NORTH JACKSON — Despite a fast start Thursday night, Brookfield had to hold off Jackson-Milton late.
After Jackson-Milton sophomore Ava Darney’s would-be go-ahead 3-pointer rimmed out in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter, the Warriors managed to edge the Blue Jays 48-46, giving Jackson-Milton (2-1) its first loss of the season.
“You always learn something when you play a good team, a good program,” Blue Jays head coach Patrick Keney said. “Like I told the girls, I’m not shaming them. They gave me everything they had. This is just one game of the season. We just need to go out there every game and get better.”
Brookfield (1-1) ran out to a 17-7 lead in the first quarter thanks to some hot shooting from beyond the arc. Junior Sophia Hook started the game 4-for-5 from distance, including hitting three straight 3-pointers in the first quarter.
But, the Warriors cooled off from there and the Blue Jays clawed back in the second quarter to cut the deficit to one at halftime, 27-26. Senior Kylie Wilson and junior Carla Blancafort were crucial in fueling the comeback.
“I thought we got a little selfish (in the second quarter),” Brookfield head coach Kenneth Forsyth said. “We thought we always needed to go score and everything instead of just trying to execute our plays.”
As a team, Jackson-Milton hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter, its only treys in the entire game. Wilson had eight points in the quarter to lead the comeback, while Blancafort had five. Wilson finished with 14 points to lead the Blue Jays, while Darney added 13 and Blancafort had 11. Senior Chelsea Williams also finished with eight points.
“We went down there and missed a lot of easy bunnies,” Keney said of the first quarter. “But we came back in the second and played hard.”
The third quarter remained close as Brookfield maintained its one-point advantage headed into the final period.
In the fourth quarter, there were several lead changes. After Jackson-Milton had pulled ahead by two on a made free-throw for its largest lead of the game with 1:20 to go, senior Audrey Reardon hit a corner 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead back with 46.2 seconds to go.
Then, the Blue Jays turned the ball over on the next possession and Brookfield tried to dribble out the clock. A Jackson-Milton foul with 25.8 seconds to go sent junior Katie Gibson to the line with a chance to extend the Warriors’ lead. She made the first free throw, but missed the second and the Blue Jays called timeout for the last possession.
Brookfield’s pressure defense forced a couple loose balls on Jackson-Milton’s last possession, but Darney was able to get a shot off, which rimmed out in the final seconds.
“We wanted to get a good shot — we didn’t want to just throw a shot up,” Keney said. “We got the shot off and then we had a chance to get the ball. I thought there was a foul there, but they didn’t call it, so that’s the way it goes.”
Forsyth credited his team’s experience for being able to close things out in the fourth quarter. Senior Anna Reichart’s 16 points led all scorers, while Hook had 13 and Reardon finished with 10. Sophomore Cailey Wellman added eight points.
“We have a veteran group and we’ve been in these types of games and we’ve learned from them,” Forsyth said. “We had a senior step up and hit that three at the end of the game, which was huge for us. It’s just us being through this a million times that glues it together in the end.”