Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Charleston’s Jaksen Braun and his teammates ‘took care of business’ Tuesday evening against Effngham. The senior scored a game-high 23 points and the Trojans played strong defensively to earn a 57-46 victory over Effingham on Tuesday evening in boys basketball.
“Yeah, we did,” Charleston coach Cody Drone said. “We took care of business. Whenever we needed to get a stop or a score, we had a timely stop and a timely score.”
Braun said the team’s goal was to take care of business and play their brand of basketball.
“Yesterday in practice, we just focused on us,” he said. “It wasn’t the prettiest brand of basketall, but we got the job done.”
Charleston remains in second in the Apollo Conference at 7-3 and is 15-9 overall. Effingham drops to 1-9, 9-17.
Braun scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, taking feeds from Jackson Burgess over Effingham defenders for three consecutive layups at one point.
“That’s something we do consistently in practice,” Drone said. “Burgess is our best guy throwing that pass and Braun is our best finisher. It’s something hard to take away. Those two guys, when theyre working together and seeing the floor together – that’s something hard to stop.”
Braun took advice from assistant coach A.J. Alexander to adjust to Effingham’s defense.
“They were fronting me hard in the post,” he said. “Alexander said to move up a little bit and talk to Burg and he kept feeding me over the top, and I kept hitting layups.”
Braun was surprised Effingham didn’t send support on the baseline.
“I was waiting for it (help underneath),” he said. “I was talking to one guy ‘When are they going to start getting you some help?’ And jokingly, he said ‘I don’t know where it’s at.’ It just never came.”
Effingham relied on a two-man show in Ethan Ritz leading the Hearts with 21 points followed by Garrett Wolfe with 17.
“We did enough to win,” Drone said. “We had timely stops. You want a team that gets timely stops. When it’s crunch time, that’s when we play our best defense.”
Will Applegate and Braun each had two timely blocks that stymied Effingham scoring opportunities.
“I don’t teach that; that’s all pure timing,” Drone said. “Pure athleticism. That’s nice to have. If we do get beat, we have that rim protectors in the back.”
Braun said it was about being in the ‘right place, right time’.
“Wolfe kept coming in there and I tried to help as best as I could,” he said. “Will caught a couple on the way up as well. You don’t want to say it’s lucky, but you hit the ball at the right spot at the right time.”
Drone said the team needs to continue improving on executing its offense.
“Overall, executing offensively and knowing what we need to be doing,” he said. “Executing our offense and communicating on defense.”
The Trojans travel to Mahomet-Seymour on Wednesday (tonight).
“Another real big game,” Drone said. “We’re 7-3 theyre 4-5. They’re a real solid team. It’s away so we’re going to have to play our best.”
Braun believes the Trojans can beat anyone in the Apollo, if they take care of business.
“We have to play our brand of basketball,” he said. “We can beat anyone in the Apollo and do what we need to do our way. And be confident and play our brand of basketball, we can get it done.”
Charleston travels to play Mahomet this evening.
CHARLESTON – Smitley 1 0-1 2, Pankey 1 0-0 2, Applegate 5 2-2 14, Burgess 1 0-0 2, Becker 1 0-0 2, Braun 7 9-9 23, Oakley 5 1-2 12. Totals: 21 12-14 57. 3-pointers: Applegate 2, Oakley 1.
EFFINGHAM – Donaldson 1 0-0 3, Wolfe 7 2-3 17, Ritz 8 1-1 21, D. Fox 0 1-2 1, Heil 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 4-6 46. 3-pointers: Donaldson 1, Wolfe 1, Ritz 4.