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Benter's 25 points lift Brownstown to school's first state championship

Mike Beas, Special to
Posted: March 30, 2024
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Photo Credit: Double Edge Media @demllc

INDIANAPOLIS – In a sport dominated by numbers, 29.1 is sure to be special to Brownstown Central coach Dave Benter for the remainder of his days.

These are how many seconds were splashed across Gainbridge Fieldhouse scoreboards on Saturday afternoon when Purdue-bound Brownstown Central guard Jack Benter walked off the court and straight into his father’s embrace.

The Braves were officially wading in new waters, state champions for the first time in program history by way of a 55-36 victory over Wapahani in the Class 2A finale.

A community that celebrated state runner-up status in 2004 and 2009 finally got to exercise its lungs from the mountaintop. For the elder Benter, the Brownstown coach since the outset of the 1998-1999 season, the third time truly was the charm.

Wapahani’s lone lead was 3-2 after a baseline triple 57 seconds into the game. Brownstown Central responded with a 10-0 scoring run – including consecutive 3-pointers from Chace Coomer – and was off to the races.

“I thought our energy in the first half was outstanding,” said coach Benter, referencing his squad’s 18-7 lead after one quarter, which grew to a 17-point advantage at halftime (31-14).

“I think five of their first seven points came because we missed box-outs. Chace Coomer coming out and hitting those shots early . . . and they had a real hard time guarding Jack. He was able to score the ball and create some shots.”


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Brownstown senior Jack Benter had 25 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the Class 2A state championship game (Photo credit: Doubled Edge Media @demllc).


Jack Benter, a 6-foot-6 guard who is superbly skilled as both a scorer and passer, had 16 points, two rebounds and three assists at halftime. His 3-pointer at the buzzer from the top of the key were the final points of the opening half.

He credits the Braves’ early defensive effort against the Raiders’ perimeter shooters as the difference.

“I feel like (Wapahani) is really good when they get comfortable,” said the younger Benter. “To be able to get out there and disrupt their pace and tempo, and take away the shots they normally get during games. They really struggled with that early.”

Wapahani managed only 6 of 22 shooting from the floor in the first half, going a blustery 2 of 14 from deep.

Then, to the surprise of absolutely no one in the red-shirted cheering section, the Raiders responded with a 14-3 run to open the third quarter, pulling to within 34-28 on Isaac Andrews’ 3-pointer from the left wing at the 2:23 mark of the third stanza.

This, after all, is a group of players – and a community – that has faced far more daunting challenges in recent weeks than Brownstown Central’s collective wingspan.

But then the Braves did what champions do by silencing the Wapahani cheering section with a layup from guard Micah Sheffer and Benter’s two free throws grow the lead to 10 with one period to play.

Brownstown Central would gradually continue pulling away from the Raiders, outscoring them 17-6 over the final eight minutes.

Benter led all scorers with 25 points. Coomer and Sheffer added 13 and 11, respectively, while senior guard Parker Hehman dished out a game-best eight assists. The hard-nosed Andrews paced Wapahani with 21 points with senior teammate Nick Cook grabbing nine rebounds, and Eli Andrews good for seven points off the bench.

Brownstown Central and Wapahani filed two of the day’s largest and most-vocal cheering sections into Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Despite coming up short on the ultimate stage, the Raiders, too, were winners, pumping so much positivity into Selma after tornadoes ripped through the town on March 14.

The two weeks leading up to Saturday’s 2A title contest will forever be cherished.

“It was amazing for us,” said Isaac Andrews. “We had people trying to feed us dinner every night, and having to turn people away because we had too much food. We didn’t think we were going to get up and down the court if we ate that much.”

Statistically, the Braves shot the basketball better, making 20 of 41 attempts (.488) compared to Wapahani’s 15 of 43 (.349), turned the basketball over four times to the Raiders’ eight and converted 8 of 9 attempts from the free throw stripe. Wapahani did prevail on the glass, holding a 25-23 upper hand in rebounding.

Sum the parts, and it equals Brownstown Central players hoisting the largest of the two Indiana-shaped trophies for the first time.

“Words don’t explain how proud I am of our basketball team today, and the entire season,” said Wapahani coach Matt Luce. “These are kids I’ve grown up with. Kindergarten. First-grade. A lot of coaches will tell you these are my guys . . . these are my guys. We lost to an outstanding team in Brownstown Central. 
“To cut it to six points after a not-as-well-planned first half, but to make adjustments and fight back and cut it to six points shows the grit and heart of our team.”


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Isaac Andrews (20) led Wapahani with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).


Class 2A State Championship Records

Most Combined 3FG Attempted: 48 by Wapahani (28) and Brownstown Central (20).


Isaac Andrews of Wapahani receives Trester Mental Attitude Award

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Isaac Andrews of Wapahani High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 2A Boys Basketball.

The award is presented annually to a senior participant in each classification who was nominated by his principal and coach and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

Isaac has had tremendous success on the basketball court through his four years by helping his team win 3 sectionals, 2  regionals, and 1 semi-state championship. He is the all-time scoring leader for Wapahani High School and Delaware County.

Off the court, Isaac is involved in the National Honor Society, Raiders Against Destructive Decisions, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Furthermore, he's been elected Captain of the Wapahani Basketball team for four years and also plays varsity baseball. 

He is the son of Jeff and Melissa Andrews of Selma, Indiana and he is undecided on his choice for college but plans to play college basketball. 

The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, the presenting sponsors of the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to the general scholarship fund at Wapahani High School in the name of Isaac Andrews. 

The award is named in honor of the late Arthur L. Trester, who served as the first IHSAA Commissioner from 1929 to 1944 as a guiding force after the Great Depression. 

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Isaac Andrews was named the recipient of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award following the game (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).