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BOYS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Braves aim to continue turnaround

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Borden's Mason Jones prepares to put up a shot during the Braves' game against Clarksville last season. Jones is one of four returning starters for Borden. 

BORDEN — After three straight losing seasons, Borden got back on the positive side of the ledger in 2020-21. 

The Braves will try to continue their winning ways this season. 

Borden doubled its victory total from the 2019-20 campaign when it went 12-11 last season, which ended with a 58-56 loss to Christian Academy in the Class A Borden Sectional semifinals. 

"We hope to build on that. If we're 12-11 this year, nobody's going to be happy with that," long-time Braves head coach Doc Nash said. "We have high expectations." 

Borden lost only one starter from last season, albeit leading scorer and rebounder Brennan Eurton, to graduation. 

"We've got a lot to make up there, but I think we've got a lot of pieces that we can put together. We're a lot deeper this year, I think," Nash said. "It's about whether we want to play some defense or not." 

Back for the Braves are four starters. 

Among those are three seniors — 6-foot-2 forward Sterling Mikel (10 points per game last season), 6-1 guard Mason Jones (8 ppg) and 5-10 guard Mason Carter (5 ppg). 

The other returning starter is 6-0 sophomore guard Kasym Nash, the coach's oldest son. He averaged around 14 points per game last season while making the most 3-pointers for a freshman in program history and shooting 84 percent from the free throw line. 

"He's got a target on his back. He's no longer a freshman and he's got to perform," Doc Nash said. "But if there's one kid that's put in the work to do it, it's him."  

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Borden's Sterling Mikel puts up a shot during the Braves’ game against Clarksville last season. Mikel is one of four returning starters for Borden. 

Others returning from last season are 6-0 senior forward Ethan Eurton, 6-0 senior guard Cruz Martin, 6-0 senior forward Nolan Flispart, 6-1 senior wing Shawn Condon and 5-10 sophomore guard Alex Schuler. 

Among those, Nash expects Eurton to mix it up inside while Condon may have been the most surprising player in the preseason, according to the coach.  

"He impressed us tremendously. He plays really hard and understands the game," Nash said of Condon.   

One key newcomer is 5-10 senior guard Brady Schuler.  

"I think we can play 10 kids," Nash said. "All those guys had good summers. We got better as a unit over the summer." 

Two things Nash hopes his team can do better this season are rebound and pull out close games.  

"We are going to be undersized, so we're going to have to rebound the basketball and we're going to have to do it by committee too," Nash said of the former. 

The Braves were 3-7 in games decided by seven points or less last season and 0-4 in games within four points. 

"Our free throw shooting was atrocious in close games," Nash said. "We didn't get the job done. We didn't compete and we didn't guard late in games like we should have." 

If Borden can do better in that regard this season, the Braves could have a shot at winning their first sectional title since they won the Class A state championship in 2013. 

"It'll be a dogfight, but we've got four months to prepare for that dude," Nash said. "It's on us. We've got to go out and perform and compete and expect big things out of ourselves.  

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Borden's Mason Carter looks for an open teammate last season. The guard is one of four returning starters, and eight seniors, for the Braves this season. 

"It'll depend on whether we're going to play unselfish, move the basketball, force issues and enjoy playing together. If we can do those things, then I think we'll be pretty good." 

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2021-22 BORDEN PREVIEW

• Head coach: Doc Nash (204-149 in 16th year).

• 2020-21 season in review: The Braves doubled their win total from the previous season and they could have had more. Eight of their 11 losses were by nine points or less, including their last two, which were by two. 

• Key departures: Brennan Eurton, Gavin Just, Zach Knight, AJ Agnew. 

• Returning starters: Sterling Mikel (6-2, Sr., F); Mason Carter (5-10, Sr., G); Kasym Nash (6-0, So., G/F); Mason Jones (6-1, Sr., G).

• Other returning players: Ethan Eurton (6-0, G/F, Sr.); Cruz Martin (6-0, G, Sr.); Nolan Flispart (6-0, F, Sr.); Shawn Condon (6-1, G, Sr.); Alex Schuler (5-10, So., G).

• Key newcomers: Brady Schuler (5-10, G, Sr.).

• Season outlook: The Braves got back on the positive side of the ledger last season. Now, they look to continue that turnaround. Borden should have a shot at its first sectional title since its championship season of 2013. 

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2021-22 SCHEDULE

Nov. 23 Eastern, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 27 Shoals, 7:30 p.m.

*Dec. 3 at Lanesville, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 4 Providence, 7:30 p.m.

*Dec. 10 at South Central, 7:30 p.m.

*Dec. 11 Crothersville, 7:30 p.m. 

Dec. 17 Washington Co. Invite, TBA

Dec. 18 Washington Co. Invite, TBA

Dec. 21 Tecumseh, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 at Shawe Memorial, 7:30 p.m.

*Jan. 7 at New Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 8 Rock Creek, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 14 Austin, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 15 at Charlestown, 7:30 p.m.

*Jan. 22 at Henryville, 7:30 p.m.

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Borden's Cruz Martin shoots a free throw last season. He's one of eight seniors the Braves will rely on this season. 

Jan. 28 Orleans, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 29 CAI, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 5 at Springs Valley, 12:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 West Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 15 Crawford County, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 18 at Clarksville, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 24 at Salem, 7:30 p.m.

*—Southern Athletic Conference game

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2020-21 RESULTS

Nov. 24 at Eastern, W 53-44

Nov. 28 at Shoals, W 69-63

Dec. 4 Lanesville, L 62-54

Dec. 11 South Central, W 70-52

Dec. 12 Crothersville, W 65-44

Dec. 29 North Knox, L 70-66

Dec. 29 at Forest Park, L 63-48

Dec. 30 Vincennes Lincoln, L 62-50

Jan. 2 Cowan, W 68-54

Jan. 8 New Washington, W 67-52

Jan. 9 at Rock Creek, W 58-50

Jan. 15 at Austin, W 79-58

Jan. 16 Charlestown, L 59-56

Jan. 23 Henryville, L 40-33

Jan. 29 at Orleans, L 59-48

Jan. 30 at CAI, W 65-58

Feb. 6 Springs Valley, L 80-71 (OT)

Feb. 9 at West Washington, L 59-52

Feb. 13 at Northeast Dubois, W 69-45

Feb. 19 Clarksville, L 53-51

Feb. 20 Anderson Prep, W 68-34

Feb. 26 Salem, W 71-47

March 5 CAI, L 58-56-x

x—sectional

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LAST 15 YEARS

Coach: Doc Nash

2020-21 — 12-11

2019-20 — 6-17

2018-19 — 4-21

2017-18 — 9-15

2016-17 — 13-12

2015-16 — 15-9

2014-15 — 13-10

2013-14 — 16-5

2012-13 — 24-3 (sectional, regional, semistate, state champs)

2011-12 — 22-2 (sectional champs)

2010-11 — 14-9

2009-10 — 6-13

2008-09 — 19-6 (sectional champs)

2007-08 — 20-6 (sectional champs, regional champs)

2006-07 — 11-10

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POSTSEASON HISTORY

• Sectional championships (4): 2008 (Class A), 2009 (A), 2012 (A), 2013 (A).

• Regional championships (2): 2008 (A), 2013 (A).

• Semistate championships (1): 2013 (A).

• State championships (1): 2013 (A).

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