MEDINA — For the better part of a quarter, it appeared the Abby McMullen-less Medina girls basketball team had left its elite defense in Florida.
Once the Bees got over the jet lag, however, Angela Fink-less Brunswick was powerless to score.
Forcing desperation 3-pointer after desperation 3-pointer once the scoring margin reached double digits, Medina overcame a brick-filled night of its own to pull away 48-25 in a Greater Cleveland Conference game that was still within doubt at halftime.
The first-place Bees (13-0, 6-0) are allowing 34.1 points per game — on pace to be the second-lowest figure in school history (33.2, 1979-80) — after holding the Blue Devils (7-6, 4-3) to two points on 1-for-20 shooting over the first 15:23 of the second half.
“I asked them to recommit to defense and rebounding,” said Medina coach Karen Kase, whose team only led 25-18 at halftime. “Those need to be our strengths. Brunswick did get going. They were probably going on adrenaline without Fink — we’d rather play them when she’s healthy — but it took shutdown defense after those first few minutes.”
The rivalry game had good tempo and intensity with only 21 turnovers, but the teams made only 26-of-94 field goals (.277), 7-of-18 free throws (.389) and 14-of-57 3-pointers (.245). Medina played man and hedged every high screen expertly, while Brunswick parked in a basic 2-3 zone that pinched down when 6-foot-3 Lindsey Linard touched the ball in the post.
Fearless sophomore gunner Elizabeth Stuart overcame a 2-for-8 first half and ultimately busted the Blue Devils’ zone with career-high 17 points. Linard had 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks — Linard and Stuart combined for 14 points in the fourth quarter — while Madison Luthy added eight points.
The unsung hero, however, was guard Aly Dwyer, who got the start in place of McMullen (illness). The sophomore was a defensive dynamo in finishing with two points, seven rebounds, four assists and three crowd-pleasing blocks while committing only one turnover in big minutes.
“It was a slow start and Brunswick won the scoreboard for the first few minutes, but we just kind of took over,” Dwyer said. “We knew it was going to be tough. It’s always hard because Brunswick is rivalry game, so we had to just go out and play our game.
“We really didn’t make any adjustments, and we had (McMullen) out because she was sick. We had to play to the best of our abilities.”
Brunswick, which likely will be without limping Lake Erie recruit Fink (ankle) for a home game Wednesday against Elyria (2-9, 1-6), moved 3-point specialist Natalie Galaida to point guard and gave Jordyn Wickes her first career start. The Blue Devils made their final two shots in the final 37 seconds to finish 9-for-47 (.191).
Forward Maddie Ramicone was the top player by a wide margin with seven points and 11 rebounds, including three of the team’s five on the offensive end. Kelsie Gaiser added six points, Sammy Grabowski had five of the team’s seven in the second half and Galaida finished with three on 1-for-15 shooting.
Brunswick led 11-5 and executed well in the opening minutes as Medina struggled to defend. The Blue Devils were outscored 43-20 the rest of the way as seemingly every play call was snuffed out.
“I thought we came out and respected the rivalry, but that’s a very good team,” first-year Blue Devils coach Anthony Ocacio said. “I just got done telling the girls, ‘You’ve got to take advantage of the things they give you,’ and I thought we had a lot of open looks. The difference between the two teams was when they had open looks, they put the ball in the basket.”
Medina 48, Brunswick 25
BRUNSWICK 11 7 2 5 — 25
MEDINA 11 14 6 17 — 48
Brunswick — Kelsie Gaiser 2-0-6, Maddy Ramicone 2-1-7, Anna Krizsa 1-0-2, Jordyn Wickes 0-0-0, Natalie Galaida 1-0-3, Sammy Grabowski 2-0-5, Haley Fink 1-0-2, Morgan Novicky 0-0-0, Courtney Goessler 0-0-0, Ally McClelland 0-0-0. TOTALS: 9-1-25.
Medina — Madison Luthy 3-0-8, Sarah McKee 2-0-5, Lindsey Linard 6-2-14, Alysen Dwyer 1-0-2, Alexa Nau 0-0-0, Elizabeth Stuart 5-2-17, Katie Neate 0-0-0, Rowan McDonald 0-1-1, Hailey Seguin 0-1-1, Haley Letner 0-0-0, Erin Wojciak 0-0-0, Mia Buzzelli 0-0-0, Olivia Bowser 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-6-48.
3-point goals — Gaiser 2, Ramicone 2, Galaida, Grabowski, Stuart 5, Luthy 2, McKee. Rebounds — Brunswick 32 (Ramicone 11), Medina 45 (Linard 13). Assists — Brunswick 5 (Galaida, Wickes 2), Medina 11 (Dwyer 4). Records — Brunswick (7-6, 4-3), Medina (13-0, 7-0). Junior varsity — Medina 42, Brunswick 15.