By Dennis Dunn
For The Republic
NASHVILLE — After dropping its season opener in three overtimes, the Brown County girls basketball team was hoping for a change of plans Friday night at home when Bloomington North paid a visit.
The Eagles capitalized on a couple of scoring runs in the second half and the Cougars inability to hold the ball in their favor to capture their first win of the year, 61-53.
“We knew North was a quality team for us, and we wanted to show up and compete for four quarters,” Brown County coach Matt Roberts said. “We felt like we did that tonight and took an early lead, but they made a nice run and even took the lead briefly in the fourth quarter, but we had a response for them every time.”
The Cougars entered the fourth quarter trailing by nine, and with 4:57 remaining in the game, they retook the 51-50 lead when Hannah Allen made a basket and free throw.
The Eagles (1-1) refused to go away as they used an 8-0 run to take a 58-51 lead with 2:36 left on the clock. Despite missing several free throws down the stretch, they still held on for the win.
“We lost a triple overtime thriller a week ago and we know how to battle in close games and we got to play from ahead instead of behind,” Roberts said.
Early in the first quarter, the Eagles got off to a good start as they led 6-0 on two straight baskets by Anna Fleetwood and Allison Stogsdill and two free throws by Fleetwood. After the Cougars scored their first basket, Stogsdill made it 8-2. Gracie Matlock gave the Eagles the 12-11 lead with 1:20 lead, but the Cougars scored four straight to take first lead and would stay in front the rest of the quarter to led 17-15.
Bloomington North’s Hannah Allen connected on an old fashioned 3-point play at the 5:53 mark for the 23-15 lead. The Eagles had a mini 7-0 run to cut the lead to one, 23-22, but Allen knocked down a 3-pointer for the Cougars to make it 26-22. Cougars made it 28-22, but Matlock had a and-1, Dasia Wilkerson scored her first two points and Stogsdill hit a 3-pointer at the 1:28 to give the Eagles the 30-28 lead. Wilkerson added a free throw for the Eagles and Allen added a free throw for the Cougars, but it was the Eagles with a 31-29 halftime lead.
Ballhandling was a key in the first half. The Cougars had 16 turnovers and the Eagles were guilty of 14. Allen led Cougars with 17 first-half points, while Stogsdill had nine for the Eagles.
Brown County took that momentum from the second quarter into the third quarter and used an 8-0 run to take a 39-29 lead as Stogsdill scored five points during the run. Stogsdill’s second 3-pointer of the quarter put the Eagles up 46-33. The Cougars outscored the Eagles 6-2 over the final 1:42 of the quarter, but the Eagles still led 48-39 after three quarters.
Stogsdill led Brown County with 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Matlock added 13 in the win.
“We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and that’s our goal,” Roberts said after his team turned the ball over 18 times in the game. “As long as we can maintain our drive and force them to shoot shots and create some turnovers we will be in good shape.”