The Brownstown Central and Trinity Lutheran girls basketball teams seem to find a way to make it to championship games of holiday tournaments.
Last year, they met in the finals of the Toby Yoho Tournament.
On Monday night, they reached the finals of the inaugural Ben Emkes Holiday Classic at the Bollinger Athletic Complex. Both times, the results were the same.
The Braves won 56-43 to take home the championship trophy.
On Monday night, the Cougars (12-3) held a 31-24 lead at the half.
The Cougars had possession of the ball to start the second half but were called for a five-second violation when they couldn’t get the ball in play. That play seemed to spark the Braves, and they scored the first 16 points of the third period.
Trinity advanced to the finals with a 64-60 win over Bishop Chatard, while Brownstown (10-4) topped Edgewood 37-36.
Cougars coach Mike Lang said the play at the start of the second half was a momentum changer.
“When we left the locker room at halftime, we mentally weren’t checked into it,” Lang said. “We had no talk defensively. We were letting shooters get loose, and to their credit, they knocked them down, and we knew they were going to knock shots down the second half. It starts with communication on the defensive end.”
Kalee Borden started the 16-0 spurt with a 3-pointer. Katherine Benter hit back-to-back 3s in a 20-second span. Then Maddy Hackman and Emma Klinge followed with 3s, giving the Braves 15 points on five possessions over a 3-minute span to make it a 40-31 game. That was too much for the Cougars to overcome.
Trinity had four turnovers and missed all three of its shots from the floor during Brownstown’s rally.
Sydney Jaynes helped bring her team back to 40-36 with five straight points, though.
Benter then retaliated with her fifth 3-pointer of the game and Avery Koch followed with a three-point play to push BC’s lead to 46-36 entering the fourth quarter.
The Braves made 12 of 31 3-pointers.
“That’s moving the basketball and taking great shots,” Brownstown coach Brandon Allman said. “We passed up some good shots for great shots. When you do that, especially against a zone, you’re going to have some success.
“It all started on our defensive end. It was a 16-0 run, but it was because we were getting some stops. We picked up their press and sped them up, which was our goal.”
Just getting to the title game was a battle.
“Beating Edgewood was a tall task for us,” Allman said.
Benter led the Braves with 29 points and 12 rebounds.
“It was definitely a good team effort,” Benter said. “(Allman) reamed us in the locker room at halftime. We weren’t getting the shots we wanted. We took a couple really quick shots that weren’t really good shots.”
Jaynes topped the Cougars with 24 points and nine rebounds.
In their first game, the Cougars opened a 42-19 lead at the half before Chatard scored 45 points in the second half.
Bailey Tabeling led the Trinity offense with 26 points, shooting 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Jaynes added 20.
Edgewood held a 31-27 lead going into the fourth period against Brownstown. Benter was high for the Braves with 13, and Hannah Stahl and Hackman added nine each.