BY RYAN INGRAM
A suffocating defensive effort by the Borden Braves proved too much for the visiting the New Washington Mustangs down the stretch of Friday’s Southern Athletic Conference contest.
The unbeaten Braves (10-0) forced 17 turnovers and limited New Washington to one field goal in the final quarter to prevail 63-40. The win secures at least a share of the Southern Athletic Conference crown for a second consecutive year for the Braves.
The Braves can clinch consecutive outright league titles on Jan. 19 when they host winless Henryville — the only team to beat Borden in last year’s regular season — in their final league contest.
“Ties mean nothing to us,” Borden coach Doc Nash said. “That’s not to take away from any of our teams that have tied [for the conference championship]. We just want to win it outright. We didn’t do a lot of celebrating [after the win] tonight.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Logan Miles and Dustin Cooper of New Washington helped keep things close in the first quarter, ending knotted up at 13-apiece.
In the second quarter, Borden’s backcourt pressure made it difficult for the Mustangs to even cross half-court and the Braves went to the half leading 27-21. The Braves pushed the advantage to 45-33 at the end of three quarters before outscoring the Mustangs 18-7 in the final period.
“We threw it in the post in the second half, and that helped stretch it,” Nash said. “Our field goal percentage went up in the second half.”
Senior Cody Bachman paced the Braves with 16 points. He also had a game-high four steals. Garrett Vick and Jalen McCoy also scored in double-figures for Borden with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Mustangs (5-5, 1-1 SAC) were led in scoring by Miles, who was 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc and finished with 14 points. Tim Cochran added eight and Ian Hughes finished with seven for New Wash.
The Braves will be back on the court tonight as they host Silver Creek (2-8) at 7:30. New Washington is also back in action tonight. The Mustangs host 6-3 Clarksville.
BORDEN 63, NEW WASHINGTON 40
New Washington 13 7 13 7—40
Borden 13 14 18 18—63
New Washington (5-5, 1-1): James Clemons 4, Adan Diaz 2, Logan Miles 14, Tim Cochran 8, Ian Hughes 7, Dustin Cooper 3, Wes Napier 2.
Borden (9-0, 4-0): Cody Bachman 16, Garrett Vick 13, Jalen McCoy 10, Josh Ruedinger 9, Michael Lynch 8, Billy Kirchgessner 5, Josh Vollstedt 2.
3-point field goals: New Washington 5 (Miles 4, Cooper); Borden 1 (McCoy).