With a championship game against Greens Farms Academy taking place the very next day, the Brunswick School basketball team had little time to bask in the glory of its dramatic, double overtime win over Masters School on Friday. It’s a shame because it was a victory the Bruins should remember for some time.
This defensive, grind-it-out FAA semifinal could have been won by either team several times – in regulation and in overtime. But the Bruins pulled out a 58-56 win, using clutch shooting from junior point guard Henry Taylor down the stretch and solid free throw shooting to punch their ticket to the FAA finals.
The Bruins had the better of the play in the first half, but went into intermission with just a 26-20 lead, a good sign for Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.-based Masters. For the Bruins, it must have felt like there was a lid on the basket in the second half.
Brunswick, which only scored five points the last 6:42 of the first half, was held without a field goal the first 7:10 of the second, netting just five points (all on foul shots) in the process. Taylor made all three of the Bruins’ shots from the field in the second half, while senior forward Nick Kono (7 points) and forward Sam Fraser (4 points) swished jumpers in the first overtime session.
“We struggled offensively in the second half, but once we started moving the ball a little bit more and played more team basketball we scored more efficiently,” said senior guard Ryan Hardin, who made three 3-pointers and scored 11 big points for the Bruins.
Taylor hit a three and made a runner in lane in the second OT for the Bruins, who turned up the intensity on the press and came up with loose balls when they needed to down the stretch.
Brunswick will now go for its league-best 14th FAA championship against nemesis Greens Farms Academy in Westport Saturday at 6 p.m. The Bruins are 0-2 against the Dragons this season, their last loss coming in Jan., (a 66-44 defeat). If you were at the game, you saw the Bruins being beat down court throughout the game – an trend they hope to correct Saturday.
“We have to stop their fastbreak,” Henry Taylor said. “The last two games they played us, most of their points came off the fastbreak.”
The Bruins may be tired after Friday’s marathon game, but adrenaline and desire makes athletes dig deep in championship games.
“This overtime game is a testament to how hard we work in practice,” Brunswick senior Dylan Wadsworth (7 points, 8 rebounds) said. “We always work hard and we always do a lot of running.”