In recent years, Brownstown Central’s boys basketball team has enjoyed all their long trips to North Daviess High School.
Brownstown Central hasn’t lost a game in the Graber Post Buildings Classic holiday tournament since 2013, and are the reigning three-time champions.
On Wednesday, the Braves’ varsity program, ranked No. 8 in Class 3A, extended its tourney win streak to 10 straight by defeating the hosts 42-29 in first-round bracket action.
One run separated the two teams in the opening quarter.
North Daviess (5-4) started the game by making 3 of 4 free throws before Brownstown (6-1) strung together 10 unanswered points.
The Braves led 10-3 with 4:45 on the clock in part of six points from Michael Boshears.
A basket from Shom Berry cut the Cougars’ deficit to 10-7 at the end of eight minutes of play.
Ethan Wischmeier caught fire off the bench for the Braves in the second quarter.
Wischmeier sank three 3-pointers, which accounted to all of the Braves’ points in the final 2:38 of the half, to extend the team’s lead to 21-13 at the break.
“Ethan Wischmeier, everyone knows he can shoot, but I think he has gotten after it defensively,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “He’s rebounding the ball. He missed his first shot, but I told him he was staying in because he was guarding and rebounding well.”
Brownstown Central committed nine fouls in the first half to the Cougar’s three, but the Cougars shot just 3-for-8 from the free throw line. The Braves split free throws on just two attempts form the charity stripe.
The foul calls flipped in the second half, as the Cougars were called for 10 and the Braves had six.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Caleb Bollinger and a basket from Cameron Luedeman bolstered the Braves’ lead to 29-15 with 5:32 in the third quarter.
The Cougars answered with a 7-0 run from the from 3:01 to 1:58, spurred by an and-one from Jack Wininger.
A score from Seth Borden maintained the Braves’ advantage, at 32-25, going into the fourth quarter.
While the Braves scored just one field goal in the fourth quarter, they made 8 of 12 free throws to hang on to the lead.
The Braves wouldn’t trail by more than five points in the final eight minutes.
In the final three minutes, the Braves ran the clock down with long possessions.
Boshears and Bollinger paced the Braves with 11 points each while Wischmeier added nine.
Berry topped the Cougars with 12 points.
Both teams pulled down 25 rebounds, but BC won the turnover margin 15-10.
Benter said that the Braves’ defense helped lead to the win.
“We kept hoping that our defensive pressure, at some point, would wear them down. I thought we were really sound defensively,” he said. “I thought we played really smart.”
Eleven different players took to the floor for the Braves on the evening.
“We just have so many guys that do different things,” Benter said. “Matt Garland, for example, he comes in and gets a huge loose ball when we’re having trouble scoring. It’s just effort. Luke Shelton, Stuart Hayden, come in and do really nice things. I thought Braden Neal played really well in the second half.”
The Braves are 25-6, and are five-time champions in the tournament’s 12-year history.
On Friday, the Braves will play Fort Wayne Blackhawk in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m.
The Class A No. 5 Blackhawks (7-1) topped Pike Central on Wednesday. They boast a roster with six players listed at 6-foot-4 or taller — including 6-8 senior Drake Thompson and 6-9 freshman Caleb Furst.
“We are going to have to deal with their size,” Benter said. “They also have shooters and athleticism. I can’t imagine a Class 1A team more talented than they are. We might have the two best 1A teams (Blackhawk, No. 1 Barr-Reeve) in the state in this tournament. We will need to keep the ball outside of the paint, which is easier said than done.”