Shooting slumps happen to just about every basketball player at every level.
By her own admission, Brownstown Central girls basketball junior Katherine Benter had one just a handful of days ago.
Now she’s found her rhythm again, leading the Braves with 22 points during their 54-42 regional victory over Heritage Christian.
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Prior to Saturday’s final, Benter hadn’t eclipsed 20 points since the sectional opener against Brown County.
She still found her way on the scorer’s sheet, but it wasn’t at the clip she or the Braves were used to seeing from the junior who averages just fewer than 16 points a game.
Here were her point totals before Saturday’s regional title game.
In the sectional semifinal against Edgewood, she dropped 10, in the final against West Vigo, she scored 11, and in the regional semifinal against Cardinal Ritter, she managed just five points.
Though each of those games resulted in wins, and fairly lopsided ones in two of those three, Benter was going to need to show up big time if the Braves were going to up end the Eagles.
“I did not have a very good game last game and it’s been awhile since I’ve shot well,” Benter said after the regional championship. “I just told myself before the game, I have to go out there and do my best for my team.”
And she did just that.
Though it wasn’t a season high for Benter — she had 29 earlier this year — it might have been the best game she’s played according to coach Brandon Allman.
In the final minutes of the game, the Braves went to the free-throw line 10 times and sank 9 of 10. Benter went to the line six of those times and hit all of her freebies to help keep the Eagles at arm’s length.
“I told her she had to be at her best today,” Allman said. “There was no way we were going to win this basketball game unless she was at her best.
“By golly, that might have been her best 32 minutes of basketball she’s played right there.”
They’ll need a similar performance against the Salem Lions if the Braves hope to get back to the state title game for just the second time in program history.
Earlier this season, the Braves defeated Salem 54-50, with Benter leading the charge. She had a game-high 19 points including three 3-pointers and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.
The Braves will have plenty of time to prepare and won’t have to worry about playing two games in a day like they did last weekend.
The regional round can be difficult to navigate, especially against tougher competition this stage in the season, but playing twice is another added challenge.
As mentioned before, the Braves were without senior Zoe Fountain last Sautrday, and the BC starters were forced to play extended minutes.
Tired legs are almost always assured in the second game of the day, but still Benter and company were able to persevere.
“One our quotes for the week was, ‘When your body says you’re tired, your mind gets you over that,” Allman said. “But when your mind gets tired, it’s all about what you’ve got in your heart.’
“We played with a ton of heart.”