ELYRIA — Call it symmetry. Call it a sixth sense. Call it a brotherhood.
Whatever it is, Kyle Goessler and Nick Felician have it.
Again the Brunswick basketball team found itself in a tight game and again the senior guards found a way to lift the Blue Devils.
This time it came in a gritty 67-61 Greater Cleveland Conference win over Elyria on Tuesday, when every possession down the stretch was huge.
“They’re just really good, that’s the bottom line,” Brunswick coach Joe Mackey said. “They’re two all-conference guards. They make plays from the opening tip right to the end. You kind of expect that of Kyle. He’s been playing since he was a freshman, but everybody talks about soccer when they talk about Felician.
“I try to tell everybody if you take him off our team, there’s no way we have 16 wins. He’s so valuable. Kyle might be our best basketball player, but Nick might be the most valuable player to our team. He makes us go. He makes winning plays.”
Against the Pioneers (10-10, 4-8), the guards did it all to hold off a very pesky squad that wouldn’t go away.
Goessler was 6-for-11 for a team-high 18 points and added three assists. Felician went 7-for-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line for 16 points and had a game-high five assists and five steals.
While the tandem had help from Danny Dakdouk (14 points) and Zak Zografos (10), every time things got tight, the guards found a way to keep the Blue Devils (16-4, 9-3) above water.
“They run their stuff from freshman, JV to varsity,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “They know their roles. They don’t make many mistakes.
“It’s very hard to turn them over. Joe’s systems are always in pattern. They’re very solid defensively. They’re very good basketball players. You have to take them out of their pattern. We took them out of some of their sets, but what makes them good is they limit their mistakes.”
The Blue Devils only had four turnovers and seemed to come up with the big play every time things got close.
With two regular-season games left and Solon wrapping up the league title with a 90-80 victory over Shaker Heights, the Blue Devils needed this one. They were on a two-game losing streak (Solon, Mentor) and looking for something to right the ship.
“In crunch time, we’ve come up plenty of times,” Felician said. “We’re hungry for it. We just want to win.”
Elyria, which lost by 25 to Brunswick a little over a month ago, had it down to a two-point game with 26.1 seconds remaining, but a pair of free throws by Alex Wyatt and two more by Dakdouk closed things out.
In games decided by six points or less, the Blue Devils are 4-1, with their loss coming to Cleveland Central Catholic (Jan. 7, 56-52).
“That’s a huge game for us there after coming off two losses with a big game against Solon on Friday,” Goessler said. “We had to get back on the winning track. It was good for our confidence.”
The Elyria junior varsity recorded a 51-44 win. Max Ferrell’s 16 points paced Brunswick
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
Brunswick 67, Elyria 61
BRUNSWICK (67): Xavier Diaz 2-0-4, Alex Wyatt 0-2-2, Zak Zografos 4-0-10, Kyle Goessler 6-2-18, Nick Felician 7-2-16, Danny Dakdouk 4-4-14, Jason Becka 0-0-0, Trevor Mackey 1-0-3. Totals 24-10-67.
ELYRIA (61): William Waddell, 5-0-10 Deviian Williams 9-3-22, Justin Koepp 3-0-6, Romen Carter 3-2-11, MarSaun Robinson 2-1-5, Caleb Rogers 1-0-3, Josiah Grantha 1-0-2, Josh Ball 0-0-0, Scott Ethington 0-0-0, Phillip Byrd 1-0-2. Totals 25-6-61.
Brunswick 20 17 14 16 — 67
Elyria 18 13 15 15 — 61
Three-point goals: Brunswick (Goessler 4, Dakdouk 2, Zografos 2, Mackey), Elyria (Carter 3, Rogers, Williams). Rebounds: Brunswick 16 (Zografos 4), Elyria 27 (Williams 8). Assists: Brunswick 16 (Felician 5, Wyatt 5), Elyria 14 (Waddell 4, Koepp 4).