Brown Deer boys basketball coach Kelly Appleby called it "a tale of two halves" while Shorewood mentor Phil Jones liked the sense of character it brought out in his team.
At any rate, the Falcons blew a 21-point halftime lead, fell behind on several occasions in the fourth quarter and then got several big plays from the likes of senior forward Jamon Jackson-Wilson to edge area rival Shorewood, 66-64 in a WIAA Division 2 boys regional quarterfinal at Brown Deer Tuesday night.
"At the end, it was just the fact that we didn't want to go home yet," said Jackson-Wilson, who hit two critical free throws late and then blocked a three-point attempt from the Greyhounds' leading-scorer Deion Jackson-Body (30 points). "The good part of our games is that we can build big leads quickly.
"The bad part is is that we have a hard time holding it down. But we just couldn't go out like that."
With the win, the Falcons improved to 15-8 and will advance to a regional semifinal at second-seeded Milwaukee Washington (17-5) on Friday, while Shorewood ended its season 11-12.
"We played well in the second half," said Greyhounds coach Phil Jones, "but they surprised us by hitting some key free throws at the end. We played the percentages and put some guys on the line (who we thought would miss), but it didn't work out."
But it almost did. The Falcons rebounded well, got the ball inside and had their way with the Greyhounds in the first half in building up a 40-19 lead.
But the Greyhounds came out with some serious energy in the second half, outscoring the Falcons 25-7 in the third quarter as Jackson-Body and center Aaron Bailey had nine points apiece, and the deficit suddenly closed to 47-44.
"We had them back on their heels in the first half and then they did it to us in the second half," said Appleby, "but we knew that they might do that, because they have some good character guys and they're not going to quit in a playoff game."
The fourth quarter was frantic. Jackson-Body tied the game at 47-all with a three-pointer at the at the 6:59 mark and then gave the Greyhounds their first lead since 3-2, with another trey at the 6:24 mark to make it 50-49.
All together, Jackson-Body hit seven long-range bombs in the game.
Shorewood would take three more leads in the quarter, once on a Bobby Kohl three-pointer, a Jackson-Body free throw and on Bailey's shot in the post with 3:11 to go.
But then Jackson-Wilson stepped up. He hit a shot in the post to give Brown Deer the lead for good at 57-56 with 2:52 remaining, and after he blocked a Jackson-Body three-pointer, teammate Donald Harmon drained a baseline three-pointer to make it 60-56 with just 1:23 to go.
However, with 39 seconds remaining, Jackson-Body got the Greyhounds to within one at 60-59 with an impossibly long three from the right wing.
That's when the Falcons, who up to that point had been indifferent from the foul line, suddenly found the range from the charity stripe. Jackson-Wilson hit his pair with 37 seconds left to make it 62-59, Brown Deer.
After another Greyhounds three-pointer was blocked, Desmond Jackson added two more free throws to make it 64-59 Falcons with 20 seconds to go. Kohl then hit another three for Shorewood with 13 seconds left to cut the margin to 64-62.
D'Sean Groce (nine points) gave Brown Deer its last needed cushion, with the final two free throws of the night at the 8.6-second mark to make it 66-62.
Bailey put in an offensive rebound at the buzzer for the Greyhounds, but it was too late.
"When you get caught up in a game like that, so many things are flashing by," said Jones. "You're just hoping that the kids remember everything you taught them in practice."
Bailey added 14 for Shorewood while Kohl had nine for Shorewood.
Appleby was happy that his team found its footing again after it faltered.
"We went back to running the offense through Tray (Palmer) and then looked to get it inside so Jamon could get it to the hoop," said Appleby. "We were then able to take it home. Survive and advance."
Desmond Jackson had 12 points, Jake Schimenz 10 and Harmon eight for the Falcons.
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