Braves beat Musketeers to go undefeated in MSC

BROWNSTOWN — One of the goals for the Brownstown Central boys basketball team this season was to win the Mid-Southern Conference.

Even though the Braves already had the MSC clinched heading into Friday night’s contest against Eastern (Pekin), the team still wanted to close out its conference slate without a blemish.

Brownstown did just that in front of a sold-out crowd inside The Pit. The Braves defeated the Musketeers 59-45 to go a perfect 8-0 in the MSC.

“It’s obviously one of our goals to start the year,” head coach Dave Benter said. “We want to continue to get better and win the conference, and that’s our goal in the regular season. Now, we can turn our attention to sectional time and get ready. We’ve got a week left.”

After the first 12 minutes of action in which both teams were running offense at an efficient rate, Brownstown really buckled down on the defensive end to extend its lead.

Brownstown used an 11-4 run to close the second quarter and take a 42-29 lead at halftime. The run consisted of two straight 3-pointers from Chace Coomer, a three from Jack Benter and a layup from Colby Hall.

“We’re trying to put at least four, sometimes five, shooters on the floor at all times,” coach Benter said. “So if teams want to double (Jack), that’s great because then we’ll have guys wide open for standstill 3s. It seems like it has been different guys for us each night that step up and make shots.”

The Braves led 19-14 after the first quarter, and the Musketeers were hanging tight midway through the second after Cody Banet came in off the bench and hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Both teams had solid shooting performances from the outside as Eastern hit five 3s in the first half and the Braves hit seven.

“We started running them off the 3-point line,” Benter said. “Early, we let them get way too comfortable shooting uncontested 3s. I thought we adjusted well toward the end of the first half and to start the second half.”

The second half was much more low scoring than the first. Both teams put up single-digit points in the third and fourth quarters, but the Braves’ lead was never at stake.

Benter said they allowed Eastern to play at a slow pace, but he said his team lacked a bit of urgency when there were opportunities to really pull away.

Jack Benter had a game-high 26 points, while Hall pitched in 15, including three 3-pointers. Coomer had nine, all coming from three, Adam Stahl scored four, Micah Sheffer three and Jakob Arthur two.

Eastern’s Jacob Cherry, who stands at 6-foot-11, scored 14 points to lead the Musketeers. Despite having a 5-inch height advantage over any of BC’s players — Hall is the tallest at 6-foot-6 — the Braves did a nice job keeping Cherry at bay.

The Braves are now at 17-4 this season and have won eight games in a row. The team will be at New Albany next Tuesday night and will close the regular season at home on Friday night against Orleans.

The sectional draw will be this Sunday.

“Every day, we know we have to get better defensively,” Benter said. “There’s some stretches where I feel like we can guard better. We have two real quality teams we play next week to help us get ready, and the draw is Sunday. We’re excited.”

Box score

At Brownstown

Braves 59, Musketeers 45

Eastern Pekin;14;15;7;9;—;45

Brownstown Central;19;23;9;8;—;59

Eastern (15-6): Jacob Cherry 5 3-4 14, Kaden Temple 4 3-4 11, Cody Banet 3 0-2 9, Kade Anderson 2 0-0 4, Brody Temple 2 0-0 4, Yancey Edlin 1 0-0 3, Totals 14 6-10 45.

Brownstown (17-4): Jack Benter 10 5-5 26, Colby Hall 6 0-0 15, Chace Coomer 3 0-0 9, Adam Stahl 1 2-2 4, Micah Sheffer 1 0-0 3, Jakob Arthur 1 0-0 2, Totals 23 7-7 59.

3-point goals: BC 8 (Coomer 3, Hall 3, Benter, Sheffer), E 5 (Banet 3, Cherry, Edlin).

Rebounds: BC 20, E 18.

Fouls: BC 13, E 9.

Junior Varsity

Brownstown 74, Eastern 41

Brownstown: Lane Pendleton 19, Carter Covert 11, Preston Garrison 10, Pierson Wheeler 8, Gregory Hutcheson 8, Caiden Gwin 8, Drew Shelton 5, Micah Sheffer 3, Trevor Branaman 2.