BRUNSWICK — The best way to combat size in basketball is speed.
Point guard Eileen Salisbury and the rest of the Brunswick girls basketball team figured that out in the second half against archrival Medina on Wednesday, making adjustments at each end of the floor to pull away 52-40 in the Greater Cleveland Conference and regular-season finales.
The Blue Devils (6-16, 4-10) were destroyed on the glass and trailed 22-18 at halftime, but then they used trapping defense and patient, high-screen-heavy offense to combat the slower Bees (8-14, 5-9), who were without Transylvania recruit and main 3-point shooter Delaney Cullen (broken wrist).
Senior night for Olivia Andrew, Paige Billetz, Macie Tobel and Maria Payne was a rousing success.
“It was a pretty good second half,” said Salisbury, who scored 16 of her game-high 18 points over the final 24 minutes. “I liked the way we worked harder.
“We did it for our seniors. After all they’ve done for us, they deserved it. We kicked our butts in gear and got the win.”
Medina took the lead by using a big lineup of Emma Bobey (11 points, 11 rebounds), Lindsey Linard (8, 7), Amanda Holzman (8, 7), Madison Luthy (8) and Abby McMullen and outrebounded Brunswick 11-1 in the second quarter. Of the 22 first-half points, 18 were in the paint or at the foul line.
The Blue Devils came out of the locker room with a press that transitioned into a half-court trap and mixed in zone and traditional man. Brunswick also rebounded significantly better behind forward Kelsi Steinkamp (8 rebounds, 2 assists) and guard Angela Fink (4 rebounds, 3 offensive).
“In the third quarter, we weren’t trying as hard,” Luthy said.
Backup sharpshooter Natalie Galaida started the rally with two 3-pointers. Brunswick stayed patient on offense, waiting for the Bees to make a mistake on pick-and-rolls, and Salisbury caught fire.
Brunswick put the game on ice when Salisbury scored on a drive, found a wide-open Steinkamp for a layup and then hit a 3-pointer to make the score 44-34. Fink completed a three-point play — and first Blue Devils free throw attempt of the night — to push the ante to 47-34 with 3:27 to go.
Medina responded with a little 6-0 run, but that was all she wrote.
“We started to go zone (in the first half), but when we realized that wasn’t working, we’d go man,” Salisbury said. “We started to work a little harder down low and three-quarter (court) them. When we starting pressing, we felt a lot better.
“The key to a good offense is always staying patient, and we realized then we’re not patient we can throw up bad shots and make turnovers,” she continued. “We always just want to stay patient and look for a good shot or layup. Coach (Halle Schmidt) always stresses that.”
The Medina junior varsity rallied to win 31-25. Alexa Nau had 12 points, while Maddy Ramicone had eight points for the Blue Devils.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.
Brunswick 52, Medina 40
MEDINA 11 11 12 6 — 40
BRUNSWICK 11 7 19 15 — 52
Medina — Madison Luthy 3-2-8, Amanda Holzman 3-2-8, Emma Bobey 4-3-11, Anna Marie Smith 1-0-2, Katie Neate 0-3-3, Abby McMullen 0-0-0, Lindsey Linard 3-2-8, Abby Teske 0-0-0, Alexa Nau 0-0-0, Avaya Stockman-Bell 0-0-0, Payton Beech 0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-12-40.
Brunswick — Olivia Andrew 3-0-8, Macie Tobel 2-0-4, Paige Billetz 2-2-6, Maria Payne 0-0-0, Eileen Salisbury 7-3-18, Angela Fink 2-1-5, Kelsi Steinkamp 1-0-2, Natalie Galaida 3-0-9. TOTALS: 20-6-52.
3-point goals — Galaida 3, Andrew 2, Salisbury. Rebounds — Medina 33 (Bobey 11), Brunswick 21 (Steinkamp 8). Assists — Medina 7 (Holzman, Smith 2), Brunswick 12 (Salisbury 5). Records — Medina (8-14, 5-9), Brunswick (6-16, 4-10). Junior varsity — Medina 31, Brunswick 25.