By Justin Whitaker
BROWNSBURG — From the opening tip, the Brownsburg boys’ basketball team was ready to play.
Using effective defense that led to easy shots, Brownsburg beat Hoosier Crossroads Conference opponent Lafayette Jeff 58-35 for its fifth straight win and to improve its record to 9-9.
The Bulldogs held the Bronchos without a field goal for nearly the first 13 minutes of the game as Lafayette Jeff also missed their first 13 field goal attempts.
“There was really nothing that was too earth shattering that we did,” Brownsburg coach Ronald Nored said. “I thought we were just solid. Our guys didn’t gamble. They didn’t try and get in the passing lanes and try and get steals.”
Brownsburg led 30-8 at the half. The eight points at the half was a season-low allowed for the Bulldogs as they played some of its best, if not the best defense of the season.
“If we have, it’s been awhile since we’ve played defense like that,” Nored said. “We feel like we have a pretty good defensive scheme and we just have to go out and play it.”
Brownsburg led 14-2 after the first quarter, including eight from sophomore Kenneth Walton’s game-high 15 points. Lafayette Jeff’s two points came from two separate trips to the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs built a 22-2 lead after senior Xavier Ringo opened the second quarter with eight straight points. All of his points were scored on fastbreak layups where he was fouled on each of the layups. He converted the first two and-one opportunities that came off of steals before missing the final free throw.
“He was playing hard and playing aggressive defensively,” Nored said. “He got his hand on a couple basketballs and was able to get out and finish. I thought that he did a great job finishing at the rim.”
The Bronchos opened the second half on a 18-6 run that included five 3-pointers to cut the lead to 10 at 36-26.
“They came back out very focused and ready and I don’t think that we came out and attacked them defensively as solid as we were the first half,” Nored said.
But the Bulldogs took back control of the game with 14 unanswered points in between the third and fourth quarters.
The run was started because of Walton as he contributed five of the first eight points and found his teammate Trevor Lucas for an unselfish layup and foul.
The sophomore played confident and collected as Walton made half of his 3-pointers (3 of 6) and threw down an empathic one-handed dunk to open the fourth quarter off a pass from Ringo.
“I think he did just about everything well,” Nored said of Walton. “We are on him nonstop because we just see so much potential from him and we want him to reach that potential as quickly as possible.”
Brownsburg has two games left before sectionals and appear to be heading in the right direction. With five straight wins and the Bulldogs sitting at .500, Nored has the team improving at the best time of the season.
“We are just trying get better everyday,” he said. “I told them we can’t worry about wins or our record. We have a couple more days to get better before sectionals and we’ve got to use those days to get better.”