Halfcourt bomb helps Bay girls beat Shorewood, 44-24, in regional tilt

Greyhounds find Blue Dukes defense too tough

March 13, 2012

The Whitefish Bay girls basketball team did just enough in the eyes of coach Greg Capper in the Blue Dukes' 44-24 WIAA regional semifinal playoff victory over Shorewood on Friday.

"A number of times this season I've said that we played well enough to win," he said. "Tonight we played well enough to win."

Shorewood had issues breaking through the Blue Dukes' defense and scored just five points in both quarters of the first half and seven points in each quarter of the second half.

"This team is so good on defense," Shorewood coach Jeff Eimers said. "We have trouble with good defensive teams, and we have trouble scoring. We'd needed to start hitting our threes and we couldn't tonight."

"I think we did a good job defensively in the first half," Capper agreed. "We also found enough openings to get some shots."

Bay (20-4) advanced to a regional final game Saturday against Brown Deer, which they won (see separate story) while Shorewood finished at 7-17.

The Blue Dukes seemed dominant during the first quarter of the game against Shorewood and made it 7-2 on a free throw from Maya Jonas, who moments before had intercepted a pass from Shorewood's Robbie Holland and was fouled on the layup attempt.

A 3-pointer from Elisabeth Johnston made it 10-2. Johnston, who scored 11 points for the Dukes, had also been responsible in setting up several of their early baskets.

"We move the ball around a lot on offense," she said. "It took us a while to get into it, but we ended up getting the feel of things. We should have been able to get it going a little faster, and I feel like we didn't come out to play the best that we could."

With mere seconds left in the first quarter, an errant pass to Maddy Garcia went beyond halfcourt, where Shorewood's Abby Pech collected it. Her layup attempt was blocked out of bounds, but Holland nailed a 3-pointer off the inbound to bring the score back to 10-5 and perhaps give her team some momentum going into the second quarter.

The real last-second backbreaker for Bay came a second later, however. Garcia got off a shot from beyond half court just before the buzzer sounded and it hit nothing but net.

"We got it down to 10-5 and then they throw up a prayer that quite honestly I didn't think had a chance to go in, and that thing went in, so that makes it 13-5," Eimers said. "Any momentum we had was just killed right there. They're a very good team and I wish them well going forward."

"I think that was one of a number of things that maybe helped us," Capper said. "It's always fun to watch those go in and it gets the crowd and the players excited."

Between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth, Shorewood did have a seven-point run, getting baskets from Grace Hayes, Bella Nassif and Maura Curtis to cut the Dukes' lead to 36-20. The Dukes outscored the Greyhounds 8-4 the rest of the way.

Johnston and Jonas both scored 11 points for the Dukes, while Hayes led the Greyhounds with five points.

"We just know that we can't take any game for granted and we have to play the best that we can every time," Johnston said.

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