By Steve Wilaj
How do you describe a defense that holds its opponent to 20 points on 17-percent shooting for an entire game?
Well, having witnessed his defense do just that to Newton Falls in a 56-20 victory on Tuesday, Brookfield coach Bill Kovach knew exactly how to describe it.
“Just smothering,” he said.
The Warriors limited the Tigers (3-6) to just six field goals in four quarters, holding Newton Falls scoreless in the second quarter.
“The defenders that we had on them matched them in speed, and we were a little bigger,” Kovach said. “I think our size really showed tonight against a smaller team.”
Brookfield (7-1) knew how to attack Newton Falls, Warriors forward Jeremy Quinlan said, and executed the game plan to perfection.
“They like to dribble-drive, so we needed to stop the dribble-drive,” he said. “They look for 3-point shooters and we needed to get a hand up. Then when they shoot the ball, we had to rebound, and we did.”
As a result, Brookfield outrebounded the Tigers 34-17. Newton Falls coach Roy Sembach acknowledged it was an off-night for his team, but also gave credit where it was due.
“They just took it to us,” Sembach said. “We ran into a much better team tonight and they did a much better job in all aspects of the game.
“Their defense is really good, but even against really good defenses you’re going to get some shots and you have to make some. We didn’t, and we had to make some to stay in the game.”
While the Tigers had trouble scoring, so did Brookfield, at least early. Leading 12-6 after one quarter, the Warriors’ offense eventually received a boost from Quinlan to take a 23-6 halftime advantage.
“He missed a few early, but I told him to keep shooting,” Kovach said of Quinlan, who finished with a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds. “He’s a gamer. I was more impressed with his rebounding tonight. He looked like a man among boys.”
Collin Harkulich added 10 points and eight rebounds for Brookfield, while Jimmy Quinlan grabbed nine rebounds.
Dale Kernen led Newton Falls with seven points and seven rebounds.
“This was the first game we haven’t been in late in the fourth quarter,” Sembach said. “Obviously we didn’t play our greatest game, but had we played a lot better, I don’t think the outcome was gonna be a lot different.”