NORTH CANTON — Determined to improve on its last showing in a showcase atmosphere Saturday, the Brunswick boys basketball team blitzed host North Canton Hoover 71-45 at the 14th Annual Mercy Medical Center Classic.
“This was a big game for us coming out to a showcase event,” junior shooting guard Kyle Goessler said. “Coach (Joe Mackey) really preached to us to get off to a fast start, and today we were able to pressure them, get a few turnovers and get off to that fast start.”
The Vikings (3-6) won the opening jump ball, but an attacking Blue Devil defense forced a quick turnover that turned into a 3-pointer from senior center Zak Zografos. Brunswick forced another turnover and Zografos hit from behind the arc again to give the Blue Devils (9-2) a 6-0 lead.
The shots ignited an 18-2 run in which Zografos, Goessler, senior Alex Wyatt and senior Nick Felician scored.
Hoover’s first score came from junior Michael Robinson off the bench with 5:31 left in the first quarter. A Viking starter didn’t score until senior Nick Bunnenberg hit a 3-pointer with two minutes left in the opening period to make the score 18-7.
“The last showcase we played in, we got off to a real slow start at BW (Baldwin Wallace University),” Mackey said. “We talked about coming out and being the aggressors from the opening tip, and I thought we did that.”
The Blue Devils’ 23-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter flipped what happened the previous weekend at the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic, in which Cleveland Central Catholic outscored Brunswick 16-8 in the first quarter to hand the Blue Devils a 56-52 defeat.
Brunswick opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run to take a commanding 34-11 lead. After being fouled just before the buzzer, Felician split a pair of free throws to give his team a 39-19 advantage at intermission.
In the second half, Brunswick never let Hoover within 20 points.
“I thought our press really set the tone for the game, allowed us to not only turn them over, but get some easy baskets off those turnovers,” Mackey said.
Goessler led four Blue Devils in double digits with 15 points to be named the Pro Football Hall of Fame Player of the Game for Brunswick. Zografos scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, while Wyatt and Felecian tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“This is our third event like this,” Goessler said. “It helps us get ready, prepare for a good opponent in a good environment.”
Contact John Urchek at firstname.lastname@example.org.