But Brown hurt her right knee just before halftime, and she never returned.
As Brown left, so too did the Lady Eagles’ momentum.
St. Francis had an easier time dictating the second half, and the Lady Eagles were dealt a 72-49 loss at Hughes Gymnasium.
The score was tied at 23-all when Brown left the game.
“If you double that, that’s 24 points taken out of the game,” Mount Paran coach Tab Griffin said.
Mount Paran (10-3, 4-1 in Region 6A) took a 23-22 lead late in the first half, after Que Morrison scored six straight points, but St. Francis (12-1, 4-0) went on a seven-point run to end the half.
Morrison, who ended up with 21 points for Mount Paran, was double-teamed for most of the third and held to just two points in the period.
With Morrison contained, the second half started with seven straight St. Francis points, allowing the Lady Knights to go up by 14 points just 2 minutes into the second half.
Mount Paran kept fighting and eventually cut it to 10 going into the fourth, with help from Emily Spillane, who scored all eight of her points in the third quarter.
“We had to adjust some things and penetrate more (in the second half),” St. Francis coach Aisha Kennedy said. “We played their game in the first half and that didn’t work for us.”
What ended up being the back-breaker for Mount Paran was a 14-0 run St. Francis started after Brown got hurt. The 8-0 run the Lady Knights had to start the fourth quarter didn’t help either.
Morrison, though, got hot following that eight-point run and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Mount Paran get within 12. But St. Francis answered with a jumper by Nichel Tampa, and Abby Grant’s 3-pointer from the right wing on the following possession put the Lady Knights safely in front by 17.
“Early in the fourth quarter, they had that run,” Griffin said. “We learned more from these types of games than we do 30-point wins. You’ve got to play from beginning to end. We had a mental lapse and they went on a run.”
Griffin said Mount Paran’s game plan coming into the game was to contain Grant, St. Francis’ leading scorer and a Syracuse commitment. It worked in the first half, before Grant ended up scoring 10 in the second.
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 10-2 lead to start the game, opening the scoring with back-to-back 3-pointers by Morrison and Brown. St. Francis, however, managed to fight back by attacking the basket.
The score was tied at 14-all at the end of the first, and St. Francis built a 20-16 lead early in the second before the Lady Eagles started denying points, forcing the Lady Knights to shoot 3s.
St. Francis was 0-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first half.
St. Francis 73, Mount Paran Christian 41: Zach Strong had 13 points and Emoni Williams had seven, but it wasn’t enough in a Region 6A game against a bigger St. Francis team.
The Knights dominated the boards against the Eagles (3-9, 1-5 Region 6A) throughout the game and outscored them 29-13 in the second half to take a 45-21 halftime lead.