4 Takeaways from Wapahanis’ loss against Brownstown Central in the 2A State Championship

<p>Guard Isaac Andrews dribbles the ball against Brownstown Central March 30 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Andrew Berger, DN </p>

Guard Isaac Andrews dribbles the ball against Brownstown Central March 30 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Andrew Berger, DN

On Saturday afternoon, the Wapahani Raiders squared off against the Brownstown Central Braves in the Class 2A State Finals. Both teams were in search of their first state title in program history, but it would be the Braves taking home the hardware with a 55-36 victory over Wapahani. 

Here are four takeaways from the matchup. 

Disrupted Offense

It was a slow start on the offensive end for Wapahani. The length of the Braves lineup was extremely disruptive defensively forcing the Raiders into four turnovers through the opening quarter. 

The white and reds offense didn't seem to have much flow, everything the Raiders got was hard-earned. The Raiders couldn’t get any form of offense inside the three-point arc with the length of the black and red in the lane. 

Seemingly the entirety of the Wapahani offense was attempting to come from deep. The white and red had attempted only eight two-point shot attempts as opposed to fourteen threes at halftime and in total went 5/28 (17.9%) from range and 15/43 (34.9%) from the field on the afternoon.

The Jack Benter Effect

The Brownstown Central senior showed why he was such a highly touted recruit in the first half. The Purdue commit torched the Raiders defense for sixteen points in the opening half on 66% shooting. 

Wapahani head coach Matt Luce continued to throw different bodies at the senior but it was to no avail.

Luce continuously emphasized ball denial to his defenders guarding Benter, but the Braves continued to scheme up ways to get him the ball. 

Raiders sophomore Camden Bell drew the defensive assignment for most of the game, and at times throughout the second half was able to frustrate Benter and force him into tough contested shots.

 Even amidst the bump in the road for Benter's offense, he was still able to pick apart Wapahanis’ defense, showing off his passing skills with multiple cross-court and behind-the-back assists.

Defensive Pressure

Coming out of the locker room to open the second half, the message Luce gave to the team was clear. Pressure the ball. As a result of that ball pressure, the Raiders were able to force the black and red into eleven total turnovers in the game.

The Raiders picked up the Brownstown offense at full court and that defensive intensity fed into their offense. In the third quarter, Wapahani shot fifty percent from the floor which allowed them to cut the deficit to just six nearing the end of the third. 

The offensive game plan for Wapahani didn’t seem to change much in the third. The only difference was, now shots that were in and out in the opening half were now falling to the bottom of the net. 

Raiders Resilience

One of the best things to witness in this game was the persistence and fight of the Wapahani squad. When they got down big early, they could’ve easily crumbled and let the game continue to slip away. 

Even with the big hole the Raiders found themselves in by halftime, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. When the white and red came out of the locker room that effort and intensity dialed up even more than in the first half.

Every Wapahni player was fighting for every loose ball, giving all-out defensive effort, and going to the glass strong for rebounds even with the height disparity they faced. With how the Raider squad showed up in the second half, they had a chance to cut the game to one possession but couldn’t get over the hump.

After the push made by the Raiders, Brownstown Central was able to push their lead back out to double digits to close out the game. Even in the waning minutes of the game effort was never a question.

Contact David Moore with comments at david.moore@bsu.edu or on X @gingninj63


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