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Boards tilt Braves’ way

Boards tilt Braves’ way
Boards tilt Braves’ way
Picking up a screen from teammate Quinn Kaiser, North Harrison's Alex Flock tries to shake free from Brownstown Central's Cody Waskom in the first half. Photo by Brian Smith

Brownstown Central posed as the likely team others wanted to avoid come tournament time. The Braves, ranked No. 4 in the final Class 3A poll, won 20 games in the regular season. It marked the sixth time in the last seven years they’ve eclipsed 20 wins.
Luck of the ping-pong balls prompted North Harrison as the team drawn to face the Braves first in the opening round of the 3A Charlestown Sectional last Tuesday.
It would have been an upset of sorts if the Cougars could have knocked out the Braves. Afterall, the Braves won 85-53 back on Dec. 18. On the up and up for North Harrison boys’ basketball, however, was a six-win improvement from last season’s seven victories.
For much of last Tuesday’s game, Brownstown Central had shots challenged on the offensive end. When those shots didn’t go down, the Braves simply crashed the offensive glass, leading to additional chances. The added shots, along with a better shooting performance at the charity stripe, led Brownstown Central to a 66-44 victory over North Harrison.
The Cougars’ season ended with a 13-10 record.
‘It wasn’t as competitive as I thought it could have been,’ North Harrison coach Kevin Jones said. ‘We didn’t play our best game offensively because of them. I’m hoping they didn’t play their best game because of some things we did well. At the end of the day, you have to rebound.’
Carson Lambring was the top shooter for the Braves. The 5-foot-11 junior tallied 19 points, one of four Braves to reach double-figure scoring, including three triples.
Early in the first quarter, Lambring had a trey, along with second-chance field goals by Jacoby Shade and Cameron Eggersman, go down for a 10-2 lead.
North Harrison found some offense late in the quarter with scores by Jake Book and Chandler Jenkins to cut the margin to five, 12-7.
It was on the glass where Brownstown Central shined. The Braves out-rebounded North Harrison 19-12 in the opening half, a half where neither team shot particularly well.
Much of Brownstown Central’s scoring came on additional opportunities, including a pair of Lambring field goals.
‘Their pressure didn’t bother us tonight, but, other than missing shots we normally hit, they just out-rebounded us,’ Jones said. ‘I thought we didn’t play bad defensively on first shots. On second shots, they would get a rebound and pass it out for an open 3. Lambring hit several in those situations.’
North Harrison was limited to six second-quarter points, with half of those coming on an Alex Flock 3-pointer. The Braves led 28-13 at the break.
At the line, North Harrison made four of its first nine free-throw attempts. The Cougars ended up 10 of 17 for the game. On the opposite end, Brownstown Central was near perfect, going 13 of 15.
North Harrison tried to fight back in the third quarter. Flock shook free for a 3-pointer. A 6-0 scoring run aided by seniors Jenkins and Flock prompted a 37-24 score.
Again, it was the Braves’ offensive boards. A Eggersman board led to kicking out to Lambring for a 3-pointer. Soon the Brownstown Central lead was back to 18, 42-24 at the end of three.
‘Last year, we weren’t very good early on playing them, but, going into the fourth quarter at our place it was a four-point game. It’s because we out-rebounded them by five,’ Jones said of the Brownstown Central match-up. ‘This year we go up there and get our doors blown in and they doubled us up in rebounds. They did the same tonight.’
The fourth quarter was an up-and-down scoring pace with Brownstown Central maintaining its edge. Jenkins scored half of his team-best 14 points in the final frame. Fellow senior Flock closed with nine points.
The talented duo ended with nearly 1,700 career points between them.
‘Our seniors are really going to be sorely missed,’ Jones said. ‘They’ve done a lot for the program the last two years. I can’t thank them enough.’
Senior Luke Logsdon didn’t dress for the final game.
‘We’re not satisfied with how we played tonight,’ Jones said. ‘If we would have rebounded better, maybe we are within 10. If we hit more free throws and not miss some shots in the lane, maybe it’s closer. Against a team like Brownstown, you have to finish those.’
Sophomores Book and Max Flock scored eight and five points, respectively for North Harrison.
Other leading scorers for Brownstown Central were Cam Shoemaker (12 points), Jacoby Shade (11 points, nine rebounds) and Cody Waskom (10 points).
When the draw was released, Jones admitted his heart dropped when he learned his team would play the tradition-rich Braves in the opening round. His goal, for the next few years, is to be the team others don’t want to play in the first round either.
‘I think we made progress this year and strides toward that,’ he said. ‘This summer is going to be big. We are going to miss 32, 33 points per game from our two seniors. We’re not going to have one kid replace that. It needs to be a lot of kids stepping up their game.’
Finishing with a 13-10 record is the best since going 14-8 in 2012-13. It’s also the third campaign with a winning record since the 2003-04’s 17-5 mark. The Cougars will continue to work toward the program’s first sectional since 1996.
‘I think we have a chance to be much better next year and beyond,’ Jones said. ‘We’re happy with the progress we’re making. There are more kids interested in basketball. It takes a lot of time and dedication. That’s why the summer is going to be so important. We have to learn to score without our scoring crutches. A lot of times the younger guys weren’t aggressive enough on the offensive end.’

Brownstown Central 12 16 14 24 ‘ 66
North Harrison 7 6 11 20 ‘ 44
Brownstown Central (21-3) ‘ Lambring 19, Shoemaker 12, Shade 11, Waskom 10, Nierman 6, Maxie 2, McCory 2, Kramer 2, Eggersman 2.
North Harrison (13-10) ‘ Jenkins 14, A. Flock 13, Book 8, M. Flock 5, Haub 2, Wetzel 2.
3-point goals ‘ Brownstown Central 7 (Lambring 3, Nierman 2, Shade, Waskom); North Harrison 4 (A. Flock 3, M. Flock).