Brunswick's Josh Stacho shoots over Solon's Marcus Steele during the first half Friday night. Aaron Josefczyk/Gazette
SOLON — When the Fairmont State men’s basketball team shows highlights of its 2019 freshmen class, a lot of Mike Bekelja video will be used from this week.
For the second straight game, the Solon point guard went nuts. This time it came Friday at the expense of Brunswick in a 63-53 Greater Cleveland Conference game.
The senior had 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as the Comets (5-6, 3-3) caught fire in the second quarter and never let off the gas.
“It’s been a big week for him,” Solon coach Tony DeCesare said. “I think he’s coming into his own. The absence of Trent Williams is making him step his game up to another level. We’ve known he’s had it. It’s good to see it. Hopefully, it stays as we weather a couple more weeks without Trent. When he comes back, hopefully we’ve improved enough where we can make a run.”
With Williams, a Tiffin recruit, out four to six weeks because of a broken wrist, Bekelja is dominating. A coaching decision kept the 6-foot standout on the bench in the first quarter and Bekelja responded with aplomb.
It was a perfect bookend to his game Tuesday against Shaker Heights when he had 32 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 95-91 overtime loss. Against the Blue Devils (7-5, 4-2), he shot 10-for-15 and scored 20 points after the break.
“He’s just a really strong, developed player,” Brunswick point guard Kyle Goessler said. “He’s got a really nice shot, a nice right-hand drive and he’s a good finisher at the rim. He definitely stepped up tonight and made a lot of plays. That’s a big-time stat line. He’ll do well at the next level.”
On the flip side, Brunswick couldn’t do much right despite a game-high performance from Goessler, who scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half.
Down 25-24 at the break, the Blue Devils put up a clunker of a third quarter, allowing Solon to push its lead to nine points.
“Obviously on the defensive end, we’re giving up a lot of points on a lot of offensive rebounds,” Goessler said. “On the rebounding, everyone has to step up. It was a tough night shooting, but normally in our program when we don’t hit shots, we make stops and still win the game.”
The Blue Devils, who have lost five of their last six, were outrebounded 38-30 and gave up 12 offensive boards.
Brunswick shot 20-for-50, while the Comets were 26-for-58 (.448), including 15-for-24 (.625) in the second half.
“Things have to change, and if they don’t change, we have to find the right combination to get it done,” Blue Devils coach Joe Mackey said. “We have to hold ourselves accountable. I have to do it as a coach and they have to do it as players.
“We have to get it fixed. We have a lot of things in our house that are broke right now, and they need to be fixed. Unfortunately, you can’t call a repair guy when you’re in high school basketball. You’ve got to figure it out yourself with the help (of the coaching staff), and that’s what we’re going to try to do in the next couple of days.”
Brayden Hamilton stole a pass with 3.4 seconds remaining to secure a 57-55 overtime win by the Brunswick junior varsity. Marquis Bennett led the Blue Devils with 19 points.
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
Solon 63, Brunswick 53
BRUNSWICK 15 9 14 15 — 53
SOLON 13 12 19 19 — 63
Brunswick — Tre Massey 4-0-9, Max Ferrell 3-0-8, Josh Stacho 0-0-0, Trevor Mackey 3-0-8, Kyle Goessler 10-2-26, JC Asturi 0-2-2, Jeff Butttitta 0-0-0, Joe Hunter 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-4-53.
Solon — David Marbury 7-1-15, Khalil Jones 1-0-2, Nick Close 5-1-12, Chad Marks 1-0-3, Marcus Seele 1-3-5, Mike Bekelja 10-1-24, Jaelyn Etheridge 1-0-2. TOTALS: 26-6-63.
3-point goals — Goessler 4, Mackey 2, Ferrell 2, Massey, Bekelja 3, Marks, Close. Rebounds — Brunswick 30 (Massey 9), Solon 38 (Bekelja 12). Assists — Brunswick 9 (Stacho 3), Solon 18 (Bekelja 7). Records — Brunswick (7-5, 4-2), Solon (5-6, 3-3). Junior varsity — Brunswick 57, Solon 55 (OT).