The Braves and Bulldogs clash tonight in their final game of the boys’ basketball season. The Orleans Bulldogs will travel to Brownstown, in a series they have been playing for years. A series that Orleans hasn’t won since 2011/2012 season, and if they’re going to win, they have the team to do it now. It’s going to be a great game of basketball in front of a sold-out crowd.
Orleans lost 73-69 in last year’s matchup. These two are basically the same teams as last year’s matchup, but both are much improved.
Everyone may think that the Braves has this. But I’m sure any player or coach on that Brownstown team knows they can not discredit the strength of play that Orleans brings.
The Bulldogs are 20-2 and considered one of the best teams in 1A. Orleans is coached by Tom Bradley, who has coached at Orleans for 24 years with a record of 377-201. They are great defensive team, holding opponents to an average of 35.9 points per game, the best in Southern Indiana. Orleans scores a respectable 54.2 points per game.
The Brownstown Braves come into tonight’s game as the favorite with a 18-4 record. The Braves are coached by Dave Benter, who has been there for 25 years and has a 443-161 record. Jeff Sagarin rates Brownstown as the number 1 team in 2A, and 22nd in the entire state. (I’m not sure why Linton is lower).
The Braves are scoring 69.7 points a game, second most in Southern Indiana. On the defensive end, they’re sitting middle of the pack offering up 51.5 points per game.
The Braves are led by Purdue Boilermakers commit Jack Benter, who’s averaging 30.3 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He likes to get his teammates involved but knows when it’s his time to take over. Jack will put on a show as he usually does.
In last year’s game against the Bulldogs, Jack Benter was held mostly check from making field goals. Orleans put the pressure on, and always had a hand on him. Jack is a smart player though, and made sure if the bucket wasn’t going in, he was getting the shooting foul. I believe he hit 3 FG’s last year, and still had over 20+ points.
Brownstown missed Junior Guard Parker Hehman for most of the early season. He’s back and played in 16 games and is averaging 10.5 points per game, 3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. I look for him, Chace Coomer, and Colby Hall to be big pieces in this game as the pressure is thrown on Benter. Benter will probably still get 20+, but it won’t be easy for him.
Coomer and Hall are both adding 10 points per game, Hall also brings in 5.4 rebounds a game. These two Sophomores are really developing into stars for this Braves team.
For Orleans, Ian Hall and Xavier Alston will carry the brunt of the challenge on both sides of the ball. I see Ian Hall being matched on Jack Benter most of the game. The Bulldogs will switch him off, but I’m expecting a good battle between the two. Alston is the same size as Ian Hall, at 6’3”, but he can jump out of the gym. He’ll be tested down low though.
Colby Hall for Brownstown is a big body and controls the paint. Xavier will have his work cut out for him. He is scoring 10.2 points a game, 5.5 rebounds, and 1 block a game.
Ian Hall is leading the Bulldogs with 12.5 points a game, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. Sophomore Rylan Crocker, Senior Black Love, and Junior Carter Allen will be instrumental in this game. Xavier and Ian are going to be wore down in their own defensive battles.
The key for Orleans in my opinion is to keep attacking. They tend to let off the gas and lose their momentum. Orleans has trouble hitting open shots. Orleans needs to be confident tonight in front of this big crowd.
The Bulldogs will have to pressure Jack Benter. Stop the big threes that happen when teams forget about Hehman and Coomer. Contest every shot with at least two men.
For Brownstown, you’ll have to be ready for the pressure the Orleans defense is going to bring. It will be how Jennings County played earlier. A lot of fouls are going to be called. I see a lot of switches, and half court pressure coming.
Jack will be relying on his teammates to get the pressure off him. If they’re hitting their shots, their offensive threats outweigh Orleans. It will all come down to who can hit.
The Braves will need to take advantage of the extra pressure, possible doubles on Benter, and find the open man. Make 1 or 2 extra passes around the perimeter and find Colby Hall or Jack Benter downlow. The Braves will have to extend this Orleans defense and wear them down.
John Harrel is picking Brownstown Central to win, 61-45. Brownstown has won 33-11 in the series, and like I said before, Orleans hasn’t won against the Braves since 2012. Chris Marshall is picking Orleans winning at 50-48, and I’m picking Orleans as well at 53-52. It could go either way, but its going to be a good one, guaranteed.
Live Stream Link to Orleans Bulldogs vs Brownstown Central Braves
If you weren’t able to get a ticket to the game. Never fear, the game will be livestreamed at the link below.