Braves junior varsity finishes perfect season



A 20-0 season was within reach for the Brownstown Central junior varsity girls basketball team.

All the Braves had to do was defeat North Harrison on the road Jan. 25.

Coach Lee Ann Borden said she knew there would be nerves.

“Let’s just say that our last game of the season was probably our worst game of the season,” she said, smiling. “It was pressure, and I knew that going in, and I knew that North Harrison was going to be a tough game.”

Borden said she tried to keep the girls calm and reminded them of this year’s motto, “Get ‘er done,” during the pregame talk.

“I kept saying, ‘Up to this point, has what we’ve done gotten the job done? Yes, so why do we want to change anything now? We’re going to go out and continue to do that same thing,’” Borden said.

While the final score was closer than Borden would have liked, the Braves were victorious 38-32.

The 20-0 season was in their grasp, and it felt so good.

“Oh yeah, it sunk in,” Borden said of realizing the accomplishment after the game. “For me, it was relief just to see it off of their faces because as bad as we played that game and as hard as they fought to win that game, when we actually won it, I think it was relief because then it was finally, ‘OK, no more pressure. It’s done, we did it and it’s over.’”

Freshman Katherine Benter said the moment was kind of a blur.

“I just ran to the locker room, and I realized, ‘Hey, we won,’” she said.

The two juniors on the team, Claire Poulton and Shelby Reynolds, had confidence the Braves would win.

“Deep down, you just have this gut feeling that, ‘OK, we’re going to win this game. It’s no big deal,’ so after the game was over, I was excited, ‘Yes, we just went 20-0.’ I just kind of expected it from us,” Poulton said.

“Once we made it to the last game, I knew we were going to win,” Reynolds said.

This marked the second time for a Brownstown girls JV team to finish undefeated. Borden led the 2012-13 team to an 18-0 mark.

That same season, the boys JV team went 20-0 under coach Marty Young.

In her nine years as JV coach, Borden has a 136-25 record.

The second undefeated season meant as much to her as the first one.

“As a coach, it’s always gratifying to know that I had a little bit to do with it,” she said. “Yes, I’m a coach, but I’m not the one that’s running up and down the floor. It’s still the credit to these girls. I can instill the fundamentals and do the coaching things, but they are still the ones that have to execute and do the things out on the floor.”

The feat meant a lot to the girls because it can never be taken away from them.

“I feel like it was a huge accomplishment, and it’s a very good compliment on our character, and it’s something we can remember for the rest of our lives,” Poulton said.

“It just makes me feel good to be a part of a team knowing that we all worked together to get it, and I’ll never forget it,” Reynolds said.

“It’s exciting because we put in a lot of time over the summer and the season, and it’s good to see our work paid off,” Benter said.

As for what she credits to the team’s success, Borden said the girls’ chemistry played a big role.

“Had we not had the chemistry that we had, we probably wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation right now,” she said.

The girls agreed.

“It was a really big jump,” Benter said of going from junior high basketball last year to high school basketball this year. “But I feel like we had a really good team this year, and we had good chemistry, and it was fun to play with them.”

Poulton and Reynolds both said it was great to see the team progress.

“Last year, we definitely had the potential to be another undefeated team. We fell short in a few games,” Poulton said. “This year, it was almost like last year, but we had some really talented freshmen come in, like Katherine, and that helped us out a lot. I feel like this year’s team just had a lot better chemistry, and it was the same returning players pretty much as last year, so we just grew in experience together.”

Reynolds said it was fun to be a part of the JV team for three years.

“I feel like since we’ve been together all three years, we’ve gotten closer and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we worked together this year,” she said.

Borden said she was proud of her two juniors for taking on the leadership role.

“This incoming freshman class, they are freshmen, they are new, but they took them under their wing,” Borden said. “They didn’t degrade them in any way. They made them feel a part of the team. They knew that that was going to make them better, and that’s why we were successful, I feel.”

For the first two weeks of practice, Borden admitted she was a little worried from what she saw on the court.

“I was a little concerned because we were successful during the summer, and we came in for those first two weeks of practice and I can remember talking to the other coaches, ‘Oh my gosh, where did my team go? What are we going to do?’” she said.

Fortunately, everything came together by the season-opener, and the Braves won 43-10 at Corydon Central.

They then won the next 13 games by double figures.

After beating Madison 38-30, they won by double digits in the next four games before closing with a six-point win at North Harrison.

The Braves averaged 45 points per game and held their opponents to 22.8 points per game. Their biggest margin of victory was 51-3 against Clarksville.

Borden said she always told the girls, “The person you’re guarding, if you hold them to less points than what you score and everybody does that, you’re going to win.”

“I know that I’m going to have games where we’re not scoring well, the ball is not going into the basket, so that’s where you have to have that defense,” she said. “When you’re having games where offensively, you’re not as strong, we know that we can still come back on top because we’re going to hold (the opponent) to a really low number.”

The girls took that to heart.

“We were always pretty strong defensively. We always had a routine, so I felt like that’s where we would get steals and we would be able to stay on our half of the court when we would press,” Benter said.

“I feel like our press was what converted to scores,” Poulton said.

Offensively, Borden said the team had balance.

“If you look back through my scorebook, I would venture to guess probably 80 percent of the games, almost everybody scored or at least had the opportunity to score,” she said. “They may not have made a basket, but they had the opportunity to score.”

Benter led the team with 254 points, 63 assists, 71 steals and 76 rebounds, including 26 offensive boards. Sophomore Zoe Fountain had a team-high 72 deflections, while Reynolds and sophomore Kylee Wischmeier each had three blocks.

Going undefeated, the players agreed it bodes well for the future of the Brownstown girls basketball program.

“It sets high standards, definitely, knowing that you can always work hard and hopefully get the best,” Benter said.

Reynolds said the players now know their potential, and Poulton said it motivates everyone to keep working hard and makes her excited to see what the future holds.

With the varsity team losing three key seniors, Borden said some of the JV players may have to step up next season and fill a role on that squad.

“I even think that the chemistry between the JV team and the varsity team, it will be there,” she said. “These girls have played with each other for so long, they know each other. Even with the incoming freshmen, they still know the upperclassmen, so it will be exciting.”

In the locker room after the win at North Harrison, Borden said she hopes the message she shared resonated with the team.

“I told them, ‘Don’t be satisfied just with having an undefeated JV season. There are more things, not just in basketball but in life, that you can accomplish,’” she said. “If they continue to work hard and do the things like they did during the season, they’ll be successful in everything that they do.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Team: Brownstown Central High School junior varsity girls basketball

Coach: Lee Ann Borden

Roster: Freshmen Katherine Benter, Avery Koch, Maddie Storey and Aryeana VonDielingen; sophomores Zoe Fountain, Zodie Otting and Kylee Wischmeier; juniors Claire Poulton and Shelby Reynolds

2017-18 record: 20-0

Largest margin of victory: 51-3 against Clarksville

Slimmest margin of victory: 38-32 against North Harrison

Average points per game: 45

Average points allowed per game: 22.8

Scoring leader: Benter, 254

Rebound leader: Benter, 76

Assist leader: Benter, 63

Steal leader: Benter, 71

Block leader: Wischmeier and Reynolds, 3 apiece

Deflection leader: Fountain, 72

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Season results

Opponent;Final score

Corydon Central;43-10

New Albany;40-18


Trinity Lutheran;49-16



Columbus East;45-30



Eastern (Pekin);46-35




Silver Creek;43-25




Brown County;57-18

Jennings County;60-32

North Harrison;38-32


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