Figuring out how to stop one dominant low-post presence can be a tall order in these WIAA playoffs. Contending with two turned out to be more than visiting Kettle Moraine Lutheran could handle on Saturday night.
Powered by its pressure defense and 45 combined points from the talented inside tandem of Devante Jackson and Jerry Luckett, host Brown Deer (19-5) raced past the Chargers, 76-49, in a WIAA Division 3 sectional final on Saturday night.
The 6-9 Jackson and 6-6 Luckett got to work early, overpowering the Chargers defense from point-blank range for 14 first-quarter points as the Falcons established the early advantage.
"Teams really can't guard us. No matter how you want to defend us, we feel like we can score," said Jackson, who finished with 22 points. Luckett finished with a game-high 23, and junior forward Zack Baun added 15 for the Falcons.
Despite their early success inside, Brown Deer struggled to shake the Chargers until their defensive pressure broke the game open.
Clinging to an 18-15 lead, Brown Deer held the Chargers scoreless for the first 4:52 of the second quarter, running off 14 unanswered points to take command of the game.
"Like any team that presses full-court, we are a team that plays in spurts," Brown Deer coach Kelly Appleby said. "Tonight ours came in the second and fourth quarters. When we can pressure without fouling or giving up layups, we can make it a long night for people."
The Brown Deer guards put pressure on Lutheran offensively as well, hitting shots when more defensive attention was devoted to the two bigs on the block.
"You can't help off of their post guys because their guards are so good. You sort of pick your poison because they can hurt you in many different ways," said Kettle Moraine Lutheran head coach Todd Jahns. "When we did try to slow them down in the post, their guards hit some big threes."
Trailing 36-19 at halftime, Lutheran came out hot in the third quarter behind junior guard Ethan Bublitz, who hit two quick 3-pointers to help the Chargers get back into the game.
Bublitz, who finished with a team-high 20 points, also banked in a deep three at the third-quarter buzzer to pull Lutheran within 10, but KML got no closer. The fourth quarter was all Brown Deer, punctuated by a dunk from Jackson and a spectacular spinning 3-point-play by Byers that brought the home crowd to its feet.
"Their full-court pressure got us out of rhythm and made us play fast. We can play that way in spurts, but we don't have the depth to hold up all game," said Jahns. "We were able to make a few runs of our own, but their pressure eventually got to us.
Brown Deer advances to play East Troy (17-7) on Thursday at Waukesha West High School in the sectional semifinal.
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