Brownstown girls remain undefeated



Katherine Benter is the type of seasoned guard coaches trust when a team needs a spurt.

Tuesday night, the Brownstown Central senior pumped in 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and was the guiding light on the floor as the Braves pulled away from Trinity Lutheran with a decisive run late in the third quarter for a 58-44 victory.

In a battle between two Jackson County teams, the Class 3A Braves girls moved to 3-0 on the season by taking control after a seesaw first half.

"Our girls finally started attacking the basket," said Brownstown coach Brandon Allman of what transformed a one-basket game into a double-figure result.

Over the last three-and-a-half minutes of the third period, Brownstown made the big plays and the big shots and sealed off the hoop for the 1A Cougars playing up. 

The lead was just 32-30 when the Braves got their mojo rolling. Andrea Blair made a jumper, Emma Klinge hit a 3-pointer, and Avery Koch made the first two of four second-half buckets. Then Benter made the next seven points.

Although Allman was thinking it was time to hold the ball for a last shot with the clock running out on the quarter, Benter saw an opening and made a three with 23 seconds to go.

Allman would have chastised her for a miss, but couldn’t complain about a make that provided a 14-point lead going into the fourth period. Allman said Benter shot him a sly smile from the court.

Brownstown out-scored Trinity, 14-2 over that last chunk of the quarter and when Maddy Hackman opened the fourth with a three-pointer for a game-high 17-point lead, things were out of reach.

"We started being more aggressive," Benter said of what broke the game open.

The Braves needed Benter’s output. The Cougars (1-1) have two main weapons in guard Bailey Tabeling (9 points) who was contained, and forward Sydney Jaynes, a 6-foot-3 force who can shoot the three, rebound and bring the ball upcourt.

Koch, who is 5-9, knew she could not directly handle Jaynes’ size, so her only inside moves for her 8 points were layups. Being left-handed may have been a plus. That is something many defenders don’t expect.

"Usually when a person is a lot bigger than me I try to get them up in the air," Koch said.

Jaynes had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Trinity and was particularly effective early when the score was 7-7, 9-9,14-14, 20-20 and 27-27. It was 30-27 Braves at halftime.

The second half began with a thud. Neither Brownstown nor Trinity could make a hoop in the first three-and-a-half minutes. It was as if the temperature that was dropping outside permeated the inside, too.

"We got all the looks we wanted at the start of the third quarter," Trinity coach Mike Lang said. "And they didn’t fall. We lost our focus. We’ve got to stay in an attack mode."

The Cougars briefly pulled within 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Benter and Koch, with some long-range boosts from guard Hackman (12 points) always had an answer.

Lang said Benter looked like a player on a mission and he admired her floor game.

"Kat’s game is at a high level," he said.

Benter was constantly wary of Jaynes’ presence and the threat of her blocking shots if the 5-8 guard tried to drive.

"I took a lot of floaters," Benter said.

This Brownstown team lost several key players from last season and only a few weeks ago talked about growing as the schedule progressed. But the Braves are undefeated at the moment.

"3-0," Benter said. "It’s a good start."

Trinity (1-1) 12    15    5    12 — 44

Brownstown (3-0) 11    19   16   12 — 58

Cougars: Sydney Jaynes 7 2-3 18: Genesis Munoz 2 0-0 5; Liza Froedge 3 1-2 8; Bailey Tabeling 3 3-3 9; Kailene Cockerham 1 2-2 4.

Braves: Kelsey Wischmeier 0 0-0; Hannah Stahl 2 0-0 6; Maddy Hackman 4 0-0 12; Emma Klinge  1 0-0 3; Katherine Benter 10 2-2 25; Andrea Blair 2 0-0 4; Avery Koch4 0-1 8.

Three-point shots: B (Hackman 4, Benter 3, Stahl 2, Klinge); T (Jaynes 2, Froedge, Munoz).

Field goal percentage: B 42 percent; T 33 percent). Free throws: B 2-3, T 8-10. Rebounds: B 39, (Benter 10. Hackman 9, Borden 8; T 24 (Jaynes 14). Turnovers: B  T (4).

Junior Varsity

Brownstown 40, Trinity Lutheran 29.

Morgan Brewer (T) 13; Ava McKinney (B) 11.

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