As Terre Haute South coach Will Staal glanced at the stat sheet from his squad’s 75-39 Class 4A sectional loss to Brownsburg, all he could do was whistle in awe at what he’d just seen from the Bulldogs.
Now his task is a simple yet daunting one: get the Braves to that level.
South’s first sectional game was never in doubt after Brownsburg broke the game open with a 20-4 run in the first half, fueled by a stifling pressure defense and the scoring of Bulldog guards Allison Bosse and Ally Becki. Though the Braves never gave up, they also never found an answer for either of the Bulldogs’ weapons.
When it was over, Bosse had led the Bulldogs with 22 points and Becki added 16, as Brownsburg eased into the sectional final Friday night at Plainfield High School.
“That’s a very good basketball team and we knew that’s what we were going to run into,” Staal said. “They’ve got [NCAA] Division I basketball players on their team and six seniors, and we don’t.
“I think we fought hard and didn’t give up. We had to treat it like it was 32 one-minute games. I think there were a lot of those that we won, but not enough.”
The biggest problem for the Braves (8-16) was that they made life far too easy for the Bulldogs (19-8) and their shooters. Some of the Bulldogs’ baskets came because they forced a steal or created a second chance with an offensive rebound, but too many were the result of a South mistake that left a good shooter with an open look at the basket.
“We just gave them too many plays,” Staal said. “When you let kids like Bosse and Becki shoot wide-open shots, they’re going to make them. They were making those, and then they were making the ones that we made them work [for]. We’ve got to cut out the easy plays, and we really didn’t do that [Friday].”
Nor did the Braves get their offense going until it was too late to cut into Brownsburg’s huge cushion. Zayda Hatfield, who led South with 17 points, was the only Brave to sink a basket in the first half, as several possessions ended in a turnover that allowed the Bulldogs to further increase their lead and forced South out of its game plan.
The best example came in the first quarter, when Brownsburg had just begun the run that took the Braves out of the contest. The Bulldogs only led 8-4 at the 1:36 mark of the first quarter, when Bosse got inside and scored a layup. Instead of getting back to their strategy of maximizing a possession and keeping the ball out of Brownsburg’s hands, the Braves immediately threw away the inbounds pass, allowing the Bulldogs to quickly find Bosse again for four points in three seconds.
South never got back to its game plan from that moment, leaving Staal and his team to look toward next season. Despite the lopsided margin, neither the coach nor the Braves showed any discouragement at the gap between themselves and the likely sectional champions. Instead, Staal seemed ready to get his girls into the offseason and start focusing on doing what it takes to catch up to the team that had just ended his season.
“Our goal isn’t just to win one sectional game, it’s to win the sectional,” Staal said. “We know that right now, that goes through Brownsburg. They’re a very good program that’s well coached with talented players and our goal is to close that gap. We can’t be fine with coming in second [to them].”
BROWNSBURG (75) – Mackenzie Bedrick 1-2 0-0 2, Allison Bosse 9-14 2-3 22, Ally Becki 6-15 3-3 16, Kailyn Terrell 0-1 1-5 1, Mackenzie Stien 3-10 1-2 8, Ra'Maya Milton 1-1 2-4 4, Megan Christian 4-8 0-1 11, Heidi Doehrman 1-2 2-2 5, Allison Shaffer 0-0 1-4 1, Kamary Leaf 0-5 0-0 0, Novalee Glass 2-2 0-1 5. Totals 27-58 FG, 12-25 FT, 75 TP.
Terre Haute South=4=13=9=13=-=39
3-point goals: TH South 4-11 (Hatfield 3-6, Swan 0-1, Cox 1-1, Shipley 0-1, Pepperworth 0-1, Padgett 0-1), Brownsburg 9-17 (Bedrick 0-1, Bosse 2-5, Becki 1-2, Christian 3-3, Glass 1-1, Doehrman 1-1, Leaf 0-3, Stien 1-1). Rebounds: TH South 14 (Hatfield 3, Sater 3), Brownsburg 26 (Stien 7). Steals: TH South 2 (Cox, Evans), Brownsburg 8 (Stien 3). Turnovers: TH South 24, Brownsburg 8. Total fouls: TH South 19, Brownsburg 14. Fouled out: Pepperworth.
Next — Brownsburg (19-8) plays Avon at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Plainfield for the 4A Plainfield Sectional final. Terre Haute South (8-16) completed its season.