It was standing room only at Brownstown Central High School, as the Brownstown Central Braves hosted the 4A undefeated Jennings County Panthers. There were only 300 tickets left hours before tip-off, which led to an amazing atmosphere. Fans were lined up along the walls and there wasn’t a seat to be found. Panthers fans travelled well, and were just as loud as the Braves fans, cheering on their team to a statement win, 78-69.
This was our first time watching the Jennings County boys’ basketball team, and we didn’t really know what to expect. We caught on a few weeks ago after pulling team stats – that there was something special going on, special enough for us to put them at our number 4 spot in the SISN Southern Indiana Basketball Top 25. Brownstown was at number 2.
First thing I noticed in pre-game was that Brownstown held the obvious size advantage. But this was a story of how speed generally beats size in the game of basketball. And this Panthers team was one of the quickest, smartest, and physical teams we’ve watched. I don’t even know who the best player on the Panthers was, because every starter on this team was lights out. They had four players score over 14 points, if that tells you anything.
The Panthers gameplan consisted of a fast paced attacking offense with threes raining from everyone. On the defensive side, they were constantly pressuring the Braves. So much so that early on it seemed like Brownstown was getting hammered on every play. The Brownstown fans were not happy at all with the referees.
Jennings County may be shorter, but they were physically and were not afraid to challenge Benter and the Braves. It got so rough at one point that Brownstown Central coach Dave Benter barraged onto the court to scream at the refs for not calling a seemingly obvious foul on his son Jack Benter during a three point attempt. He was quickly awarded with a “T”.
The Braves were leading at one point in the second quarter, stretching close to a double digit lead. It was Brownstown’s Chace Coomer who pushed the big surge finishing the night with 22 points.
Sophomore big man Colby Hall also dominated down low, finishing the night with 15 points for the Braves. I really like the potential of Hall, but he took a few ill-advised three pointers. The Braves should have utilized him more in the second half, as his height gave him the clear advantage down low. There wasn’t much Jennings County could have stopped him with.
Coomer and Hall had to step up, because Junior star Jack Benter was held in check for most of the night. The physical play from Jennings County was affecting his game. Benter was beat up, tossed around, and hacked all night. He did show flashes of his highlight reel style of play, but it was the Panthers’ number 21, Owen Law, who showcased what great defense looks like. He held Benter to just 13 points on just 4 made field goals and a slew of free throws.
Law would finish the night with 16 points, and if I was his coach I’d probably give him the game ball. He was instrumental in the Panther win.
When the Brownstown coach got the tech in the third quarter, the game was just starting to slip away from the Braves. Once the tech fell, the momentum shifted, and the Braves just could not recover. They tried to move to a zone, but it turned into a Carter Kent and Keegan Manowitz game of monkey as they hefted the ball back and forth to each other, too much of the dismay of the Braves players. When the Braves felt like they sniffed out the back-and-forth game, Jennings County would pass it downlow, where Owen Law would be slicing a back door wide open.
These back door plays happened several times in a row and Brownstown didn’t have an answer for them. It was either try to stop the three, stop the penetration drive to the bucket, or stop the back door.
Jennings County showcased how a team breaks a zone. They broke zone after zone with precision. IU could take note. These JC players showed a real high basketball IQ, they knew where there teammates were, trusted them to be there and to make the play.
Panthers head coach Josh Land has done a very fine job on getting his men ready. There’s a reason they are undefeated, and I would urge anyone that has the chance to go see how they play, to watch this team. Its a fun style of basketball that’s fast, aggressive, and smoothly operated. I think we’re going to have to put them at the top of our Top 25 on Monday.
I still like Brownstown. They were down three players and I don’t see anyone in the state beating Jennings County tonight. It was their night and they executed. They were the better team. Brownstown still is a good team and will rebound. I got a lot of respect for Jack Benter’s and Brownstown game.
And he did become Brownstown all time career scoring leader tonight, so congrats to Jack Benter. Quite the accolade as a Junior.
For Jennings County, Carter Kent scored 15, Parker Filmore scored 17, Owen Law scored 16, and Keegan Manowitz scored 21.
Stay tuned for photos and video from the game. Thank you for reading and let us know what you thought about the game in the comments.