Brookfield pulls another stunner
HUBBARD - Good things seem to come in threes for the Brookfield High boys basketball team.
In the Division III sectional tournament at Hubbard High School, the Warriors have eked out a pair of victories by a combined three points. On Monday, Brookfield defeated Garfield 48-46; on Wednesday, the Warriors upset second-seeded Campbell 55-54.
The Warriors are led by senior captain Sam King -- who wears the number 3 -- and have placed three players in double figures in each of the last two games. It was King's three baskets in the fourth quarter, including a deep 3-pointer with just over two minutes to play, that paved the way for the Warriors' victory.
Brookfield (12-10) will play for its third tournament victory when it takes on Trumbull Athletic Conference rival Champion at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Warriors defeated the Golden Flashes twice during the regular season. Champion advanced with a 73-70 overtime victory over Newton Falls in the opening game Wednesday.
The Red Devils (13-7) jumped out to an 18-8 first-quarter lead, which ballooned to 25-13 when junior Trey Soares stole the ball at midcourt and scored on a layup with 6:18 remaining in the half. But the Warriors picked it up defensively, forcing four turnovers -- including two offensive fouls -- and holding the Devils to just 2-of-6 from the field to pull within 30-29 at the half.
Junior guard Ryan Logan scored seven of his team-high 19 points during the Warriors' run, including a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining that narrowed the gap to one. Senior Keith Flynn also netted seven points during the 16-5 run.
"We made some adjustments and we made some shots," said Brookfield coach Chris Fahndrich. "Ryan Logan played really well for us. Our defense got better. Ricky Henson played against who we felt was the best player [Teyon Harris] on their team and held him to five points. We knew we had to attack their zone. And we had some guys that took it in there."
The Red Devils held a considerable height advantage, but it did not seem to bother the Warriors, who took it right to the defense, scoring 15 of their 24 field goals from inside the paint.
"We knew they were really athletic so we knew we had to box them out, stay in front of them on defense and take good shots," said King, who finished with 13 points. "We had to play as a team. We knew we had to take the ball to the hoop, because we knew weren't going to win from the outside. We played great as a team. This was a total team effort."
Cory Richards added 10 points and Flynn finished with nine for Brookfield.
Campbell defeated the Warriors 52-33 during the regular season, a loss that Fahndrich said motivated his team.
"They [Warriors] were hurt from the first time we played them," he said. "We didn't play well over there. It affected them, but they knew they had to come out and play better tonight. They were focused and everyone contributed."
Red Devils coach Brian Danilov was disappointed in his team's performance late in the game, especially at the free throw line where they only made 7-of-13 for the game. The most painful of the misses came when senior Louie Samonis missed the front end of a one-and-one with the Devils trailing 55-54 with 1:22 to play.
"They [Warriors] executed well and we played poorly on defense," said Danilov. "We gave up too many drives and our foul shooting killed us. You can't win close games shooting about 50 percent from the foul line. And down the stretch we didn't execute like we should have. We had too many inconsistencies and they did a nice job of sharing the ball and had some people step up."
Champion 73, Newton Falls 70, OT
Champion (8-14) erased an 11-point deficit with just over six minutes to play to force overtime.
The Flashes led by as many as five points in the extra period, hitting 7-of-10 free throws. A 3-pointer by Newton Falls junior Mike Pelyak with four seconds remaining pulled the Tigers within 72-70, but a shot from half court by Pelyak caromed off the backboard as time expired.
Junior Mark Jackson paced the Flashes with 21 points, while Tyler Kish and Jake Gross added 19 and 18, respectively.