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Class 2A State Championship Preview

Mike Beas, Special to
Posted: February 23, 2024
Brownstown Central vs Bishop Luers graphic

Teams with one senior on the roster are inclined to be more enthusiastic about the future than the present.

Brownstown Central dares to be different.

The good times tipped-off early for the Braves, who take the court inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon to face Fort Wayne Luers in the Class 2A championship game.

It is the second time the program will finish a season in downtown Indianapolis, the first being in 2011 when Brownstown Central played . . . you guessed it . . . Fort Wayne Luers.

Those Braves came up short, 59-46. Whether or not this group can exact some measure of belated revenge remains to be seen.

“We were very surprised to be here. Honestly, our main goal from the beginning of the season was just to get through sectionals,” said 5-9 sophomore forward Sophie Wischmeier, who averages 8 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds.

“We were predicted to lose, like, almost all of our postseason games, so it was a big surprise for us.”

They aren’t alone.

Brownstown Central’s somewhat pedestrian regular-season mark of 14-9 wasn’t conjuring up images of celebratory net-cuttings, yet Braves’ players have engaged in this longstanding tradition three times in as many weeks.

Victories over Southwestern (Hanover), Henryville and Austin at the Providence Sectional boosted the Braves’ collective confidence. They then downed South Spencer, 55-50, in a two-overtime thriller at the Charlestown Regional.

Last week’s conquests at the Shelbyville Semi-State were Linton-Stockton and Eastern Hancock.

Not bad for a team led by five underclassmen averaging between 6.2 and 10.1 points a game, the pace-setter being 5-7 sophomore guard Harley Toppe. Wischmeier is next, followed by 5-6 junior guard Jenna Klosterman (7.1), 5-7 junior forward Kinzee Dean (6.3) and 5-6 junior guard Mallory Klosterman (6.2).

The Klosterman sisters are twins. Brownstown Central’s lone senior is 5-4 guard Kelsey Schneider, who has been good for 3.9 points per outing.

“This was unexpected. The word I use a lot is unbelievable,” said fifth-year Braves’ coach Brandon Allman, 38, a 2003 Brownstown Central graduate. “I think it’s our defensive schemes. The girls really buying in and understanding what we want to do defensively.

“That really showed up against Eastern Hancock (at semi-state), a team that was averaging over 60 points a game, and holding them to half their average.”


The Class 2A State Championship featuring Brownstown Central (21-8) and Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (19-6) will stream via PPV on this Saturday at approximately 12:45 pm ET / 11:45 CT!


Prior to this season, Allman had stubbornly emphasized man-to-man defense. However, with the personnel this time around, he sensed the Braves might be better served implementing a 2-3 zone.

Not just here and there, but fulltime.

The proof is in the results. Brownstown Central, the squad no one saw making it this far, outscored its first six postseason opponents by an average of 13.7 points.

“Once we got used to it, it made more sense the longer we played it,” said Jenna Klosterman, who leads the team in assists (3.4) while also corralling 4.1 rebounds per game. “We just had to learn the spots, and understanding your role on the defensive end.”

The Braves will need to be on top of their game against Fort Wayne Luers, which is led by 6-foot senior center Addie Shank (13.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg), 6-2 sophomore Miley Wareing (11.5, 9.4), 5-7 senior guard Annika Davis (10.1 ppg, 2.2 apg) and 5-9 junior guard Reese Rhodehamel (7.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg).

Fort Wayne Luers seeks its seventh state championship, and first since the aforementioned win over Brownstown Central 13 years ago.

Knights’ coach Mark Pixley, now in his 10th season, is, too, an ardent believer in a 2-3 zone defense. His team has limited opponents to 40 or fewer points on 12 occasions this season.

“You know, it’s kind of weird. I’ve watched a couple (Brownstown) games, but it’s kind of like I look in the mirror, and they’re kind of like us,” said Pixley. “They play a 2-3 zone, they’re big and they’re athletic. They rely on their post players, which we do, too. 
“I think it’s going to be a real battle. Kind of similar styles going at each other. We’ve hung our hat on the (2-3 zone) all year. There’s no secret that that’s what we’re going to do come Saturday.”

Just maybe it’s enough for an avid pike fisherman like Pixley to reel in another state title for Fort Wayne Luers.