GIRLS BASKETBALL: Team resolves to keep fighting

With the sectional looming just a month away, the Brown County High School girls basketball team’s captains acknowledge they have been in a slump.

But the contrast of two recent losses may show the key to success in the rest of the season and possibly even a sectional win.

Brown County came closer to a win in its 52-45 loss to Edgewood on Jan. 5, ending the first half with a 10-point lead, than it did against Indian Creek the next night. In the second game, though they were tied for a short time in the second period, the Eagles never managed to pass the Braves.

Yet, head coach Matt Roberts was more encouraged looking back at the Indian Creek loss than the almost-win against Edgewood.

“We led most of the (Edgewood) game and yet felt very defeated at times for some reason,” he said. “We had a much stiffer battle with Indian Creek, and we wanted to step up to that challenge, and I felt like, for the most part, we did throughout the game.”

The Edgewood loss seemed to trigger a desire in the team to fight that much harder against Indian Creek, Roberts said. His team echoed those sentiments.

Junior Dasia Wilkerson, a team captain, said the Edgewood performance was a fluke. “That was not the team we really are.”

The difference seems to come down to how focused the team is on building each other up, rather than their own mistakes, said sophomore Aubrey Hollander, the other team captain.

“We talk a lot better when we really want to win, and we’re a lot more positive towards each other,” she said. “We’re more focused on the game and not ourselves.”

“If you mess up, you just have to move on,” Wilkerson said.

And between the two games, that is what the team seemed to do, Roberts said.

While they still weren’t happy with losing, the atmosphere and discussion after the game appeared to show that the team knew they had performed better from one night to the next, he said.

“They know they have work to do, and they want to keep getting better, but I saw that they saw positives in a loss,” he said. “That was the good thing.”

Senior Kathleen McCann saw that difference in her teammates after the Indian Creek loss.

“We knew that we fought for that game, and we knew that if we played them in the future, there’d be the possibility that we could come back and we could win it,” she said.

Like Wilkerson and Hollander, McCann said the strength of the team in their wins comes down to how well they work together and encourage one another. Even when there is criticism, it it always constructive, and teammates are more likely to be looking for ways to encourage than to critique.

“I know we had a couple struggles here and there, but I feel like we work really well together,” she said. “Our teammates love each other, and they’ll support each other throughout the game.”

Now, the team just has to hold onto that energy and keep up the hard work, said Hollander. That is her goal for the post-season.

Looking at the other teams in the sectional — both those they have played and those they have not — the Eagles could do well in sectionals, Roberts said.

“We’ll have to continue to improve and get better, but I feel like if we can pick up some momentum this last month, we can be competitive,” he said.

McCann, who took last year off from basketball but has played on past teams, said they may be able to do more than just compete.

“I feel like we have the strength, we have the mentality to do it. We just have to dig deep and find it within ourselves,” she said. “We’re all focused now on getting towards sectionals and just going at it.

“I think we could win it; I think we could, honestly.”

Meet the Eagles

Seniors: Savannah Lovins, Kathleen McCann

Juniors: Skylar Fleischman, Dasia Wilkerson

Sophomores: Piper Boyer, Abigail Hollander, Aubrey Hollander, Gracie Matlock, Allison Stogsdill

Freshman: Anna Fleetwood

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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.