Stop if you’ve heard this before about a Steve Lynch-coached team: an experienced unit finding success because of an inherent togetherness and an unyielding commitment to defense.
In his first season at Brownsburg, the former Mt. Vernon coach has taken a Bulldog outfit that finished 11-10 and allowed 50.5 points per game in 2012-13 to new heights in 2013-14, leading Brownsburg (21-2) to its first sectional crown in six seasons while surrendering 43.2 ppg — the 11th-best defensive average in the state. The Bulldogs face Pike (14-8) in the second semifinal of the Southport Regional Saturday.
After seven seasons in Fortville and guiding the 2012-13 Marauders to a 24-2 record and the school’s first regional crown since 1991, Lynch left for the Class 4A Hendricks County school last April.
The building blocks of experience and defense are the two evident parallels between No. 5-ranked Brownsburg and the 2012-13 MV group. The former’s top nine scorers are either juniors or seniors; the latter started two sophomores, a junior, two seniors, spent a good deal of the season ranked No. 1 in 3A and only allowed 42.4 ppg.
“This group has been very consistent. The one thing I can say about this group is that they’ve shown up to compete every night and we haven’t had too many stinkers as far as not showing up or not getting the job done on the court,” said Lynch of his initial Bulldog unit, whose only defeats are to the current No. 1 (Carmel) and No. 3 (Hamilton Southeastern) ranked teams in 4A. “Like any coach I wish we would practice better, but they’ve been pretty good about showing up on time, getting on the court and doing what they’re supposed to do.”
When he was hired, Lynch became Brownsburg’s third coach in four seasons. Former Butler guard Ronald Nored was at the helm in 2012-13 before leaving to take an assistant coaching position at South Alabama under Matthew Graves, another ex-Butler player. (Nored was a few months into his tenure at South Alabama when he joined Brad Stevens’ regime with the Boston Celtics). Nored had replaced Joshua Kendrick, who resigned after the 2012 season following an eight-year stint with the program — which included a 4A state championship in 2008.
Kelli Waggoner made Lynch her first hire after taking over as Brownsburg’s athletic director in March of 2013.
“Steve’s the kind of person that we needed at the time. The seniors had three coaches in four years,” said Waggoner, a Brownsburg graduate. “He came in and meshed well with the community and won the respect of the boys because they knew his history. We needed someone with his leadership and commitment.”