Brownstown Central’s girls basketball team took advantage of a referee-inspired meltdown by Egdewood and emerged with an improbably comfortable 43-32 win in the semifinal round of the Class 3A Edgewood Sectional Friday night.
While trailing 32-31 with 2:40 left in the game, the Braves’ Katherine Benter was fouled by Edgewood’s Caroline Clark 25 feet from the basket. Incensed by the call, Edgewood coach Gary Sims erupted in disgust, triggering a technical foul that allowed Benter to shoot four foul shots.
The Braves senior knocked down all four, giving her team a sudden 35-32 lead and opening the floodgates for Brownstown, now 18-6.
After trailing nearly the entire game, Brownstown made eight more free throws and pulled away to the victory. Edgewood’s Sims, meanwhile, later received a second technical foul and was booted from the game.
“Our girls gave an absolutely gutty performance,” BC head coach Brandon Allman said. “We could have folded several times tonight. Instead, our team came out and accepted the challenge. We finally got things to go our way.”
With its victory, Brownstown earned a spot in the sectional final against Brown County, a 44-33 winner over South Vermillion in the other semifinal. The Braves will attempt to win the school’s seventh sectional title at 7:30 tonight.
The Braves, who claimed last season’s Owen Valley Sectional crown, are also looking to repeat as sectional titlists. A win tomorrow night would give BC its first consecutive sectional titles since its three-peat in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
A sectional title seemed like a remote hope early in Friday’s contest. Brownstown opened the game with a cold shooting hand, making just two of its first 13 field goal attempts. The Braves were held scoreless during a 5:02 stretch, during which Edgewood (15-7) raced to a 13-6 lead.
Kalee Borden got BC going a minute into the second quarter when she hit a 3-pointer from the right side. Benter followed with consecutive layups to tie the score at 13 with 4:55 left in the first half.
Edgewood answered, however, outscoring Brownstown 8-2 over the next three minutes to take a 23-15 advantage with 2:22 remaining in the second quarter.
Allman called a timeout, stopping Edgewood’s rally. Four Benter free throws got the Braves to within 23-19 when the first half buzzer sounded.
“That 4-0 run was a huge momentum swing for us,” Allman said. “We knew this was going to be a dogfight. Edgewood was physical. They got into us, man to man. I don’t think we responded well early in the game.”
Edgewood scored 14 points in the paint in the first half while relentlessly attacking the basket. But BC adjusted its defense, going to a 2-3 zone, and limited the Mustangs to just nine second-half points.
Benter led the Braves with 31 points, including going 18-for-24 from the foul line. Borden had a monster game, grabbing seemingly every important rebound. She ended with 11 total boards.
Maddy Hackman added seven points.