SALEM, Ind. – The sectional title that eluded Brownstown’s senior-laden bunch for three seasons is finally en route to Braves territory.
Behind a combined 50 points from fourth-year standouts Carson Lambring and Cody Waskom, Brownstown turned in a 78-58 win over tournament host Salem in Monday night’s Class 3A Sectional 30 championship. The crown is the Braves’ first since the 2012-13 season, which capped a string of five straight titles that began with a trip to the Class 2A state championship in 2008-09.
Class 3A’s third-ranked team, Brownstown advances to Saturday’s Washington Regional semifinal versus Evansville Bosse (18-7) at 11:30 a.m. The winner moves to Saturday night’s regional final against Pike Central (14-11) or Greensburg (17-6).
Lambring netted 26 points to lead all scorers, and Waskom tallied 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists to pace the Braves (24-2) Monday evening. The duo makes up two of Brownstown’s 10 seniors on its 12-man roster.
“This group hadn’t won one, so it’s really special,” Brownstown coach Dave Benter said. “This group, in four years, hadn’t won one. Everyone is different because you can see it in the kids’ eyes. This group, you could tell, was really hungry all year. … This 3A sectional, year in and year out – it’s just really, really difficult to win a sectional, so that’s makes it even more rewarding.”
Lambring, a multi-sport athlete and one of three Brownstown basketball players in the family, scored 20 first-half points Monday to seize early momentum for the Braves. He posted 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the first quarter.
“I’m speechless, man,” Lambring said. “I’ve been working my whole life toward this. I’ve grown up watching my brother and sister play at Brownstown. They cut down nets. They had great success. It feels nice to be the one up there.”
Salem’s season, which included a program-record 15 straight wins, ended at 22-3. The Lions’ win total is one off the program record set in the 1929-30 season. In his final game, Seth Hobson led the 10th-ranked Lions with 18 points Monday. Fellow seniors Derek Cornett and Jaelin Nice chipped in 11 and nine points, respectively. Salem also graduates Jeffrey Burch and Uriah Leatherman off this year’s squad.
After a back-and-forth start, Brownstown took a 17-11 lead on a Waskom steal and layup midway through the first quarter. The Braves extended their lead to eight on the ensuing possession and led 26-18 entering the second quarter. The visitors went 10-for-16 from the floor and 4-for-6 from 3-point range in the opening period.
Brownstown hit its first three shots of the second quarter and led 34-20 early, but the Lions battled back. A 9-1 run brought Salem within six with 3:04 left in the first half, but the Braves entered halftime with a 44-33 lead. Hobson scored nine points in the second quarter to give the Lions life.
“We had to slow down,” Lambring said. “We had to be mentally prepared. We knew they were going to make a run. We knew we had to handle it well, and that’s what we did tonight.”
Salem cut its deficit to 44-37 with 6:25 showing in the third quarter, but again Brownstown had an answer. Its lead grew to 56-39 with less than three minutes left in the third, and the Braves entered the final period with a 65-46 advantage after a technical foul from Salem’s Hunter Weedin. The Braves led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter.
“We told them at halftime, an 11-point lead to Salem is like a three- or four-point lead to normal teams,” Benter said. “They are so explosive. The way they play, they really get out and pressure you defensively. Offensively, they have so many weapons and play so fast. We wanted to win the 50-50 battle, we wanted to win the turnover battle, and we wanted to win the rebound battle. Those were all things that we felt we could control.”
The Sectional 30 championship was moved to Monday due to a power outage at Salem last week. The change of schedule cuts down on Brownstown’s preparation time for regional play, but the Braves, Benter said, will be ready.
“It’s tough, us having a shorter week,” Benter said. “Bosse has had more time to prepare. Bosse, they are going to be a huge challenge for us. A lot of people picked them at the beginning of the year to win state in 3A, but I know this group isn’t going to back down. This group has a lot of fighters. We’re going to go down competing, if we ever go down.”
Class 3A Sectional 30 championship
Brownstown 78, Salem 58
Braves (24-2): Carson Lambring 26p, 4r; Cody Waskom 24p, 7r, 5a; Ty Maxie 11p, 3a; Derek Rieckers 4p, 4r, 3a; Gavin Bane 10p; Cameron Eggersman 3p
Lions (22-3): Hunter Weedin 13p, 6r; Jaelin Nice 9p; Seth Hobson 18p, 4r; Xavier Haendiges 3p, 3a; Derek Cornett 11p, 3r, 2a; Jeffrey Burch 2p; Landon Suvak 2p