EDGEWOOD — Defensive improvement was what Brownstown head coach Dave Benter wanted to see in the postseason, and defensive improvement is what Benter got on Friday night as the Braves took on Edgewood.
Brownstown stifled the Mustangs to under 40 points en route to a 58-39 victory to advance to the sectional championship game tonight.
“I was really pleased to see how well we rebounded and thought defensively we were better,” Benter said.
The Braves also dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Mustangs 26-13 on the night. Benter said controlling the glass will be a key for Brownstown tonight as well.
Jack Benter got off to a hot start at Edgewood, making two early 3-pointers and scoring eight of the Braves’ first 11 points as Brownstown jumped out to an 11-4 lead.
There were two stretches where Brownstown played uncharacteristically, and one of those was to close the first quarter. Edgewood went on a 7-0 run thanks to some live-ball turnovers from Brownstown. The Braves still led 13-12 when the quarter was over, but coach Benter was not pleased.
“The one in the first half really bothered me because it was just bad decisions,” he said. “That’s something experienced teams can’t do.”
But the Braves responded nicely. Benter drilled two more 3-pointers in the second quarter, and Carter Waskom had a finish at the rim to put Brownstown up double digits, 25-14.
Edgewood could only muster five points in the second frame as the Braves exploded out to a 34-17 halftime lead. Benter had 16 at the break.
“Besides that stretch (at the end of the first), we outscored them by 24 in the first half,” coach Benter said. “We played outstanding in the first half.”
The second uncharacteristic stretch from Brownstown came at the start of the second half. Edgewood opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run and cut Brownstown’s lead to just eight.
Brownstown’s first basket in the third came with 3:30 left from a Benter layup.
“I thought we were real lethargic,” coach Benter said. “I don’t know if we thought we were already going to tomorrow night, but then I thought we re-established what we wanted to do.”
Bryce Neal had a couple of nice buckets at the end of the third quarter, and Brownstown re-gained its double digit advantage, leading 46-30 going into the fourth.
There were no issues in the fourth quarter as Brownstown cruised to its eventual 19-point victory. Benter led the Braves in scoring with 21 points, Waskom had 14 and Carson Darlage and Parker Hehman each had five.
Neal and Aidan Schroer each had four, Jakob Arthur three and Levi Stahl two.
Brownstown, now 21-3 on the season, will play tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Edgewood High School in the sectional championship game against either Owen Valley or Northview. Northview defeated Brownstown in last year’s sectional.
“Owen Valley is gonna play a little more deliberate, spread you out, drive the ball,” Benter said. “Northview plays at a fast pace, they’re really athletic and great offensively.
“We need to come in tomorrow morning and have a good walk through and be prepared. I got a lot of confidence our guys will come out ready to play tomorrow night.”