STRONGSVILLE — It certainly wasn’t the way the Brunswick boys basketball team drew it up before the game Friday, but a 67-55 Greater Cleveland Conference win over Strongsville might prove to be just what the Blue Devils needed in the long run.
Brunswick (4-0, 1-0) built a 17-point lead at the start of the second half against Strongsville (0-5, 0-2), but then leading scorer Kyle Goessler got into uncharacteristic foul trouble. Goessler picked up his fourth foul with six minutes left in the third quarter and sat the rest of the period, then fouled out with 4:19 left in the game.
Seniors Trevor Mackey and Max Ferrell stepped up, though, combining to score all 15 Brunswick points after Goessler exited by going a combined 15-for-16 at the free throw line.
“After that, the other guys, I think we’re more confident,” Mackey said. “So if Kyle does go down at some point, we know we can play through and win.”
That’s the lesson coach Joe Mackey hopes his squad takes going forward. In addition to Goessler, second-leading scorer Tre Massey was in foul trouble most of the game and exited with 1:54 left.
“There was just no flow. The refs called it very tight,” Joe Mackey said. “We played most of the game without (Goessler), and in the long run that might help us, showing that we can win without him on the court most of the second half. That’s probably the least he’s played for us in the four years he’s been with us, but that’s the way it goes. We had to adjust on the fly.”
Brunswick finished with 25 turnovers in a game in which 42 fouls were called and two players from each side fouled out. Goessler started slowly, hitting just two of his first seven shots, and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. The nearly 90 percent career free throw shooter even missed two of his five attempts from the line.
But Trevor Mackey (20 points) hit three 3-pointers in the first half and Ferrell (game-high 21 points) hit three of his own to go with a 12-of-14 showing from the line.
“Those two really stepped up and made some big shots out there for us tonight,” Joe Mackey said.
With Goessler on the bench in the third quarter, the Mustangs cut a 17-point deficit to eight in the final 30 seconds, but Brunswick senior Josh Stacho hit a reverse layup at the buzzer to push the lead back to double digits.
When Goessler fouled out in the fourth, the Blue Devils led by 12, but Strongsville roared back to cut its deficit to four with 2:39 left after Timmy Ruch (team-high 16 points) hit a 3-pointer and Kevin Lawler was fouled setting a pick, hitting two free throws for the unusual five-point play.
Trevor Mackey took care of much of the ballhandling duties once Goessler fouled out, something he said was a focus of his over the summer.
“That’s one of the things I was working at in the offseason, ballhandling, getting myself open and getting my own shot, trying to find a chance to get some twos and not just threes,” the senior said. “That all came into effect tonight.”
Joe Mackey said the rivalry game left little to chance for Brunswick.
“We’re not pleased with the way we played, but it happens in a battle of rivals,” he said. “That’s probably as hard as we’ve had to work here to get a win in a while.”
Contact Chris Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brunswick 67, Strongsville 55
BRUNSWICK 13 15 14 25 — 67
STRONGSVILLE 10 6 16 23 — 55
Brunswick — Tre Massey 2-2-6, Max Ferrell 3-12-21, Joe Hunter 0-0-0, Trevor Mackey 5-7-20, Kyle Goessler 6-3-16, J.C. Asturi 0-0-0, Josh Stacho 2-0-4, Jeff Buttitta 0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-24-67.
Strongsville — Drew Lipowski 5-0-10, Timmy Ruch 5-3-16, Jalen Garner 2-1-5, Jackson Noonan 0-8-8, Kevin Lawler 3-3-9, Saaid Ahmad 1-0-2, Kevin Cendroski 0-0-0, Sami Farraj 1-1-3, Caleb Warren 1-0-2, Shane Slokar 0-0-0, Jamar Benson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-16-55.
3-point goals — Mackey 3, Ferrell 3, Goessler, Ruch 3. Rebounds — Brunswick 38 (Goessler 7), Strongsville 23 (Farraj 4). Assists — Brunswick 11 (Mackey 4), Strongsville 5 (Lipowski, Slokar 2). Records — Brunswick (4-0, 2-0), Strongsville (0-5, 0-2). Junior varsity — Brunswick 63, Strongsville 38.