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Ice-cold first half dooms Brown Deer

March 7, 2014

If ever a game could serve as a microcosm of a season, it was the Brown Deer girls basketball team's WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal loss Friday.

A great second half followed — one that was, well, forgettable.

The Falcons (9-14) played the host Milwaukee School of Languages Hawks (19-3) even after intermission, but not before scoring just two points in the first half en route to a 56-33 season-ending loss.

"The only thing I didn't account for was we'd come out tight," said Brown Deer coach Vinnie Murray. "We knew everything they were going to throw at us. We knew we could play with them. We just got very tight early because we missed a couple (of shots) we usually hit."

The host Hawks, winners of their last eight games, took control in the second quarter and never looked back, but neither team looked comfortable at the start. The Falcons made just one of 11 first-quarter shots, while the hosts knocked down just 2 of 11 to take a 4-2 lead.

But as Brown Deer's woes continued into the second quarter – the Falcons went 0-for-12 from the field – the Hawks' did not. Lewis University recruit Kayla Brewer made a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 44 seconds left in the half to put her team up, 11-2. The Hawks knocked down 3-pointers on their next three possessions, including a pair by Ja'Tavia Conley-Kingsby, to extend their lead to 20-2.

By halftime, the host team lead, 25-2.

"They're an energy team," Murray said. "They have a lot of talent and feed off that positive energy. As we missed shots, it caused us to deflate on the defensive end and not close out and they were playing for energy, looking for shots and feeling it."

The Falcons trailed by as many as 32 points in the third quarter but matched the Hawks, 31-31, after halftime. Joyce Biddle scored all of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers.

"We played free and loose in the second half and did what we wanted to do, and I'm proud we played our brand of basketball," Murray said. "I think we outplayed them."

Brewer finished with 19 points for the Hawks. Breanna Butler chipped in with 13.

The loss capped a season that saw the Falcons finish strong, aside from their finale. After starting the season with losses in 10 of 11 games, Brown Deer closed the regular season with eight regular-season victories in 11 tries.

"We struggled with some team dynamics the first half of the season but straightened that out and played really well," Murray said. "We were finding ways to lose games early and then we found ways to win them."

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