By Matthew VanTryon Flyer Correspondent
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — BROWNSBURG — Looking to avoid a fifth straight loss, the Brownsburg girls’ basketball team hosted Class 3A No. 5 Western Boone on Saturday night, and used a late surge to hold off the visitors, 58-57.
The Bulldogs (6-5) had a trio of players in double-figures. Freshman Reilly Olmstead and sophomore Aliyah Walker paced the team with 18 points apiece, while senior Hannah Mingus added 11. Walker also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.
Brownsburg coach Amy Brauman said stop-side effort was critical to turning the game in the Bulldogs’ favor.
“I really thought that defense was key for us,” Brauman said. “Once we really focused and played some good defense, I thought that got us going.”
Both teams found the net consistently from the start, as Western Boone took a 20-15 lead into the second quarter. Western Boone seniors BayLee Mitchell and Emily Harrison combined for 16 of their team’s points in the opening period.
The Stars continued to widen their lead in the second quarter. Every time Brownsburg hit a shot, the visitors seemed to match their effort. Western Boone’s Kaitlin Miller nailed a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired for a 34-27 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
Walker scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the half to keep her team within striking distance.
Brownsburg managed to shift momentum in their favor to begin the second half. Mingus netted seven points in the third quarter, and the Bulldogs cut their deficit to just two going into the final period.
The Bulldogs continued to mount momentum in the fourth quarter. A 5-0 run highlighted by a 3-pointer from Olmstead gave the Bulldogs a lead. Brownsburg stretched it to as many as five, but the Stars wouldn’t go quietly.
The game continued to go back and forth, and Brownsburg held with a one-point lead with 30 seconds to play. However, a foul sent Harrison to the foul line with a chance to take the lead. She missed both shots from the charity stripe, and Western Boone was forced to foul.
Olmstead hit the both ends of a one-and-one to give the Bulldogs a three-point lead with 16 seconds to play, but Western Boone hit a jumper with eight seconds left to cut it to one.
Brownsburg was fouled, but missed both free throws. Western Boone had a chance for a last-second miracle as it grabbed the board after the miss, but a turnover eliminated the chance for a comeback.
Western Boone coach Rich Schelsky said he felt his team thought it was superior, despite coming up short.
“In our opinion we were the better basketball team, the more experienced basketball team and somehow we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory,” said Schelsky.
Harrison made history in the contest, as her basket midway through the third quarter was her 1,000th point. She is the eighth player in program history to reach this plateau.
Harrison scored a game-high 22 points in the losing effort. Senior BayLee Mitchell added 12.
Western Boone outrebounded Brownsburg 25-21.
Brauman said the win could be a momentum-changer heading into the Hendricks County Tournament. Brownsburg opens the tourney at 8 p.m. Wednesday against rival Avon.
“We definitely needed this win,” she said. “We knew Western Boone was a great team. It was important for us, heading into the county tournament, to get a win and start feeling some confidence again.”