Braves beat Rebels to win second straight sectional title

HANOVER — In 2003, Brownstown Central head coach Dave Benter won his first ever sectional championship with the Braves in the Southwestern (Hanover) gymnasium.

Exactly 20 years to the day on Monday night, Benter won his 11th sectional title with the Braves in the same gym after Brownstown defeated Southwestern 72-42.

What he remembers most of the first sectional title 20 years ago? His daughter, Katherine, was born the week before.

“That was a real special group. That’s kind of what got us going, we just taught our guys how to win,” Benter said. “We had struggled several years before that, and that group was a bunch of winners. My daughter just so happened to be born the week before, so that was a really special time for us.”

Katherine is currently a sophomore on the Hanover College women’s basketball team.

Dave’s son, Jack, was the leading scorer on Monday night with 22 points to help lead the Braves to their second straight sectional title and the 21st sectional title in program history.

The Braves’ energy and activity on the defensive side of the ball allowed them to jump out to a big lead.

The first indicator of that was when Jack Benter jumped a passing lane and dunked it on the other end, causing Southwestern to call timeout as the Braves led 5-0.

Brownstown led 21-9 after the first quarter, and then extended their lead to 38-15 at halftime.

“Our energy was great tonight from start to finish,” coach Benter said. “We talked about getting off to a good start because we haven’t gotten off to good starts in our last two games. I thought our guys did a nice job of containing and taking the ball away. It helped get us off to a good start.”

Parker Hehman hit four 3-pointers in the first half and also had a steal that resulted in a nifty reverse layup with a little English off the glass.

“We were frustrated because he wasn’t playing with a lot of confidence the last few games,” Benter said of Hehman. “Our guys were telling him to shoot the basketball. He came out differently tonight. That’s the Parker we need to see.”

Hehman felt that from his team, too.

“All my teammates and coaches are confident in me, always telling me to shoot when I’m open,” Hehman said. “It’s just all the confidence they have that puts confidence in me.”

Peyton Gwin was the lone Rebel trying to keep his team in it. He scored 10 of the team’s 15 points in the first 16 minutes.

The Braves continued their onslaught in the second half, including a few more emphatic slams from Jack Benter.

In addition to his 22, Hehman added 20, Colby Hall had 12, Micah Sheffer six, Jakob Arthur five, Adam Stahl five and Carson Darlage two.

This was the first meeting between these two teams since Jan. 5, 2013, and it’s just the third overall meeting between them in the postseason with the Braves now boasting a 3-1 record in those tournament games.

It was a long grind for the Braves to claim this sectional title. Last week, they had tough games against Eastern Pekin (46-35) and Providence (44-42). Brownstown’s three sectional opponents had a total of 56 combined wins between them.

“I don’t think I’ve had a team play that many teams with that many wins,” Benter said on the tough sectional. “Our guys grinded it out. We had different types of games and were able to grind out different types of games. That’s good to see because this time of year you have to play different types of games. I’m happy to see we can win different ways.”

Brownstown (22-4) will now take on Forest Park (9-17), who won the Tell City Sectional. The Braves and Rangers will square off in the first game of the Southridge Regional at 4 p.m. The second game features Linton-Stockton and North Decatur at 7 p.m.

“We’re going to fight no matter who we got in front of us,” Hehman said.

Box score

At Southwestern (Hanover) Sectional

Braves 72, Rebels 42

Brownstown Central;21;17;16;18;—;72

Southwestern Hanover;9;6;11;16;—;42

Brownstown (22-4): Jack Benter 7 8-11 22, Parker Hehman 7 2-2 20, Colby Hall 5 2-2 12, Micah Sheffer 2 0-0 6, Jakob Arthur 2 1-2 5, Adam Stahl 1 3-4 5, Carson Darlage 1 0-0 2, Totals 25 16-20 72.

Southwestern (21-4): Peyton Gwin 6 1-2 16, Peyton Cloud 3 1-2 7, Jamison Lewis 2 2-2 6, Jackson Taylor 1 0-0 3, Braxton Lewis 1 0-0 3, Brady Cook 0 3-4 3, Landon Kidwell 1 0-0 2, Totals 14 7-10 42.

3-point goals: BC 6 (Hehman 4, Sheffer 2), SW 7 (Cloud 3, Gwin 2, Taylor, Lewis).

Rebounds: BC 32, SW 26.

Fouls: BC 10, SW 17.