ELYRIA — Losing four games in a row is something Brunswick’s Joe Mackey isn’t used to.
The veteran Brunswick boys basketball coach felt his team needed to win Tuesday to build momentum going into the second half of the tough Greater Cleveland Conference, and the Blue Devils responded with a 58-55 come-from-behind win over Elyria.
Brunswick has now beaten Elyria five straight times.
“When you lose four straight, there’s that risk of losing everybody, guys not playing a lot, blaming this guy and coaches,” Mackey said. “It was important we stopped it as soon as we could. It doesn’t happen often in our program, but you coach long enough, you have to deal with this kind of stuff.”
Similar to the past two games — non-league losses to Olmsted Falls and Reynoldsburg — Brunswick fell behind early, but this time the Devils (7-4, 4-1) made up the difference and played a strong fourth quarter.
“Against Reynoldsburg in Columbus we were there,” Mackey said. “With two minutes to go we were down four in the game but couldn’t find a way to get over the hump. Olmsted Falls, same thing. We were down four with two minutes to go and couldn’t get over the hump.
“Here in this game, (Elyria) was winning the majority of the game. We just stuck with it, stuck with the zone (defense) and hit some timely shots, got some timely stops, hit some big free throws and just found a way to win.”
It doesn’t hurt to have a player the caliber of senior Kyle Goessler, who shook off a 0-for-5 first quarter to score 27 points. He scored 18 of those in the second quarter, when Brunswick came from an early 13-4 hole to within a point at halftime.
“Coming off four losses, really tough,” Goessler said. “It was just really important for us to bounce back. We haven’t been getting off to great starts lately. Same thing tonight. We were able to come out in that second quarter with a spark and got ourselves back in the game.”
Elyria wanted to deny Goessler from even touching the ball, but when junior Aider Carter picked up his second foul early in the second quarter, Goessler went to work, hitting 7-of-8 shots, including three 3-pointers, in the second period.
“He put us on his shoulders there in the first half,” Mackey said. “That’s what four-year starters do when the team’s struggling a little bit. Everyone’s been saying Brunswick’s struggling. When we were 6-0, we probably weren’t as good as what our record was. When we lost the last four games, we probably weren’t as bad as everybody thought we were. We lost to two great teams from Columbus and two great teams from Northeast Ohio (Olmsted Falls and Mentor).”
Brunswick still trailed 43-41 entering the final quarter, and Elyria’s Caleb Rogers sank a pair of foul shots to put his team up four, but the Blue Devils were able to get some stops and a couple key offensive rebounds. Back-to-back baskets by Goessler, including another 3-pointer, gave Brunswick a 51-48 lead with 5:02 to play.
The Blue Devils led 56-50 after a 3-pointer from Tre Massey (17 points). Trevor Mackey’s two free throws with 14.6 seconds left pushed the lead to 58-53 and Brunswick managed to maintain the lead, although Elyria (5-6, 1-4) had a last-chance shot to tie.
Brunswick 58, Elyria 55
BRUNSWICK (58): Kyle Goessler 11-1-27, Trevor Mackey 2-2-6, Josh Stacho 0-0-0, Tre Massey 5-3-17, Max Ferrell 3-0-6, Joe Hunter 1-0-2, JC Asturi 0-0-0, Jeff Buttitta 0-0-0. Totals 22-6-58.
ELYRIA (55): Aiden Carter 6-0-13, Caleb Rogers 1-4-7, Nate Collins 0-0-0, Josiah Grantham 5-0-12, Will Waddell 7-2-16, MarSaun Robinson 3-1-7, Jahkai Owens 0-0-0, Izaiah Thomas 0-0-0. Totals 22-7-55.
Brunswick 7 20 14 17 — 58
Elyria 13 15 15 12 — 55
Three-point goals: Brunswick 8-21 (Goessler 4, Massey 4), Elyria 4-13 (Grantham 2, Carter, Rogers). Field goals: Brunswick 22-47 (47 percent), Elyria 22-48 (46 percent). Free throws: Brunswick 6-9 (66 percent), Elyria 7-11 (64 percent). Rebounds: Brunswick 26 (Goessler, Ferrell, Hunter 5), Elyria 27 (Waddell 11). Turnovers: Brunswick 9, Elyria 8. Fouls: Brunswick 9, Elyria 10.
Junior varsity: Brunswick, 53-43