Heading west: Brownstown Central’s basketball teams switch sectionals


Brownstown Central’s basketball teams will traverse uncharted territory in the postseason next winter.

The IHSAA approved new sectional assignments in six team sports for the next two years Monday.

The new pool revealed that the Braves’ boys and girls basketball teams have both moved from Sectional 30 to Sectional 26 in Class 3A.

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The Braves are now in the same sectional as Brown County, Edgewood, Northview, Owen Valley, South Vermillion and West Vigo.

Madison took the Braves’ spot in Sectional 30, which still features Charlestown, Corydon Central, North Harrison, Salem, Scottsburg and Silver Creek. All of the schools, outside of Madison, play in the Mid-Southern Conference with the Braves.

“I was very surprised,” BCHS Athletic Director Mark DeHart said. “Our sectional has always been comprised mainly with our fellow MSC schools with travel distances no further than an hour’s drive. Seeing such unfamiliar school names next to ours in the new sectional realignment was literally shocking.”

Braves boys basketball coach Dave Benter said he saw a possibility of moving but was still surprised.

“I thought there may be a chance we move sectionals, but I wasn’t sure where it would be,” Benter said. “I was surprised, but in a way, I wasn’t. They’ve had trouble in south 3A. There have been some five-team sectionals and other seven- and eight-team sectionals over the past 10 years. It has been a tough area to group.”

Geographically, the Braves aren’t close to almost any of the new sectional opponents.

Brownstown is the farthest east on the new sectional map.

The longest possible trip the Braves would make is to South Vermillion, which is north of Terre Haute. A one-way trip is 118 miles.

West Vigo, located on the west side of Terre Haute, is 106 miles from Brownstown, and Northview is 93 miles away.

Edgewood or Owen Valley would likely serve as the halfway point for the schools.

Edgewood, outside of Bloomington, is 52 miles from Brownstown, while Owen Valley is 61 miles. Brown County is the closest school for the Braves at 28 miles.

The Braves played Brown County in the past, but the schools dropped each other from their schedules starting in 2019-20.

DeHart said the regular-season schedules won’t likely add any of the new sectional foes.

“I don’t see us changing our schedules, especially with the chance that we may move back with our previous sectional opponents (closer to home) after this two-year period,” he said.

“If we tried to pick some of these opponents up, they would be, by far, the longest trips on our regular-season schedules,” he said. “That poses potential problems for our students being out late on school nights, fans having trouble traveling to games and lower revenues when hosting.”

Benter said he has a little knowledge of the new schools but will have to get to know them better.

“Brown County is the only team that had been on our schedule,” he said. “I had exchanged films and seen a couple of the teams, so I’m a little bit familiar with them. Owen Valley won the sectional last year, and Edgewood was probably favored. Both of those teams are young and have really good sophomore classes. They will have some good teams coming back. We’ll still have our conference rivalries, but it will kind of be a new experience facing new teams in the sectional.”

Facing new opponents in the sectional means different preparation during the season.

“Both sides aren’t going to know the personnel,” Benter said. “Now, there are six more teams we’re going to have to scout throughout the year. It’s kind of exciting in a way. There will be a new regional, too. That will be interesting.”

Should the Braves win Sectional 26, they would face the winner of Sectional 27, which features Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory, Guerin Catholic, Bishop Chatard, Emmerich Manual, Shortridge and Lebanon, in the first round of regional.

The Braves would then face the winner between Sectionals 28 — Beech Grove, Herron, Indian Creek, Cardinal Ritter, George Washington and Speedway — and 29 — Batesville, Connersville, Franklin County, Lawrenceburg, Greensburg, Rushville and South Dearborn.

Brownstown could face one of its conference rivals in the semistate.

Last year, Owen Valley beat Edgewood 46-33 in the sectional final before falling to Indianapolis Crispus Attucks 88-61 in the regional. Attucks went on to the semistate round, where it fell to Silver Creek, the eventual state champion.

Unlike the boys, Brownstown’s girls team knows its sectional opponents.

Each December, the Braves travel to Eastern Greene High School to play in the Toby Yoho Classic.

The two-day tournament features a handful of teams from the western part of the state, including Edgewood and Owen Valley.

The Braves lost to Owen Valley 46-43 in the tournament’s championship game last year but beat both teams in 2017. Northview won the sectional last year, beating Owen Valley 65-48.

Brownstown is in the process of hiring a new girls basketball coach. Karla Rieckers’ resignation was approved by the school corporation’s board of trustees in April. In her 12 years at the helm, Rieckers had a coaching record of 193-90.

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