As the old basketball adage goes:
"You can't teach height."
And that's what the Brown Deer boys used to great advantage Tuesday night against Woodland rival Shorewood, as despite first half foul trouble for both, the inside pair of 6-6 Jerry Luckett (22 points) and 6-9 Devante Jackson (14) combined for 36 points and generally made life miserable for their much shorter hosts in a 66-50 decision.
"They're long and athletic and that's going to be a problem for any team built like us (no one over 6-4)," said Shorewood coach Phil Jones. "I don't know where they get them all. They must restock (chuckles)."
The loss dropped Shorewood to 2-1 overall while a surprising Falcon team, in what's supposed to be a rebuilding year improved to 4-0.
What helped Brown Deer this year despite the loss of four starters from a 21-5 Woodland Conference championship team of a year ago, was the transfer of the 6-6 Luckett from Nicolet and 6-3 wing player Zack Baun from West Bend.
Though Baun only had six points, he was a tremendous nuisance to the Greyhounds all night with numerous deflections, a couple of blocks and some assists.
Brown Deer coach Kelly Appleby knows how fortunate he is.
"Those kids are adapting well," he said. "Zack (who was a star quarterback on the football team) is just very active on both ends of the floor) and Jerry's just become a force inside."
The Falcons, however, weren't so fortunate at the beginning, when unforgiving rims and a tenacious effort by the young Greyhounds (only one senior starter) allowed Shorewood to close out the first period with a 10-2 run including a three-point play by sophomore guard Tejon Lucas.
It was 15-9 Greyhounds heading into the second.
"My compliments to them, they play us hard everytime," said Appleby. "They double-teamed us every chance they got and got us into foul trouble. That's just something we have to manage better."
But then it was the Falcons' turn to use some defensive pressure to get the Greyhounds out of their rhythm. Using up to four variations of half-court and full zone pressure, Brown Deer forced the Greyhounds to miss their first 10 shots of the second period.
In the interim, the Falcons would start the session on a 13-1 run that would give them the lead for good. Luckett had five points in that run which saw five different players score.
It was 22-16 at the 4:10 mark of the second period and when the dust had settled Brown Deer had reversed fortunes and taken a 28-23 halftime lead.
"They're just more of an experienced team," said Jones. "...We start two sophomores and sometimes it takes awhile for young kids to catch on. "
What also hurt said Jones, is that most of his players went out of town for the past weekend holiday break and he was only able to get in one practice in following that before the game with the Falcons.
"That's why we don't play any Thanksgiving or Christmas break tourneys," he said. "It (the travel) is just what they do in Shorewood (during the holidays)."
Still, Jones didn't think the zone press bothered his squad that much.
But another cold stretch at the start of the third was a bother, as Brown Deer's length forced the Greyhounds to miss nine of their first 10 shots. By the time the Greyhounds started hitting a few tries, it was too late as Brown Deer had finished 15-3 run and jerked the lead up to an inurmountable 43-26 with 3:03 left in the third.
"It was a tough game underneath and I think we wore them down in the end," said Appleby. "It was the type of game that definitely played out in our favor."
The lead was cut back to 45-38 at the end of three and a bucket by Lucas cut the margin to 45-40 early in the fourth quarter. But then the Falcons went on an 8-0 run, four each by Jackson (including a dunk) and Luckett and then were never threatened again.
Because of the foul situation, Appleby played even more people than usual and he was pleased with the results as a he got to see how several other players would react under pressure situations.
"It feels good to be 4-0," he said.
Other scorers for Brown Deer included Lewrenzo Byers (eight) and Tony Thomas with seven) while Shorewood was led sophomore Shane Carrington with 14, senior Kejuan Glosson with 13 and Lucas with nine.
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