Brunswick comes up big vs. rival St. Luke’s

Brunswick's Nick Kono goes up for a basket while defended by St. Luke's Sean Callahan.

Whether it’s at Brunswick’s home court – Dann Gymnasium – or at St. Luke’s in New Canaan, whenever these rivals duel, it’s a big deal in FAA basketball. Friday night, St. Luke’s visited Dann Gymnasium and the atmosphere was electric.

The stands, and practically the entire gym, was filled with spectators from both teams. The Bruins’ following participated in a “white out”, wearing all white, while St. Luke’s fans wore black. While the stands were full, the sidelines on each side of the court were jam-packed with fans from both teams. On two occasions, the officials had to stop the game for a few seconds to move the enthusiastic spectators back a bit, as they stood right near the court.

As for the game, the Bruins put this one away quickly. In a game similar to the second time they faced the Storm last year, Brunswick streaked to a 40-19 halftime lead and never looked back. The Bruins, who received 15 points from forward Nick Kono, 10 from forward Dylan Wadsworth, 11 from guard James Robinson, nine from forward Teddy Murphy and eight from guard Sam Fraser, rose havoc with their aggressive 1-3-1 zone. Playing the 1-3-1 for most of the game (they also mixed in a 2-3) the Bruins forced turnovers, enabling them to get out on the break.

“We were really excited for this game, knowing there was going to be a white out against St. Luke’s,” Fraser said. “The hype was high, but we kept our composure hit our shots.”

The Bruins received strong play out of their backcourt with point guard Henry Taylor leading the way. Taylor had six assists and showed his toughness later in the game. After taking an elbow to the face in the second half, he had to briefly leave the game with a bloody nose. Just minutes later, he was right back on the court, running the offense. James Robinson, Taylor’s backup, stepped up, scoring 11 points. Attacking the basket, Robinson consistently broke down the Storms’ defense.

I was impressed with the job Brunswick’s big men did on St. Luke’s junior center Amin Lakoju. The Storm’s big man picked up two fouls the first five minutes and finished the game with six points. Though he blocked about five shots, he never got into a rhythm offensively, as Wadsworth and Kono worked hard to defend him in the post.

“This was the first time we played against him and he was tough, but we were battling in the post,” Wadsworth said.

Brunswick, which is 6-5 overall and 2-1 in the FAA, is approaching an important stretch of the season. The Bruins will visit FAA foe Hopkins School on Monday, then will travel to St. Luke’s on Friday. They have a bunch of league games in the coming weeks, so the Bruins have a chance to make some hay in the FAA.

“The league games are going to be tough,” Brunswick coach Robert Taylor said. “The goal of any coach is to make sure the team is better at the end of the season than it was at the beginning of the season and we’re improving.”

Dave Fierro