Despite doing everything in their power to throw it away, Brookfield's girls came away with a third-place placard in the Marceline Hoops Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs' girls' basketball team held as hefty as a 19 points lead in the second half against Milan in the third-place game before the Wildcats cut the lead to as slim as six points twice, and once with around a minute-and-a-half remaining in the final period.
"The first half of that game is about as well as we've played," second-year Bulldog coach Tony Fairchild said. "We're figuring a lot of stuff out, but we have to learn how to finish games."
Brookfield would eventually win, 63-52, to improve to 8-4 on the season. The Bulldogs dominated the glass in the first three quarters before the Wildcats reeled in seemingly every rebound in the final period.
The Bulldogs scored the first eight points of the game, and fostered a 35-18 lead at the intermission. They then won the third quarter, 9-7, before Milan went on an 18-5 run to begin the fourth. Cassi Conard knocked down a pair of free throws, and Rylee Sensenich hit a floater on the following possession to extend the Brookfield lead back to double digits.
"Their main girl (Cady Pauley) started hitting some threes, and it pulled some of our girls out of position," Fairchild said. "Then we got really concerned with her, and it opened up some easy looks for everyone else. It's something we've got to clean up."
Pauley finished with a game-high 23 points, including 13 in that fourth quarter. Sensenich was right on her heels with 21 points, and Conard finished with 13, and went 11-of-12 from the free-throw line.
The prior two days, in pool play, Brookfield lost to eventual runner-up Macon, 51-48, before toppling Putnam County by 21 points the next evening.
The Bulldogs travel to Harrisburg on Wednesday night.