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Etowah defense stifles Broncos in season-ending loss

Photo: David McGregor. Brookwood's Katie Mallow (33) takes a shot over Etowah defender Leah Hixon during the Broncos' loss to the Eagles Saturday evening.

Photo: David McGregor. Brookwood's Katie Mallow (33) takes a shot over Etowah defender Leah Hixon during the Broncos' loss to the Eagles Saturday evening.

SNELLVILLE -- Nearly half the first quarter was gone and Brookwood girls coach Scott Terry pulled his five starters for a break.

His team was down 7-0, had missed all four field goals and had misfired on all four free throws. And it had three turnovers thrown in, too.

It was that kind of night for the host Broncos, who were stifled by a physical Etowah defense Saturday in a 65-40 loss in the Class AAAAA girls basketball first round.

"(Etowah) did a good job defensively of taking (Katie) Mallow and Jazmine (Jackson) out and making them work," Terry said. "But I've got a great group of kids. They won 21 games and any time you win that many games it's a good season."

Etowah (23-6) hounded the host Broncos into a 12-for-69 shooting effort (17.4 percent), including a miserable 1-for-19 (5.2 percent) from 3-point range. Good looks at the basket were few and far between, particularly for Brookwood's leading scorer, Katie Mallow, who came in averaging 19.4 points.

The junior guard didn't get any open shots all night -- the 3-point shooting specialist was 0-for-4 from long range -- and finished 1-for-15. Most of her shots were heavily contested drives to the basket or putback attempts and she finished with four points.

"Our region's a pretty defensive region, you've got to bring that every night, and our girls do," Etowah head coach Robert Westbrook said of Region 5-AAAAA. "We have to do that to win and I thought we frustrated (Brookwood) a little bit on the offensive end. ... We felt like we just had to cover (Mallow) up with our best defender and Stephanie Huffman stepped up to the plate and did that. And our team defense was great, helping her out when she got beat."

Jackson, who led Brookwood (21-8) with 11 points, scored four straight points just past the midway point of the second quarter to get the struggling Broncos within 20-12. But that was the last time the lead was under double figures.

Etowah led 25-14 at halftime, then dominated the third quarter to go up 47-26 after three quarters. The big, physical inside duo of Kaycee Cash (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Krysta Lewis (12 points) did most of their damage in the third, while the Eagles also got solid offensive nights from Huffman (13 points) and Roxie Oswalt (12 points).

Brookwood's comeback hopes took a major blow early in the third quarter when 6-foot-2 freshman Rebecca Walker (six points, four rebounds) injured her knee and did not return. Her absence made dealing with Cash and Lewis even tougher.

Autumn Adams had eight points and nine rebounds for the Broncos, while freshman Courtney Gardner had four points and five boards off the bench.