When it comes to playing any sport, Matthew Garland believes in working hard on the fundamentals.
He is in his fourth season playing basketball at Brownstown Central, he will be in his fourth season of baseball in the spring and he ran cross-country in the fall.
He said practice is key to improving.
“Practice makes you better,” Garland said. “If you don’t practice, you don’t get better. You can’t expect to just go in the gym and get better. You’ve got to put work in to do that.
“If you don’t have trust in yourself, you’re obviously not going to be good, so if you go out there on the basketball court and don’t have confidence in your shot, more than likely, it won’t go in, but if you have confidence in it, it has a better chance of going in.”
This season, Garland has played as both a starter and sixth man on the hardwood.
“(Coach Dave Benter) likes my energy coming off the bench,” Garland said. “I go in to get rebounds, and I play a lot of defense mainly. I just go in and fill a spot.”
Garland likes to play uptempo and said his favorite spot to shoot is from a wing.
“I like to shoot 3-pointers,” he said. “Playing against a zone is a lot easier for me. Some people think differently.”
His high-point games of nine points came during his junior year against Brown County and Austin.
Garland said he feels like the Braves’ most effective defense is half-court man-to-man.
“When we press, I’m on the elbow. I’m not the front guy,” Garland said. “The front guy and I will push the player with the ball to the side, and we’ll trap that guy.”
The Braves are unbeaten (6-0) going into the holiday tournament at North Daviess.
“We’ve got to have good ball movement and make some shots, unlike we did against Seymour,” Garland said. “Against Seymour, we missed a lot of shots. We’re not the tallest team, so we’ve got to make our shots.”
Garland has a twin sister, Tayler, who is on the girls team.
“We come into the gym sometimes during the summer to shoot around,” he said. “We’ll play against each other just friendly.”
Garland said he is glad he chose to run cross-country in the fall.
“I had a lot of friends that ran, and I decided to run. It was a way to stay in shape,” he said. “I was our third or fourth runner most of the season. It was a fun experience. It was definitely challenging. You learn a lot of different kinds of things about running. Coach set your time based on your previous times and set mile increments.”
His best time was 19:30, and he said his favorite course was Bedford.
In baseball, Garland changed positions last spring, switching to third base after playing second base his sophomore year.
“I really like playing defense,” he said. “I got hit in the chest a lot. I just knocked them down and threw the runners out. You definitely have to make sure your eyes are up and ready for anything that comes at you. I practice fielding a lot.”
He batted second in the order last season and said he was called on to sacrifice a lot.
“I would say my bunting is pretty good right now. (Coach Brandon Tormoehlen) gives me the sacrifice sign a lot,” Garland said. “I’ve been working on the hit-and-run, which is where you hit it down the line and try to get to first, so it’s not technically a sacrifice, but you’re still bunting.”
Garland said he has enjoyed being a student at BCHS.
“I love it. It’s not big, not too small,” he said. “The staff, they feel like they know you. You learn a lot here. The best part about sports is being with friends and having fun. If you get a couple wins in there, it makes it better.”
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Name: Matthew Garland
High school: Brownstown Central
Parents: Pat and Barb Garland
Sports: Basketball, four years; baseball, four years; cross-country, one year
Athletic highlight: Winning sectional in baseball in 2016
Organizations: Booster Club, Lettermen’s Club, Sportsman Club
Plan after high school: Attend college
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: "Shooter"
Favorite teams: Indiana University, Cincinnati Reds