BROOKFIELD -- At halftime of Friday's Class M state tournament game against Montville, the Brookfield girls basketball team had a one-point lead and very specific instructions from coach Maura Keenan -- to stop Stephanie Jones.
"I don't think they had a very good scouting report on us," said Montville coach Derek Wainwright. "Jones has been our leading scorer all year. But they made quite the adjustment during the half."
The adjustment was simple -- break out of their zone defense and stick All-Colonial Division defender Jackie Brown on Jones. Brown quickly proved why she has gained a reputation as one of the area's best defenders and, despite finishing with just four points, was the most dominant player in Brookfield's 54-37 victory.
"At halftime, coach said `Jones is killing us' and told Jackie to face-guard her," said Bobcats guard Brittany Martelle. "(Brown's) defense has been great all season. She's our best defender and the best defender in the SWC. (Jones) got really frustrated and wasn't a factor in the second half."
Brookfield advances to face Morgan, a 44-42 winner over Suffield in overtime, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at a time and site to be detemirned.
With Jones rendered ineffective, Montville was unable to get anything going on offense.
The Bobcats' offense, on the other hand, hit its stride in third quarter.
After guard Maureen Vetter forced a turnover in the backcourt, she hit a cutting Martelle for the first basket of the half and, from there, the rout was on.
Montville did its best to limit Martelle's damage, but she was more than willing to give up the ball and let her teammates do the scoring.
"I coach under the belief that you shouldn't let the other team's best player beat you," Wainwright said. "But Martelle really showed that she doesn't need to score in order to be effective. They're well-coached and know how to play together,"
Despite constantly fighting through double-teams and a swarming Indians defense, Martelle (14 points, five assists) put the ball in her teammates' hands.
"All season, the entire team has stepped up," Martelle said. "It used to be one or two girls would score, but tonight Bickelhaput (19 points) scored, Melchione (9 points) scored, I scored and the bench contributed. We're playing so well as a team right now."
And according to Martelle, her team won't be satisfied until it reaches the Class M championship.
"We're going to Mohegan Sun," she said. "That's our goal. We're going to keep working hard, and we're going to get there."
Meghan Autencio 1 1-2 3, Stephanie Jones 6 0-0 13, Danielle Autnecio 5 3-5 13, Nina Giansanti 1 2-2 4, Kimberly Bigelow 1 0-0 2, Alexandra 1 0-0 2, Chelsea McDermott 0 0-0 0, Stephanie Gauthier 0 0-0 0, Amanda Joyce 0 0-0 0, Allie Clark 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 6-9 37.
Jamie Bickelhaupt 7 5-8 19, Krista Malchione 3 3-4 9, Brittany Martelle 5 2-2 14, Jackie Brown 2 0-0 4, Maureen Vetter 1 1-2 4, Kerry Fleming 1 0-0 2, Tara Schang 1 0-0 2, Courtney Morlock 0 0-2 0, Claudia Bartoli 0 0-0 0, Paulina Heron 0 0-0 0, Julia Depoi 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 11-18 54.
MONTVILLE 5 14 7 11--37
BROOKFIELD 12 8 19 15--54
3-pointers: M -- Jones, B -- Martelle 2, Vetter