BRUNSWICK — There is no shame in losing to an opponent with three future Division I college players, but Brunswick’s girls basketball team doesn’t accept moral victories anymore.
Energy level in the decisive middle quarters was what the Blue Devils looked to Wednesday, as St. Joseph Academy increased the pace and pulled away for a well-earned 60-50 non-league victory.
Brunswick (10-5) led 17-12 after one quarter but allowed a 19-7 run and never recovered against an opponent with four 6-footers in the starting lineup.
“They had a lot of energy, especially coming into the second half,” forward Angela Fink said. “We lost our energy a bit because we definitely had picked it up in the first quarter right off the bat. We were playing together as a team. Second half we lost that and let them get easy buckets.”
The game was entertaining and clean, and the Blue Devils weren’t called for their second foul until 1:54 left in the third quarter. Both teams executed well and featured multiple high-quality assists.
What the Jaguars (11-3) ultimately had was starpower.
Akron-bound forward Colleen Neitzel finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Center and younger sister Molly, who recently was offered by the Zips, was automatic from the high post against Brunswick’s 2-3 zone and contributed 17 points, four rebounds and three dimes.
Not to be outdone, guard Molly Dever had 17 points, including 13 in the middle quarters, only five days after committing to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Much-smaller Brunswick only lost the rebounding battle 34-27, but St. Joseph Academy’s 12 offensive rebounds felt like 24 because Colleen Neitzel seemed to capitalize every time.
“They have a lot of size, and they also work really well together,” Fink said.
The versatile Fink led the Blue Devils with 16 points and eight rebounds and made a lot of non-statistical things happen offensively. Ohio softball recruit Gabbi Campbell added 12 points, while All-Gazette point guard Eileen Salisbury recorded 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Brunswick trailed 34-28 at halftime and appeared to be in trouble when the Jaguars went on a 7-0 run. Blue Devils coach Halle Schmidt called timeout, challenged her team’s energy level and the players responded with a quarter-ending 12-4 run — Fink had eight points — to get to 45-40.
Unfortunately for Brunswick, the Neitzel sisters regrouped and led another quarter-starting 7-0 run that deflated any chance for a comeback.
“We can take the positive from the negative from this game,” Fink said. “We need to learn how to keep our energy up for four quarters and go into Euclid and Solon coming up with a lot of energy and not letting it die down. We need to work together the whole game.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Joseph Academy 60, Brunswick 50
ST. JOSEPH ACADEMY 12 22 11 15 — 60
BRUNSWICK 17 11 12 10 — 50
St. Joseph Academy — Colleen Neitzel 5-1-12, Kathleen DeCarlo 0-0-0, Molly Neitzel 8-1-17, Molly Dever 5-4-17, Lucy Lowe 3-0-9, Bre Coleman 0-2-2, Claudia Becker 1-0-3, Bridget Fitzgerald 0-0-0, Kayla Lenahan 0-0-0, Claire Horansky 0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-8-60.
Brunswick — Angela Fink 5-4-16, Gabbi Campbell 5-0-12, Molly Grabowski 0-0-0, Natalie Galaida 2-0-6, Eileen Salisbury 4-0-10, Anna Krizsa 2-0-4, Maddy Ramicone 0-2-2. TOTALS: 18-6-50.
3-point goals — Dever 3, Lowe 3, C. Neitzel, Becker, Fink 2, Campbell 2, Galaida 2, Salisbury 2. Rebounds — St. Joseph Academy 34 (C. Neitzel 14), Brunswick 27 (Fink 8). Assists — St. Joseph Academy 15 (C. Neitzel, M. Neitzel 4), Brunswick 11 (Salisbury 3). Records — St. Joseph Academy (11-3), Brunswick (10-5). Junior varsity — St. Joseph Academy 32, Brunswick 26.