Brune scores 29 points to propel Saxony to seventh straight Class 3 quarterfinal
DEXTER - Any time Doniphan got some momentum, Emma Brune took it away.
Saxony Lutheran's 1,800-point scorer finished with 29 points as the Crusaders won 63-43 in the MSHSAA Class 3 sectional Wednesday in Dexter.
"She's a playmaker. We needed her tonight especially. We struggled," Saxony coach Sam Sides said. "We were kind of hot and cold shooting 3s. We made a few there to get separation, but then we couldn't make anything."
Brune rattled off eight straight points in a minute in the first quarter, including three steals for layups. When Doniphan opened the second half with an 8-1, cutting Saxony's halftime lead from 15 to eight, Brune was there with five quick points.
Doniphan scored eight points in the first two minutes of the second half and seven points in the next six.
"I still think we were good enough to win the game, but we didn't do the little things enough to do that. I'm super proud of them. They are district champs and nobody can ever take that away from them," Doniphan coach Adam Epps said.
Saxony advances to face Licking (23-6), which beat Steelville 51-45, in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Saturday in Farmington.
The Crusaders, competing in their seventh straight quarterfinal, lost to Licking by eight points in the same game last year.
"Starting the year out, I wouldn't have given us hardly any chance or no chance. But we've gotten a little bit better, more competitive as the year went on, we've gotten a little bit stronger, we've gelled together as a team and we've just improved so much since the beginning," Sides said.
Alice Hogendobler made three 3-pointers in the first quarter for Saxony (18-11) and got 11 points. Olivia Spanley finished with nine points for Saxony, all in the second half, after picking up her second foul less than 5 minutes into the game and spending the rest of the first half on the bench.
"We count on her so much. She got some there some late in the game, but we need her to put a whole game together," Sides said of Spanley. "We need her to really help us on the board because she is the only size we've really got."
Brune's eight straight points in the first quarter were part of a 9-1 run by the Crusaders, putting them ahead by nine points.
Timberly Turner got a third-try putback for Donettes with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter for their first field goal in more than 3 minutes.
Hogendobler followed with back-to-back 3s to take a 13-point lead, but Saxony only got one field goal over the next 6 minutes as Doniphan cut the lead to four points.
The Donettes (22-8), down 10 with 5 minutes left in the half, got the ball to Emily Ederer, who led the team with 16 points, on the block for two then Ederer caught the ball on the high post and passed out of a double team to Turner, who was fouled and made both free throws.
Olivia Creutz scored on the next possession to get Doniphan within four points.
Brune putback and an air-balled 3, then Saxony got a 3 and Brune scored again to put the Crusaders back up by 11 with 90 seconds left.
"I thought Doniphan really hit the boards extremely hard, really played harder than we did, but their shots weren't falling so that helped us," Sides said.
Brune and Emma Dunning added baskets in the final minute to put Saxony ahead 34-19 at the break.
Jaylin Dutton and Ady Jones had back-to-back 3s early in the third quarter. On Saxony's next possession, Ederer poked away a pass, Dutton picked it up and eventually found a hustling Ederer to finish the fast break, cutting the lead to eight points and causing a Crusader timeout.
"We were able to get some traps and get the ball away from (Brune). We were able to get some of those other ones who weren't real comfortable handling it into pressure situations and then we started making some of our shots," Epps said. "Then they put (Brune) in the middle of the press breaker, and when she was in the middle they were either scoring or they were getting fouled every single time."
The Donettes trapped to start the third quarter and kept Saxony from scoring a field goal for nearly 3 minutes, but then the Crusaders rattled off seven straight points, including five from Brune, to rebuild their halftime lead of 15 points.
"First of, she's just talented as heck, and the second thing, she works harder than any player we've played against all year long," Epps said of Brune. "We just couldn't handle her tonight. I hate saying that because we are a defensive team, but we didn't have an answer for her tonight."
Doniphan never got within single digits again and the Crusaders led by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter.
Doniphan will lose three seniors in Ederer, Dutton and Jones, who finished their high school careers with back-to-back 20-win seasons.
The group helped the Donettes rally from 22 points down to win the program's first district championship since the 2007-08 season.
"They are our leaders. They are the heart and soul of our team. Emily Ederer, we are going to miss her a bunch," Epps said. "She is going to be hard to replace. Everybody had to kind of plan around her this year and she had to play through that. In my book, she is an All-Stater.
"Ady Jones and Jaylin Dutton are both leaders. Ady had to guard the toughest player on the floor every night and then is also expected to still have the legs to knock down open shots, and she did that most times. Jaylin is expected to help us handle the basketball, our best passer and one of the best leaders I've ever been around. We've got some big holes to fill.
"We've got some younger ones who are coming, but my heart is going out to our seniors. It is always tough playing that last game, taking that jersey off for the last time, but we are going to miss them and I love them to death. They are going to go out and very successful individuals. High character girls right there."