7 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Brown Deer's girls basketball team may have lost its season-opening contest against East Troy, 59-36, but even in relatively one-sided defeat, it was easy to see the marked improvement the Falcons have made to open the 2016-17 season.

East Troy graduated 6-2 post Katrina Santos after last year's campaign, but the bulk of the rotation returns, and yet, it was a far cry from last year's season-opener for Brown Deer, a 75-13 loss to East Troy.

"We were much more competitive in this game, and they were an improved team; their guards played a really solid game," Brown Deer coach Scott Laurent said. "I was very happy with the effort that we had in the first contest. I'm looking forward to that kind of style of play this season, and it's pretty exciting even though it was a loss for us."

Brown Deer, which won just two games last season, has adopted a full-court defense this year. The team will also benefit from some new faces. Freshmen Mattie Schimenz (13 points) and Jonisia Nash (7 points) were among the team's scoring leaders, and sophomore Michaela Drake added 10 points.

"We can have a little more of an attacking offense and defense now," Laurent said. "We have some real impact players and freshmen that will make an immediate impact. Plus I still have leadership from last year like Brianna Key and Breona Strong. We felt we closed the gap on that team quite a bit."

Strong, standing just 5-0, led the team with nine rebounds.

"We've got eight or nine kids in the rotation right now, and this (pressure defense) is new to us," Laurent said, "but to the kids' credit, they worked really hard in the offseason to prepare for this year and the change."