BRUNSWICK — One blink is all the Solon boys basketball team needs to pile up points in a hurry.
Brunswick overcame turnover struggles to give the No. 2 team in the Division I state poll all it could handle for three quarters Monday by controlling pace and shooting at a very high percentage.
The start of the fourth was critical, however, and the fantastic backcourt of Sincere Carry and Trent Williams took over to give the Comets a clutch 75-61 victory that puts them two games ahead in the Greater Cleveland Conference with four to play.
The West Liberty State-bound Carry and sweet-shooting Williams combined for 21 of their 53 points as Solon (16-0, 10-0) won the fourth quarter 25-14, making the Feb. 16 rematch a lot less meaningful unless the Blue Devils beat Mentor and Elyria and the Comets are upset by Medina or Shaker Heights.
“Their guys stepped up there at the end and made winning plays,” Brunswick shooting guard Kyle Goessler said. “They scored a lot in the fourth quarter (25 points) and took the lead there and we couldn’t really recover.
“You can’t really scout teams like that because all of their guys are really explosive. They can shoot it with all-around great players. They’ve got college players on that team, and it’s tough to prepare for a team that can spread the floor and get up in you on defense. It’s tough.”
The Blue Devils (15-3, 8-2), who had their home winning streak snapped at 12 games, got 22 points, seven rebounds and two assists from Goessler and 19, four and three from point guard Nick Felician. They were 17-for-25 (.680) from the floor through three quarters while sticking to their patient, set-heavy philosophy that often leads to open layups or 3-pointers.
A 1-for-6 spell to begin the fourth was the difference as Solon, which had taken off its man press by that point, ignited its transition offense for a 9-2 run that helped the Comets reach 70 points for the 21st consecutive regular-season game.
Williams was the catalyst with 15 points, including three corner 3-pointers, and two steals in the period. Carry added a bucket, two boards, two assists and 4-of-4 free throws for eight points, making the duo 7-for-7 from the floor and 6-for-6 at the stripe with the game at stake.
“We played well, but we didn’t finish the game well,” Felician said. “The fourth quarter was terrible for us.
“We need to watch film and make sure we fix our mistakes for Friday against Mentor (11-5, 5-5) because they’re a tough team that’s playing well.”
Brunswick couldn’t take care of the ball early, committing 12 first-half turnovers just three days after recording one all game vs. Medina. That normally is a death sentence against Solon, which is averaging 87.7 points, but the Blue Devils did a good job hustling back and setting up their half-court defense.
With Brunswick forced to play man because of the Comets’ shooting abilities, no one could guard Carry, who got a step on his defender whenever he wanted and had 10 points and five assists in the first half.
Brunswick countered by limiting Williams to eight points and 17-point scorer Mike Bekelja to zero while also keeping an eye on power forward David Marbury (8 points, 6 rebounds), who had eight 3-pointers in a 94-66 win at Elyria on Jan. 26.
Felician and power forward Alex Wyatt (11 points) were the stalwarts, combining for 19 points in the half as the Blue Devils forged a 27-27 tie.
Goessler then came alive, scoring 10 points to complement Felician’s six and help Brunswick keep pace in a high-scoring third quarter that ended with Solon ahead 50-47.
Game flow got away from Brunswick in the fourth, however, as Williams pushed the Solon 3-point season total to 215, which is well on pace to break Mentor’s 2012-13 state record of 329 assuming the Comets make a decent tournament run.
The Blue Devils needed to play very well for all 32 minutes, but couldn’t quite seal the deal.
“They threw a big punch there at the end,” Goessler said. “We couldn’t really sustain it.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solon 75, Brunswick 61
SOLON 15 12 23 25 — 75
BRUNSWICK 13 14 20 14 — 61
Solon — Mike Bekelja 1-0-2, David Marbury 3-1-8, Nick Close 2-2-7, Trent Williams 9-4-27, Sincere Carry 8-6-26, Brandon Brown 1-1-3, Ryan Bergen 1-0-2, Khalil Jones 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-14-75.
Brunswick — Xavier Diaz 0-0-0, Alex Wyatt 5-0-11, Zak Zografos 2-1-5, Kyle Goessler 8-2-22, Nick Felician 6-6-19, Danny Dakdouk 2-0-4. TOTALS: 23-9-61.
3-point goals — Williams 5, Carry 4, Close, Marbury, Goessler 4, Felician, Wyatt. Rebounds — Solon 22 (Marbury 6), Brunswick 20 (Goessler 7). Assists — Solon 15 (Carry 8), Brunswick 9 (Felician 3). Records — Solon (16-0, 10-0), Brunswick (15-3, 8-2). Junior varsity — Solon 62, Brunswick 59.