By MIKE RILEY
It’s been a long road for Kaitlynn Henning and her Charlestown Pirate teammates.
From a freshman year of 4-17 to last year’s 10-11 mark.
Then a new coach comes in with another new style.
The result: a sectional victory for the Pirates as Henning scored 22 of her game-high 28 points in the second half as Charlestown turned back Mid-Southern Conference-rival Brownstown Central 63-55 to advance to the second round of the Class 3A Sectional 30, played at the Charlestown Sports Arena.
Charlestown, which lost to the Braves 58-53 on Jan. 11, won with a defense that forced seven fourth quarter turnovers and an offense which coughed it up only five times in the fourth quarter while converting 12-of-19 free throws.
Brownstown — after trailing 45-38 entering the fourth quarter — found themselves down only 52-49 following a Morgan Wehmiller basket. Megan Brooks put the Pirates back on top by six at 55-49 with 1-of-2 at the line and a basket, only to have the Braves’ Brooke Ebbing drill her third 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead back to three.
It was no problem for Henning, who built the lead back to seven with 2-of-2 at the line then scored following a turnover.
Brownstown didn’t enter the game at 16-2 and MSC champions by folding when the game was close.
Kasandra Rieckers sank 2-of-2 at the line before the Braves forced a five second call on the ensuing inbounds play to get the ball back down just 59-54 with 1:10 remaining.
That set the stage for Henning, who came up with a steal and hit 3-of-4 free throws to ice it.
“She’s a great player and she’s just a junior,” first-year Charlestown coach Michael Prichard said.
Charlestown also got outstanding efforts from junior Justice Burdin, who had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Brooks, a senior who finished with 11 points.
“We tried to stick with our gameplan and we cut down on turnovers,” Prichard said. “We have normally into the 20s. We had 14 tonight.
“A lot of teams look at opponents records. I look at matchups. I thought we had an advantage over therm at some positions, especially in the paint. We out rebounded them. We tried to take things away from them, we knew that after that first gane we could compete with them.”
The Pirates avenged one of their three conference losses.
“I thought Justice and Megan played well,” Prichard said. “Megan is going to Louisville on a track scholarship. She’s tough. And I thought Haley Layton did some good things while she was in there. One thing I didn’t like was late in the game we had some missed defensive assignments. That’s hard to accept.”
Charlestown led 23-19 at the half before Henning unloaded.
“I knew we had to pick up the defense and the offense would take care of itself,” she said. “After losing to them in conference, this means a lot.”
Charlestown will now have the roles reversed as they will face Scottsburg who advanced earlier on Tuesday with a win over North Harrison. Charlestown defeated Scottsburg 76-62 on Dec. 17.
“We get to practice another day,” Prichard said.
CLASS 3A CHARLESTOWN SECTIONAL
CHARLESTOWN 63, BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL 55
Charlestown 13 10 22 18—63
Brownstown 12 7 19 17—55
Charlestown (14-7): Kaitlynn Henning 28, Lexi Logsdon 2, Shelby Goedeker 4, Megan Brooks 11, Justice Burdin 15, Jessica Farmer 1, Lauren Crowe 0, Haley Layton 2, Kim Knight 0.
Brownstown Central (16-3): Kasandra Rieckers 5, Trinity Booher 7, Brooke Ebbing 11, Ally Lorenzo 3, Riley Wischmeier 11, Jaelyn Reynolds 9, Morgan Wehmiller 9, Ally Barnette 0.
3-point field goals: Charlestown none ; Brownstown Central 4 (Ebbing 3, Booher).
Rebounds: Charlestown 35 (Burdin 15); Brownstown Central 33 (Wischmeier 10).
Turnovers: Charlestown 14; Brownstown Central 19.
Free Throws: Charlestown 27-37; Brownstown Central 13-23.
Fouled out: Reynolds, Booher.