Cougars, Braves both go 2-0 in first day of Toby Yoho


BLOOMFIELD — The Brownstown Central and Trinity Lutheran girls basketball teams both secured two victories on Thursday in the first day of the Toby Yoho Classic at Eastern Greene.

For Brownstown, head coach Brandon Allman wanted his team to get off to early leads in both of their pool games. The Braves followed Allman’s wishes to a T by opening up a 15-5 lead against Bloomfield after the first period to roll to a 56-28 win.

The Braves held a 7-4 lead against South Knox after the first period, then rode an 11-2 second quarter into a 18-6 halftime lead and on to a 38-20 win.

“That was a really nice win there” he said after the Braves held the Spartans to six field goals. “South Knox is a really good basketball team. A couple of their losses are to us, and North Knox, who is ranked No. 1 (in Class 2A). They’ve got a really nice player (Ella Bode), and I thought we did a really nice job finding her, knowing where she was at all times.

“They have a couple other girls that we did a nice job defending. We’re not very often a 2-3 zone team, but we felt after the first couple possessions that we would go to that and that was our best option to be able to get some defensive stops, and I think in the first half we had a stretch of nine stops in a row,” Allman said.

“Our goal was to get ‘kills,’ three stops in a row, and I think we had four ‘kills’ in the first half, and I know we had a couple in the second so if you can get six or more kills in a game you’re going to have a good chance to win,” he said.

Allman said, in addition to a strong defensive performance, he was also pleased with the rebounding as the Braves held a 30-19 advantage with Kalee Borden leading the team with eight.

“We talk all the time, when you’re 5-8 and under you’ve got to gang rebound, and we did. They were a lot bigger than I thought they were after watching them on film.”

Maddy Hackman came out and hit two 3-point shots at the start of the second period, and she added another three later in the quarter and two free throws by Kinzee Dean helped the braves score 11 straight points before the Spartans scored in the closing seconds of the half.

Hackman finished with seven 3-pointers against Knox and finished with 23 points.

She also had five 3s against Bloomfield and finished with 19 points and Borden added 12.

Hackman got off to a slow start and after she took a close look at the ball she found out why.

“This morning in warmups I kind of felt I wasn’t going to be on. Usually in warmups I can get in a rhythm and hit five or six in a row. We probably played the first quarter-and-a-half and with a ‘boys’ ball. I thought my first shot was a little short and I thought, ‘the ball seems kind of heavy.’

“About halfway through the second quarter I looked at it and it should say 28.5 for a girls’ ball and it didn’t say that. Then we got a girls ball in there and it felt a lot better,” Hackman said.

She talked about opponents’ defenses.

“I personally like when they zone us because that sometimes gives me more of an open look on the 3, but I also like when they play man because then we get to run our sets and we get good looks in the post and then kick it back out,” she said.

Hackman said she likes to shoot from “whatever is open, but I kind of like the wing area the best.”

Allman said, “Those 9:30 (a.m.) games are always scary. You wonder how your girls will come out and we came out really efficient. We were able to turn them over early. I think we had 11 steals at halftime in that game and that led to some easy offense for us.

“Maddy shot the basketball really well that game, and our girls did a really nice job of being able to create and find her on kickouts. Great team effort,” he said.

The Braves will play today North Knox today at 1 p.m. in the semifinals.

“We need to defend them the same way and rebound the basketball,” Allman said. “They’ve got a lot of quick guards and they can shoot it. They make it really tough to defend.”

The Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team got off to a great start (14-0) in the Toby Yoho Tournament against Martinsville Thursday afternoon and rolled to a 47-22 win.

The Cougars defeated Loogootee 46-33 Thursday night in their second pool game. The Cougars (13-1) will play Jasper, the winner of Pool A, at 11:15 a.m. today and the winner will advance to the championship game tonight.

The 14-0 lead against Martinsville after six minutes of play is exactly what Coach Mike Lang was hoping for.

“That was the key, to come out and get an early lead and that way we could try to rest some legs,” he said.

Bailey Tabeling opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and Liza Froedge followed with another 3, Jordan Brewer drove for a layup, Madison Keith scored on a rebound and a layup and the Cougars had things going their way.

Tabeling scored eight points and Keith five in the first quarter. Before Marina Rautenkranz finally hit two free throws for the Artesians near the end of the period for a 20-2 lead.

Tabeling hit three straight 3-pointers in the middle of the second period as the Cougars increased their lead to 36-7 at the half.

Lang said he liked the way the Cougars moved the ball for good shots.

“I thought we had good shots in the first half, absolutely,” he said. “We were able to get what we wanted, when we wanted. It was a matter of executing. That is what it boiled down to and when you’re up 36-7 at halftime there’s not a lot of things you can really complain about.”

Tabeling topped the Cougars with 22 points. Included in her total were five 3-pointers.

She has been playing in the Toby Yoho for four straight years and she says she looks forward to the tournament each December.

“I like being able to play teams we don’t play in the regular season,” she said. “We’ve been working on our schedule to get some bigger teams, in 3A and 4A. Sometimes it’s just better to get out and expand. I think it brings us together as a team.”

“We spend a lot of time together here, between games, after games, even during games sometimes, getting those JV kids in is pretty important to us,” Tabeling added.

“We always try our best to get that big lead,” she said. “It also helps us get more physical because I know sometimes we’re not ready for that. I think this tournament also helps with that as well as progressing throughout the season. This tournament is so much fun to be in.”

The Cougars forced the Artesians into turnovers throughout the game and Lang said, “Our defense was opportunistic. They had some bad passes and our pressure was able to pick up on them and we were able to have our defense create offense.”

Against Jasper, Froedge led the way with 17 points and Tabeling added 14.

The Cougars increased their winning streak to 12 straight with the win.

Lang said he enjoys seeing different teams in the tournament.

“This is a great experience,” he said. “It’s like you’re playing in a regional. You’ve really got to stay focused. This really catapults us into the second half of the season where we know we’re going to see some tough competition.”

If Brownstown and Trinity both win their semifinal games today, the two teams will meet each other in the championship game at 7 p.m. tonight.

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