BRUNSWICK — Brunswick boys basketball coach Joe Mackey was looking for a spark Friday to push his Blue Devils into the postseason.
The veteran coach got exactly that as Brunswick put together arguably its most complete game to close the regular season with a 71-54 Greater Cleveland Conference win over Euclid.
Losers of three of their last four, the Blue Devils (17-5, 10-4) needed a push before opening Strongsville Division I Sectional play against Medina or Normandy next Saturday.
What they did was thoroughly dismantle a Panthers team that was fully capable of ruining senior night.
“We really needed it against a quality opponent,” Mackey said. “Obviously, it’s great to win on senior night. That helps, but it was a good game on both ends. We haven’t been as sharp as I would have liked to close out the season, so this was a really big game for us. We needed it heading into next week.”
Brunswick hit the Panthers early and often, passed the ball incredibly, didn’t turn it over — the Blue Devils only had 10 gaffes — and locked down on defense.
“That was a good game heading into the postseason for sure, especially heading into the postseason against a good Euclid team,” Brunswick guard Nick Felician said. “They’re coming off a couple good wins. It got our momentum going for the postseason.”
Momentum wasn’t a problem against the Panthers (10-11, 6-8) as Brunswick blitzed Euclid for 10 3-pointers. Six of those treys came in the first quarter to push the Blue Devils out to a 24-12 lead.
“We’re not like the teams I have coached before where we shoot 30 to 35 threes a game,” Mackey said. “But we’re more than capable of knocking them down.”
The points came from Kyle Goessler (25), Zak Zografos (17), Danny Dakdouk (10) and Felician (8), but what stood out more than anything was the ability to find the open man.
Of the 29 buckets the Blue Devils made, 24 came off an assist as Felician (8), Goessler (7) and Zografos (5) spread the wealth.
“It helps boost our confidence a lot,” Zografos said. “We feel a lot better because we had been struggling coming in.”
Facing a team that boasted eight players 6-foot-2 or taller, the Blue Devils crashed the glass and held a 24-19 edge on the boards. Zografos led Brunswick with seven rebounds.
The Panthers only had 23 points at halftime and shot 17-for-48 (.354) for the night.
“We’re sending off seven seniors,” Goessler said. “It was nice to send them off with some nice memories in their last regular-season game for us. We’ve gotten off to slow starts in the past couple games, but today we were really focused. The balls were going in the baskets. We were getting stops and we were able to sustain it.”
The Euclid junior varsity took home a 49-35 win. Max Ferrell led the Blue Devils with seven points.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brunswick 71, Euclid 54
EUCLID 12 11 15 16 — 54
BRUNSWICK 24 14 15 18 — 71
Euclid — William Saunders 2-0-6, Latrayl Alexander-Davis 3-1-10, Mario Lacy 2-0-4, Garvin Clarke 1-0-3, Reginald Priah 2-4-8, Emari Baddour 4-5-13, Linel Mills 1-0-2, Max White 0-0-0, Deontae Davis 0-0-0, Travis Sanders 2-2-8. TOTALS: 17-12-54.
Brunswick — Xavier Diaz 2-1-5, Alex Wyatt 1-0-3, Zak Zografos 6-1-17, Kyle Goessler 10-1-25, Nick Felician 4-0-8, Danny Dakdouk 5-0-10, Trevor Mackey 0-0-0, Jason Becka 1-0-3, Walter Rivera 0-0-0, Josh Stacho 0-0-0, Max Farrell 0-0-0, Joe Hunter 0-0-0, Ryan Utrup 0-0-0. TOTALS: 29-3-71.
3-point goals — Zografos 4, Goessler 4, Becka, Wyatt, Alexander-Davis 3, Saunders 2, Sanders 2, Clarke, Rebounds — Euclid 19 (Clarke 4), Brunswick 24 (Zografos 7). Assists — Euclid 13 (Saunders 3, Clarke 3), Brunswick 24 (Felician 8). Records —Brunswick (17-5, 10-4), Euclid (10-11, 6-8). Juniorvarsity — Euclid 49, Brunswick 35.