By Matthew Peaslee
On Feb. 29, 2012, Berkshire’s Tim Ludlow drained a last-second jumper to down Brookfield in the Division III district semifinal at Howland High.
A full year later, it still haunts Jeremy Quinlan.
“I wanted to get into him this time,” Quinlan said, “and make sure he felt it the whole game.”
The Warriors limited the 6-foot-4 Badger senior to 11 points and Quinlan created six steals in Brookfield’s 57-29 win over the two-time defending district champs in a sectional final.
“This was especially good for our seniors,” Warriors coach Bill Kovach said. “They wanted revenge on them.
“We’re real happy with our defense. Every shot he took was challenged. Everything we did was geared to stop Ludlow.”
Ursuline beat Pymatuning Valley, 68-54, in Friday night’s second game,
“That’s all that matters,” said Irish coach Keith Gunther. “It wasn’t pretty.”
Brookfield and Ursuline will meet in a district semifinal on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“Ursuline has a deep bench and they’re very physical,” Kovach said.
Kevin Jackson scored the first six Irish points and grabbed 12 of their 32 rebounds. The senior finished with 14 points as fellow big man Khallid Pierce scored seven points with 10 rebounds.
“I think Key and I were the X-factors out there,” Jackson said. “Coach told me I could keep the ball down low a lot because we had a size advantage on them.”
But it was that discrepancy that scared Gunther.
“Our kids looked at their kids with our size and athleticism and took them lightly,” said the 10-year head-coaching veteran.
Ursuline held a double-digit lead most of the way but a Quintin Ratliff runner got the Lakers (17-5) within five points at 51-46 with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
A few possessions later, Chris Gunther drained a 3-pointer to put the Irish back up by at least 10 for the remainder.
“He had a huge 3-pointer,” Keith Gunther said. “It brought our lead back up when we were getting down. Ryan [Strollo] and Des [McElroy] hit big shots, too.”
McElroy scored a game-high 21 points and Strollo added 17. They each hit three 3-pointers.
“We played harder than them when we needed to,” McElroy said.
Urusline (10-11) went to the foul line 24 times, compared to just six by PV.
“We had to play almost perfect just to be around at the end of the game,” Lakers coach Ryan Fitch said. “We were soft around the rim. We were playing a little too weak. If you don’t attack the rim, you’re not going to get fouls called.”
A 13-0 run in the first quarter sparked the Warriors (19-4). With a 30-14 halftime lead, the game was in hand but they still had fun in the third quarter.
Brookfield had three “and-one” chances and scored 10 points off Berkshire turnovers in the third quarter.
“It’s really hard when you get up so big to execute but we did a good job of staying fired up,” Kovach said.
Jeremy Quinlan scored a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds, while Collin Harkulich had 12 and Derrick Dickson had 10.
“When the open guy gets the ball — put it in the hole,” Quinlan said. “That’s how we roll.”
Jimmy Quinlan had four of Brookfield’s nine assists and Ryan Mosora scored five points.
“You can tell a lot of those guys played on the state football team,” Gunther said of the Warriors. “They’re big, athletic and strong.
“We have to push the ball and beat them out of their 1-3-1 zone on Tuesday.”