Brunswick's Kyle Goessler (1) drives to the basket as he is defended by Medina's Kyle Szumski (1) in the first half of Friday's game at Brunswick High School. (NICK CAMMETT/GAZETTE)
BRUNSWICK — The average NBA fan sometimes doesn’t realize the game isn’t about expansive X’s and O’s. Individual matchups reign supreme at both ends of the court, and there’s no point in getting cute.
The Brunswick and Medina boys basketball teams had scouted each other so well Friday night play calls almost never worked. The Medina County rivalry game quickly turned into a mano-a-mano chess match of which team could take advantage of the other’s personnel more effectively.
Talent won out, as shooting guard Kyle Goessler, center Zak Zografos and point guard Nick Felician took turns dominating a free-flowing 61-51 Blue Devils victory that kept them one game behind state-ranked Solon (15-0, 9-0) in the Greater Cleveland Conference, setting up a ginormous showdown between the schools Monday.
Brunswick played so cleanly it committed one turnover, which is generally considered nearly impossible.
“It was fun to play in a rivalry game,” Zografos said. “They showed up, and it was a good one.”
Zografos (18 points), Goessler (17, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) and Felician (15, 3, 3) combined for 50 points on a night when the teams combined to shoot 44-for-68 (.647) from inside the 3-point arc. Mid-range jumpers and backdoor cuts for layups were the biggest themes, with Goessler (17 points) showing off a deadly pull-up on five of his seven field goals.
As usual, the Brunswick game plan was identifying the favorable matchup. If 6-foot-7 Tyler Kaminski wasn’t guarding Zografos, the ball went inside. If Goessler was face-guarded, he moved to point guard and created off the dribble or a high screen. When the Blue Devils (15-2, 8-1) needed to spread the floor while protecting a single-digit lead, Felician went berserk and posted eight points, two rebounds, two assists and two charges taken in the fourth quarter.
Another subtle adjustment was switching was man to a matchup 2-3 zone after Medina (5-12, 1-9) did an outstanding job of creating efficient offense in the first half.
“We struggled there on defense, but that’s a really good team with a really good coach,” Goessler said. “They’ve struggled a bit this year, but they have some good players. We have some good players, too. In a rivalry game, anything can happen. We played a good one.”
The first 2:48 featured the first eight shots connecting. The Bees, who were 9-for-11 yet trailed 20-19 early in the second quarter, eventually took a 27-24 lead on a putback by Kaminski (12 points) that made them 12-for-18 with 4:08 remaining in the half.
Goessler settled in from there, sparking a 9-0 run that gave Brunswick a 33-27 lead at halftime. The Blue Devils then scored four quick points to open the third quarter and simply managed the lead while shooting 9-for-19 with zero turnovers the rest of the night.
The ending was anticlimactic because Medina barely scored over the final minutes. The Bees still had plenty of notable performances from guard Colin Szumski (12 points) and freshman backup Corey Tripp (4, 4 rebounds), who played three quarters in the junior varsity game.
“It shows you how they keep competing, and that’s what I love about this group,” Bees coach Chris Hassinger said. “A lot of people say, ‘Why don’t you start playing for next year?’ But why? We have winners in this program, and it showed by how they competed in this game.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brunswick 61, Medina 51
MEDINA 17 10 15 9 — 51
BRUNSWICK 20 13 14 14 — 61
Medina — Tay Gauthier 1-2-4, Dylan Fultz 3-0-6, Tyler Kaminski 5-2-12, Kyle Szumski 4-0-8, Colin Szumski 5-2-12, Drew Hassinger 2-0-5, Dillon Friedrick 0-0-0, Daniel Terrion 0-0-0, Dylan O’Dear 0-0-0, Corey Tripp 2-0-4, Brandon Geschke 0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-6-51.
Brunswick — Xavier Diaz 0-0-0, Alex Wyatt 4-1-9, Zak Zografos 8-1-18, Kyle Goessler 7-3-17, Nick Felician 5-4-15, Danny Dakdouk 1-0-2. TOTALS: 25-9-61.
3-point goals — Hassinger, Zografos, Felician. Rebounds — Medina 24 (K. Szumski 5), Brunswick 16 (Goessler 4). Assists — Medina 9 (Fultz, C. Szumski, Hassinger 2), Brunswick 10 (Felician, Goessler, Wyatt 3). Records — Medina (5-12, 1-9), Brunswick (15-2, 8-1). Junior varsity — Medina 57, Brunswick 48.