SHAKER HTS. — Every Brunswick girls basketball player was focused on an individual goal Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t for any of them.
The Blue Devils were determined to present coach Halle Schmidt with her 100th career victory — and they did.
Senior small forward Gabbi Campbell scored a team-high tying eight points and junior center Anna Krizsa had a game-best 10 rebounds, powering Brunswick to a 35-29 win over Shaker Heights in Greater Cleveland Conference action.
Schmidt became the 13th coach in Medina County history to reach the milestone and the first former local girls basketball player. She is 100-83 in eight seasons at her alma mater.
“I coach the game because I obviously love it and I love being around the kids,” Schmidt said as she received congratulations courtside. “I don’t do it for personal accomplishments, so it hasn’t really sunk in yet what this means, but I’m very grateful and excited that it happened. It’s a pretty awesome feeling.”
Senior point guard Eileen Salisbury added eight points, five boards and three assists for the Blue Devils, while junior power forward Angela Fink had seven points, three assists and two steals and junior shooting guard Natalie Galaida made two 3-pointers.
The key players, though, were the most intense and determined athletes on the roster in Campbell and Krizsa. Eastern Michigan softball recruit Campbell provided a number of clutch plays, while All-Gazette honorable mention volleyball player Krizsa controlled the paint.
“No. 100 was really important to all of us because there aren’t many coaches who have accomplished it,” said Campbell, who also had two steals. “To get it on the road, the way we did, made it even better. It’s tough when we don’t hit our shots, but everyone stayed positive and played with a lot of heart to pull through.”
Heart and an abundance of grit allowed Brunswick (12-6, 8-3) to overcome a disciplined performance by the fast-improving Raiders (5-11, 3-8).
Campbell drew a foul and made two free throws with 1:02 remaining to extend the Blue Devils’ lead to 35-27, then absorbed a charge from Raiders guard Anajiah Wallace with 31 seconds left that put the win on ice.
Krizsa reached double-digits on the glass for the fourth time in her rookie campaign, but her presence was best reflected in the statistics of Shaker Heights center Darryn Zeigler, who was three inches taller and had a significantly longer wingspan.
The Raiders’ leading scorer was neutralized by Krizsa en route to a 3-of-19 shooting performance with nine points and two defensive boards.
“As soon as Coach got win 99 (against Euclid last week), we all kept saying, ‘We’ve got to get her 100,’” said Krizsa, who scored six points. “Even though the game was ugly, we needed to win it for her. It’s a great feeling seeing everyone here be so happy about it.”
Both squads appeared fatigued after attending the schools’ emotional, OT boys basketball game the previous evening that was won by Brunswick.
They combined to shoot just 26-for-92 from the field (.283), including 2-for-26 on 3-pointers (.077), and 10-for-26 from the foul line (.385). There also were 39 turnovers and 25 fouls in what could be best described as a train wreck caused by an orange ball.
“It was tough to coach and tough to watch, but games like this are good for teams to go through once in a while,” a chuckling Schmidt said. “Shaker kept us off-balance and kept slowing us down, and we threw everything defensively that we had at them.
“I was ecstatic that we won, but I told the girls I hope we don’t have another one like this soon because I don’t know if our hearts can handle it.”
Brunswick 35, Shaker Heights 29
BRUNSWICK 4 15 7 9 — 35
SHAKER HEIGHTS 9 10 3 7 — 29
Brunswick — Angela Fink 3-1-7, Gabbi Campbell 3-2-8, Maddy Grabowski 0-0-0, Natalie Galaida 2-0-6, Eileen Salisbury 3-2-8, Anna Krizsa 3-0-6, Maddy Ramicone 0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-5-35.
Shaker Heights — Darryn Zeigler 3-3-9, Morgan Singleton 3-0-6, Beijar Douggan 2-0-4, Anajiah Wallace 1-1-3, Aiysia Saunders 3-1-7, Adaeze Okoye 0-0-0, Tenia Robson 0-0-0, Belinda Birkes 0-0-0, Corrin Manning 0-0-0. TOTALS: 12-5-29.
3-point goals — Galaida 2. Rebounds — Brunswick 26 (Krizsa 10), Shaker Heights 35 (Wallace 9). Assists — Brunswick 9 (Fink, Salisbury 3), Shaker Heights 5 (Okoye 2). Records — Brunswick (12-6, 8-3), Shaker Heights (5-11, 3-8). Junior varsity — Brunswick 32, Shaker Heights 26.