Braves recover after slow start



Brownstown Central’s boys basketball team is undefeated in 2018.

The Braves opened the new year of hardwood action by edging Jennings County 67-60 on Friday evening, halting a two-game losing skid.

The first half for the Braves (7-3) was a jekyll-hyde complex.

Browstown got itself in foul trouble in the first quarter, and also got off to a sluggish offensive start.

The Panthers (3-8) opened the game with a 10-2 run in the first four minutes of play.

Stuart Hayden recorded the Braves’ first field goal with 3:54 on the clock before the teams exchanged baskets down the stretch.

A 3-pointer from Calin Kinney at the buzzer put the Panthers up 22-10 at the end of eight minutes.

Brownstown had nine fouls in the first quarter, and shot 4-for-11 from the field. The Panthers made 8 of 13 shots.

In the second quarter, Michael Boshears got scorching hot for BC, scoring 20 points before intermission.

Boshears hit a pair of free throws and got a basket to go to cut the Braves’ deficit to 27-18 with 6:20 on the clock in the second quarter.

Four more points by Boshears cut the Panthers’ lead to three before back-to-back 3-pointers from Boshears brought the score 31-30 at the 3:14-mark.

A 3-pointer from Ethan Wischmeier gave the Braves its first lead with 2:54 left in the half.

At the break, the Braves trailed 36-35. Boshears accounted for 24 of the Braves’ points, making 8 of 11 shots including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

“(Boshears) put us on his back in the second quarter,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “We were in trouble offensively, and he made some plays.”

Jennings County shot 61 percent in the first half to the Braves’ 48 percent.

The teams exchanged the lead until four straight points by the Panthers put them up 48-45 with 2:07 left in the third quarter.

A 3-pointer by Boshears tied the game at 48, but he would be forced to come off the court shortly after.

Boshears was called for four fouls in the third quarter, after receiving none in the first half, and went back to the bench until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

A buzzer-beating shot by the Panthers’ Lane Lauderbaugh gave the hosts a 50-48 advantage after 24 minutes of play.

A 5-0 run on a basket from Matthew Garland and and-one from Seth Borden put the Braves up 56-53 with 4:10 left in the game.

Boshears then hit four straight free throws to extend the Braves’ lead to 62-55 with 2:35 to play.

Braden Neal took a charge, with 42 seconds left, and the Panthers were forced to foul the Braves down the stretch.

Brownstown made 4 of 6 free throws in the final seconds to hold on for the win.

Boshears scored a career-high 34 points for the Braves, Wischmeier added 11 and Borden had nine.

Brownstown made 19 of 38 shots from the field while the Panthers went 22-for-44. At the line, the Braves made 21 of 28 while the Panthers shot 12-for-22.

Benter wants to see better defense from the team moving forward.

“We have kind of lost our edge, and that’s what we talked about in the locker room,” he said. “We know there will be nights when we have trouble scoring. We need to defend. I don’t think we’ve played with that chip on our shoulder the past few games.”

“We had some guys that really stepped up. I thought Matthew Garland (four points, four rebounds) was outstanding off the bench.”

The Braves will travel to Silver Creek on Friday for a Mid-Southern Conference game.

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