By Corey Elliot
DANVILLE — The Brownsburg girls’ basketball team made the most of Cascade’s tough start in Thursday night’s Hendricks Regional Health County Basketball Tournament with a 55-31 win over the Cadets.
A scoreless first quarter for Cascade laid the foundation for a horrific night of shooting as the Cadets shot 9 of 40 from the field, digging themselves too deep of a hole.
“We missed a lot of easy shots,” Cascade coach Don Helmick said. “It wasn’t that we didn’t get shots off, we just couldn’t hit anything. I’m not sure we could have thrown it in the ocean.”
Missing some good open looks led to 24 defensive rebounds by the Bulldogs and on the defensive end the Cadets gameplan backfired.
With much focus on keeping Brownsburg’s Stephanie Mavunga from having a big night, the emphasis shifted to making the Bulldogs earn it from beyond the arc.
“We knew that their outside shooting wasn’t one of the strong things we’ve seen on tape,” Helmick said. “We went in with the mindset we were going to double down and triple down on Mavunga and give them some outside shots and they hit five of them. It was pick your poison and we picked the wrong one.”
Senior Brooke Bronger came off the bench early in the first quarter and kept the momentum on the Bulldogs’ side as she drilled two of Brownsburg’s five 3-pointers. Adding to the list of things that weren’t going the Cadets’ way, was the effort to keep Mavunga irrelevant as she contributed 12 points to Browsnburg’s 25-6 halftime lead. The quick start by the Bulldogs had a lot to do with their lack of turnovers and execution on offense.
“I thought we did a really good job of taking care of the ball,” Brownsburg coach Amy Brauman said. “We really wanted to make sure we didn’t turn it over and I thought they did a good job of getting the ball to the open person.”
Despite the deficit, Brownsburg kept pushing in the second half, matching Cascade’s intensity as the game became a true test to each team’s character. The Cadets were only outscored by five in the second half, thanks to junior Roxanna Gaddis and senior Brandyce Sallee’s combined 26 points.
But that still wasn’t enough as sophomore Chloe Dygert led an intense defensive effort for the Bulldogs that took a plentiful amount of opportunities away from Cascade keeping the lead large and Brownsburg in command up until the final buzzer.
“Chloe does a nice job getting her steals up high so she can get layups off of them and once she gets going it gets everyone else moving,” Brauman said. “She does a nice job and she’s got a lot of energy out there and she likes to be aggressive.”