After their 58-33 loss to Indian Creek on Jan. 6, the Brown County High School boys basketball team stood at 2-10 for the season.
But the team’s seniors feel they still can — and must — hit their stride before the sectional.
“I want to win a sectional championship,” senior Ezra Scully said. “That’s always been my goal, and I’m not lowering the bar anymore. This is my last year, so I’ve got to give it my all.”
Much of the team is young and lacks some experience, Scully said. But they have shown they want the wins.
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“If we keep building up, we can get there, and we can compete for a sectional championship,” he said.
Scully pointed out sophomores Noah Carter and Caleb Yager as examples of younger players who are making a major contribution. He also noted freshman Travis Ely, who is already playing varsity.
Head coach Chuck Hutchins said he was pleased with Carter’s performance during the Indian Creek game.
“He’s just a guy we rely on offensively, and we’re kind of working with him to get him more aggressive, and I thought I saw that out of him tonight,” he said.
Even with the loss, Hutchins said he was pleased with the overall performance the team gave against Indian Creek.
“I thought our guys really engaged and focused, so I don’t question our effort. It’s just that we’re playing a team that’s really good,” he said.
The Braves’ defense effectively shut the Eagles down the entire third period, turning a five-point lead into a 20-point lead. Combined with turnover problems, the Eagles couldn’t close in on Indian Creek by the end.
But Hutchins saw the improvement he was looking for over the previous night’s 79-38 loss to Edgewood.
“It’s a trying season for us, and my biggest thing is I want to see them come out and really fight and compete, and I think that we did that,” he said.
“Our main priority right now is to start to work as a team,” senior Bryce Malan said.
With only two of the four seniors having varsity experience from last year, and many of the younger players still getting used to playing with one another, there is a lot of work left to do, he said.
“But, we’re getting there, and we’re going to start doing better. We’re going to start being more of a team,” he said.
Malan said he is working with some of the other players to keep the team positive in the face of a tough season. Regardless what the record looks like, he thinks the team can still pull it together before the sectional.
“We can hold any team, it’s just the closing out part,” he said. “We’ve just got to be able to close out games.”
“I feel it could be a lot better,” senior Seth Matlock said. “If we just took care of stupid mistakes and turnovers, we could have won a lot more of our games.”
Still, Matlock said the team’s improvement over the season has been noticeable.
“Compared to the beginning of the year, we’ve matured a lot as a team,” he said.
Matlock said the sectional draw could play a role in their chances to advance in the postseason.
“We may get lucky, and may have a pretty easy game to begin with, or it could just go the other way, and we just have a very difficult game,” he said.
The team will have to tighten up their play and cut down on turnovers to be competitive, he said.
Senior Isaiah Keefauver said the team needs to work on its performance in the second half, and that comes down to younger players not just knowing what to do, but keeping their heads as well.
“I feel like they’re doing pretty good, for their age. They just need to relax during the games,” he said.
The general attitude of the team is positive, though, Keefauver said. Regardless of the season, they are still enjoying just playing the game.
“We’re all friends. We’re all just having fun,” he said.
Seniors: Isaiah Keefauver, Bryce Malan, Seth Matlock, Ezra Scully
Juniors: Korbin Heminger, Jackson McPheeters
Sophomores: Noah Carter, Caleb Yager
Freshman: Travis Ely