sophomore Myron Mead — to go up 9-2 with 3:02 on the clock.
A basket by Michael Boshears and 3-pointer from Caleb Bollinger cut the Braves’ deficit to 9-7 before Boshears spit free throws to end the quarter down 9-8.
In a physical opening quarter, the Braves amassed six fouls and the Lions had seven.
Cameron Luedeman sank a pair of free throws and Boshears got a jumper to fall to retake the lead for BC, at 12-9, with 7:02 left in the half.
Seth Borden’s basket and a 3 from Ethan Wischmeier extended the Braves’ lead to 17-12 with 5:38 on the clock.
The Lions retook the lead at 22-19 before the Braves closed the half on a 6-0 scoring streak in the final 2:06 of play.
At the break, the Braves held a 25-22 advantage over the Lions.
Boshears accounted for nine of the Braves points, and seven different BC players scored in the half.
An 8-2 Braves’ run, led by 3-pointers from Bollinger and Braden Neal, put the Braves up 30-24 with 5:04 left in the third quarter.
Salem answered with a 6-0 run, but baskets by Bollinger and Boshears kept the Braves on top at 39-32 going into the fourth quarter.
Brownstown went on a 7-0 in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to extend its lead to 46-32.
Following a 5-0 run from the Lions, the Braves amassed a 7-3 stretch to go up 53-40 with 1:16 remaining.
In the waning minute, the Braves were able to run out the clock.
Boshears led the Braves with 17 points and Bollinger added 13.
Landon Suvak topped the Lions with 13 points.
The Braves outrebounded SHS 44-34, and both teams had 10 turnovers.
“Defense and rebounding won the game for us,” Benter said. “They have three guys we were trying to take away. We made it difficult for them. I thought we challenged them and made it hard for them to beat us. The big concern before the game was the boards, and we did an outstanding job rebounding the ball.”
The Braves shoot 36 percent from the field to the Lions’ 29 percent.
“Salem had some really good, experienced players coming back,” Benter said. “We knew we had to play well. We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we were able to do what we could control: rebounding and defense. This group has drastically improved over the past three weeks.”
With the win, the Braves also earned the “John Harrell Mythical Traveling Trophy” for the first time.
The imaginary trophy, which was created in the 2006-07 season by former Herald-Times executive sports editor John Harrell, who also runs the famed Indiana high school basketball website, is earned by beating the team in the state who holds the title.
Salem beat Jeffersonville last season, and retained it up until Tuesday.
Braves will hold onto the “trophy” until they lose their first game.
The Braves will play at Seymour on Friday.