The Brown County girls’ 61-47 loss to the Brownstown Braves on homecoming was not a surprise.
Even after their 48-29 win over North Putnam the night before, the Eagles’ 6-12 record for the season was a the opposite of their opponents’, at 13-8.
Yet, it wasn’t until the final minutes of the second half that the Braves managed to maintain a lead over the Eagles.
Early on, the Eagles took the lead several times, pushing back against the Braves’ onslaughts. The first half had plenty of dramatic moments.
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Senior Ryanne Smith pushed the Eagles’ lead to a game-high four points with a three-point shot a little more than halfway through the first quarter. But the Braves’ Ashley Schroer responded only seconds later, trimming the Brown County lead to 12-11.
With 17 seconds left in the first quarter, the Braves led 18-12, but back-to-back plays by seniors Azhia Morgan and Smith brought the teams back within grappling distance, ending the quarter 18-16.
In the first minutes of the second quarter, junior Savannah Lovins and freshman Aubrey Hollander pushed the Eagles back into the lead, 20-18, starting a back and forth that would last until the final minutes of the half.
But in those final minutes, Brownstown made seven points to slip past a meager Eagles lead and establish a six-point gap the Eagles would never overcome.
Looking at the game quarter by quarter, Eagles head coach Matt Roberts said that the Braves consistently outscored them in each quarter, gradually building their final 14-point advantage.
But the Eagles were also consistent, in a growing trend that Roberts finds encouraging.
“We had a good win at North Putnam last night, and obviously a tough game today, but I thought we played well,” Roberts said.
The past two games have seen the most consistent four-quarter play the Eagles have had this season, he said. Given their struggles with what the girls have dubbed their “second-half curse,” Roberts feels encouraged.
“I feel good that maybe we’re starting pull some of that consistency together, and that’s what we’re going to need down the stretch,” Roberts said. “When we get into sectionals against some tough teams, we’re going to have to play at a high level, consistently.”