Halle Hehman hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first half to give the Brownstown Central girls basketball team a major shot in the arm.
Battling with the Edgewood Mustangs for a spot in the sectional final, Hehman’s 3 ended up being the spark that pushed the Braves to a 48-28 victory and secure a spot in the Owen Valley sectional final.
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The make effectively turned the game from a three-possession contest into a four-possession game and coach Brandon Allman said it’s what made the difference heading into the final 16 minutes.
“I almost did a Steph Curry with that shot; I was walking to the locker room when she shot it,” Allman joked. “It was big shot.”
Allman expected Hehman and Ashley Schroer, the two listed at forward for the Braves, were going to get some wide-open looks at the basket from deep.
The Mustangs boast two towers in the post, and Allman wanted to pull them away from the basket as much as he could.
Hehman and Schroer knocked down the open chances they were given, finishing with 10 and 13 points, respectively.
The Braves also outworked the Edgewood bigs on the boards. BC nabbed 25 rebounds compared to just 19 from the Mustangs.
Along with Hehman, the early shot making from Maddy Hackman also helped keep the Braves in front early.
Hackman and Hehman combined for five 3-pointers in the first half, and Allman noted he was glad to see them both step up on offense when Schroer and Katherine Benter were struggling to hit shots early.
“I thought every girl that played stepped up in a positive manner tonight,” Allman said. “We only had one little lapse that we struggled with in the first half, but … we need some of those girls to step up again [tonight].”
While the Braves were heating up in the second half, the Mustangs were shutting down.
Brownstown Central outscored Edgewood 28-13 in the second half and forced 16 Mustang turnovers for the game.
The Braves took better care of the ball, especially in the second half, committing just 10 turnovers.
Their care of the basketball allowed them to play keep away in the final stanza against the Mustangs.
With the Mustangs contented to just let BC hang onto the ball well past the 3-point line, the Braves were able to melt precious seconds off the clock.
It got especially frustrating for Edgewood and they resorted to fouling to get the matchups they wanted.
“I’m not stall-ball coach but, when you’re up 20 and you want to win a game, we were able to take advantage of that,” Allman said.
Schroer did a lot of the ball handling late and frustrated the Mustangs’ 6-foot-2-inch center Kaiden Harrington, who couldn’t stay with her.
“Ashley was so gassed when she came out of the game,” Allman said. “She said, ‘I think that’s the most I’ve ever handled the basketball.’”
Hackman led the Braves with 15 points, all coming from the 3-point line, while Benter rounded out the scoring with 10.
Brownstown Central will face West Vigo tonight at 7:30 p.m. trying to secure their first sectional title since 2011. The Vikings needed double overtime to defeat South Vermillion 45-44.
It’s the second straight year making a sectional championship game for the Braves, who fell short to Salem last season.