Just a game away from winning its first sectional title in nine years, it’d be understandable if the Brownstown Central girls basketball team felt some pressure to deliver a championship.
Yet, on Saturday night, the only pressure felt at Owen Valley High School was by the West Vigo Vikings.
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The Braves constantly harassed the Vikings with their press — forcing 26 turnovers — to breeze to a 66-34 victory and the program’s first sectional crown since 2011.
From the tip, the Braves wanted to make the Vikings uncomfortable.
Whether it was at half-court, on the baseline, along the sideline, wherever, the Braves weren’t going to let an inexperienced West Vigo team get anything easy.
“Our No. 1 goal was to pressure the heck out of the basketball and get them to turn it over,” Brownstown Central coach Brandon Allman said. “We changed our press from a 2-2-1 to a 1-2-1-1 to really amp up our pressure, and that’s when we really started getting some turnovers and easy buckets in transition.”
Those easy buckets came by the truckload at the end of the first half.
After the Vikings cut into the BC lead, the Braves went on an 11-0 run to take a 40-14 advantage into the locker room.
West Vigo had no answers, and they didn’t have many players to put in who could take care of the basketball and stave off the Braves’ relentless badgering.
And BC just kept pouring it on.
“We wanted to apply the pressure and speed them up because their bench wasn’t very deep,” Braves senior Ashley Schroer said. “We wanted to speed them up, and that created a lot of turnovers for us.”
Schroer was the primary benefactor of many of those easy points off of turnovers.
Scoring 26 points to lead the Braves, she got a lot of her total in transition, but she also took whichever Viking defender she wanted off the dribble.
It was definitely her night as the senior continues to climb the charts as Brownstown Central’s top career scorers.
However, even if the offense wasn’t coming easy for her, she was still going to keep shooting.
She was determined to win.
“I was not going to walk out of this gym without holding that trophy,” she said. “Every game, you have to come in with the mentality that you’re going to hit your shots and that you’re going to win.”
Allman credits Schroer’s hard work, like he has all season, but noted the rest of the Braves on the floor did a great job of recognizing she had the hot hand and getting her the basketball.
“They didn’t have anybody on the floor that had an answer for her,” Allman said. “She took advantage of that full force, and our girls did a good job of getting her the basketball when they needed to.”
But Schroer wasn’t about to take all of the credit herself. She knows she’s had off games, and other players have stepped up this season to win ballgames.
She knows the sectional victory was a total team effort.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my team and my coaches,” she said after cutting down a piece of the net. “This feels absolutely amazing.”
Eight different Braves got into the scoring column in the sectional championship.
In addition to Schroer, the Braves were paced by Katherine Benter’s 11 points, Halle Hehman’s 10 and Maddy Hackman’s nine.
Zoe Fountain added four, and Emma Klinge, Kalee Borden and Andrea Bair each chipped in two.
The victory undoubtedly made for a happy bus ride home for the Braves, who leave Spencer for the second time this school year with a sectional title.
Just like the volleyball team did a few months ago, the girls basketball team took their title in front a packed set of bleachers.
The showing of support from the Brave faithful, who made the hour-and-a-half trip to Owen Valley High School from Brownstown, was a testament to the support the team feels from its community.
“I am blessed to be able to coach in a community that loves their sports and loves their athletes,” he said. “I can’t imagine those stands much more filled than they were today. For them to show how dedicated they are to us and these girls speaks volumes about our community.”
Brownstown Central now turns its attention to the Greencastle Regional, where the Braves will face Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter in the first game of the day at 10 a.m.
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Find more photos from championship Saturday online at tribtown.com/sports.