Lady Braves defeat South Spencer in double-overtime to secure fifth regional title


CHARLESTOWN — ”Survive and advance” is the no-nonsense slogan of postseason basketball, and that’s exactly what Brownstown Central’s girls basketball team did in Saturday afternoon’s Class 2A Charlestown Regional.

The Braves outlasted a tough, persistent South Spencer squad and escaped with a thrilling 55-50 double-overtime victory, securing a spot in this weekend’s Shelbyville Semistate.

The win gives Brownstown its fifth girls basketball regional title, the last one coming in 2020. The Braves (19-8) learned during the IHSAA’s semistate pairings show on Sunday that they will take on Linton-Stockton (20-6) in the 10 a.m. semifinal game Saturday.

Eastern Hancock (24-1) and Sheridan (20-5) will play in the second semifinal at noon. The semifinal winners will meet in the final at 8 p.m.

Earning a semistate berth was no easy task. From the opening tip, Brownstown and South Spencer (14-12) engaged in an evenly matched, nip-and-tuck affair. The two teams were never separated by more than four points until the end of the second overtime when the Braves finally gained control of the game.

The game featured eight lead changes and 10 ties.

“It was a roller coaster of emotions,” Brownstown head coach Brandon Allman said. “When we would get just a little bit of momentum, they would take it away. I’m so proud of our girls. That was a really good team we just beat. We just made a few more plays than they did.”

Each team experienced moments of elation when victory seemed within grasp, only to see the other team make a clutch, game-extending play.

Though never comfortable, Brownstown generally held a small lead throughout regulation time. With 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Braves led 40-37 after a Harley Toppe free throw and appeared headed to the post-game trophy ceremony.

South Spencer’s Molly Schulte, however, wouldn’t cooperate. The senior made a difficult driving jumper from the right side with 13 seconds left to cut the deficit to a point.

After BC’s Jenna Klosterman made the first of two foul shots for a 41-39 lead, Schulte rebounded Klosterman’s missed second attempt with just seven seconds remaining, dribbled the length of the court and hit a layup just before the final buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.

“We had two fouls to give, so we were yelling ‘Fire,’ which is our foul call,” Allman said. “Toppe was right there and could have fouled, but she had four fouls. It was just one of those moments. Give credit to (Schulte) for making the play.”

The game’s momentum shifted in the first overtime. South Spencer took a two-point lead after a Caidence Crane 3-pointer and maintained that advantage for most of the period.

When BC’s Sophie Wischmeier was called for a charge with just 15 seconds remaining, it was South Spencer’s turn to start thinking of lifting the regional trophy.

Trouble at the foul line doomed the Rebels, however. They missed three of four free throws in the final 30 seconds of the first overtime, leaving the door open for Brownstown. Down 45-43 with 10 seconds left, Brownstown once again called on Wischmeier, though the play designed for her didn’t go quite as planned.

“We were supposed to have a ball screen for me, but something happened,” Wischmeier said. “Then I got the pass, I looked at the clock and saw there were five seconds left and thought, ‘Well, I guess I’ll just take it.’ I felt good about it. I thought it was going in.”

Wischmeier’s intuition was right. She drove into the lane, released a running shot and watched the ball roll through the net with a second on the clock. The basket tied the score at 45 and sent the game into another overtime.

South Spencer had chances to take control in the second OT but missed three more foul shots. Brownstown took advantage, getting layups from Klosterman and Toppe and then two free throws by Klosterman to take a 51-46 lead, the first five-point cushion enjoyed by either team.

Two free throws by Kinzee Dean and a final layup by Mallory Klosterman iced the game for the Braves.

“When we got the lead in the second overtime, I knew the game was ours,” Dean said. “I never lost faith in our girls. We all had to work hard today. I thought everyone played awesome. The bench was awesome. The coaches were awesome. The student section was awesome. It was a team effort from everyone. The whole community gave us overwhelming support. It’s just amazing.”

In a game filled with great individual efforts, Dean’s stood out. The 5-foot-7 junior led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Most of that production came despite foul trouble that forced her to sit most of the third quarter.

“Kinzee played a whale of a ballgame,” Allman said. “She played with four fouls for a long time and still got a double-double. I’m uber-proud of her effort.”

Not far behind Dean’s effort were the excellent games played by Jenna Klosterman and Toppe. Klosterman ended with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Toppe added 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.

Wischmeier and Mallory Klosterman were also key contributors, each scoring seven points.

South Spencer was led by Schulte’s 13 points, while Crane and Alexis Harris each scored 11.

After the game, Rebel head coach Rob Schulte searched for a way to explain his team’s uncharacteristic 9-for-24 shooting from the foul line, including 4-for-11 in overtime.

“Shooting free throws is something we’ve done very well this year,” Schulte said. “Free throws are what clinched the sectional for us. We had the people at the line that we wanted, but nobody was making them. It didn’t matter who it was. We weren’t able to relax, for whatever reason. It’s hard to understand. We played in front of 3,500 last weekend, and we made our free throws. Today, we just couldn’t do it. The only thing you can figure is we were tired, but it wasn’t just at the end. We weren’t making them the entire game.”

Allman also theorized that fatigue may have played a role in South Spencer’s foul-line difficulties.

“I think it was due to the longevity of the game,” Allman said. “They had some kids play a lot of minutes. They had to have tired legs, especially in a game that was as physical and up-and-down as this one.”

Four of the Rebels’ starters played 38 or more the game’s 40 minutes. Those players shot 6-for-16 from the line. By contrast, only two Brownstown players played more than 30 minutes.

For Brownstown, Saturday’s post-game celebration was a little sweeter because it was unexpected coming into the season.

“We lost probably 75% of our scoring from last year, and coming into this year, we didn’t know how we would play,” Dean said. “Nobody thought we would win sectional, let alone the regional, or have as good of a record as we have. But we all worked our butts off over the summer, and we’ve been working hard during the season. It feels good to prove everybody wrong.”

Asked if before the season he expected to be playing this deep into the tournament, Allman responded frankly.

“No, not at all,” the fifth-year coach said. “But we’ve just continued to get better. We had some long stretches there in the second half of the season, but the girls have really rallied around each other over the last couple of weeks. The sectional week and this week, they’ve been locked in. Their mentality has been different. I love this team, the way they’re playing and their mentality. But we can’t get complacent. We’ve got to keep building.”

Charlestown Regional

Brownstown Central 55, South Spencer 50, 2OT

S. Spencer;10;5;12;14;4;5;—;50


South Spencer (14-12): Molly Schulte 5 2-7 13, Alexis Harris 3 2-3 11, Caidence Crane 3 3-7 11, Kendalyn Shourds 4 1-4 9, Sally Shelton 1 1-2 3, Brailee Head 1 0-0 3, Caylen Cook 0 0-0 0, Totals 17 9-23 50.

Brownstown Central (19-8): Kinzee Dean 6 7-8 19, Jenna Klosterman 3 5-8 12, Harley Toppe 3 2-4 10, Mallory Klosterman 3 0-0 7, Sophie Wischmeier 3 0-0 7, Kelsey Schneider 0 0-0 0, Addison Darlage 0 0-0 0, Jada Miller 0 0-0 0, Hailey Hobson 0 0-0 0, Totals 18 14-20 55.

3-pointers: South Spencer 7 (Harris 3, Crane 2, Schulte, Head), Brownstown 5 (Toppe 2, M. Klosterman, J. Klosterman, Wischmeier)

Rebounds: South Spencer 17 (Shelton 7), Brownstown 30 (Dean 10, J. Klosterman 7, Wischmeier 4, Toppe 4, Schneider, Darlage, Hobson, Team 2)

Turnovers: South Spencer 12, Brownstown 18

Fouls: South Spencer 16, Brownstown 22

No posts to display