By Jake Thompson
LIZTON — For the first time since the one-two punch of Gordon Hayward and Julian Mavunga suited up for Brownsburg’s boys’ basketball team, the Bulldogs brought home a Hendricks County championship.
Making the victory even sweeter for Brownsburg was winning at the expense of its county and conference rival, not to mention the three-time defending county champ, Avon.
After Brownsburg downed Avon 59-51 earlier this season, the Bulldogs bullied the Orioles on both sides of the court for a 67-41 victory Monday night at Tri-West.
“I thought it would take a pretty relentless effort to beat Avon and I thought our kids really gave that to us tonight,” Brownsburg first-year coach Steve Lynch said. “I’m very proud of the effort the team put forth against a county rival tonight.”
Brownsburg simply executed better than Avon at most every tangible statistic.
The Bulldogs hit 14 of 16 free throws while the Orioles went 5 of 14 from the line. Brownsburg forced over 20 turnovers while only giving it over nine times.
Avon shot 15 of 39 (38 percent) from the floor while Brownsburg connected on 23 of 49 (47 percent).
The trio of K.J. Walton (19), Trevor Lucas (15), and Darrian Ringo (13) all scored in double figures and did the most damage on each end of the court.
“Our team is so good at being unselfish and sharing the ball,” Lucas said after cutting down his portion of the championship net. “If one person has a bad night, the others can pick up for him.
“We have a good team and a chance at going really far.”
Avon coach Jason Young echoed that sentiment.
“Coach Lynch has done a great job with (Brownsburg), playing very hard and unselfish basketball,” he said. “They’re talented, experienced and athletic.”
Avon jumped out to a 4-0 lead, tied the game at 7-7 midway through the first and never led again as Brownsburg’s advantage exponentially grew.
Brownsburg led by four after the first, 12 at the half, 20 by the end of the third and won by a 26-point margin.
While Brownsburg played well offensively, they made Avon uncomfortable with its defense. The Bulldogs’ relentless defensive pressure forced the Orioles into mistakes, resulting in easy transitional baskets.
“They apply a lot of pressure on the basketball and mix up their defenses,” Young said. “They sped us up so much that we even sped ourselves up against a 2-3 zone when they went there and had some unforced turnovers against the zone and then couldn’t get it entered against the 1-3-1 trap and just really struggled all night.
“We created a lot offense for them with our live ball turnovers.”
Brandon Peters led Avon with 14 points, connecting on four 3-pointers and Conner Funkhouser dropped in nine.
“When we left (our) gym from walkthrough we kind of looked at the banners and it’s been a couple of years,” Lynch said. “In our first opportunity together, it’s a nice moment.”
Lucas said the team accomplished the first of three goals by winning the county title. Next up is winning the Hoosier Crossroads Conference title and finally a deep post-season run.
History may be on the Brownsburg’s side as the last time the Bulldogs won a county crown, they also won a state title.