PARMA — It took one look at the Valley Forge boys basketball team’s roster for Brunswick coach Joe Mackey to develop the quintessential game plan: Throw the ball to 6-foot-10 center Pat Forsythe early and often.
The West Virginia recruit put up 33 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks Friday against a Patriots team with no player taller than 6-1, helping the Blue Devils cruise to a 70-39 Northeast Ohio Conference cross-division victory.
“We’ve got a very unselfish group, their tallest player is 6-1 and we have an All-Ohio center,” Mackey said. “I may not be the smartest guy, but I’m not dumb enough to screw that up.”
Forsythe, who was 14-for-16 from the field and 5-for-7 at the line in 27 minutes of action, had 14 points with 2:08 left in the first quarter and 24 with 2:01 to go in the half. The senior was outscoring Valley Forge’s entire team until point guard Nick Ho (20 points) hit a pair of free throws with 20.9 seconds left in the second period.
Eight of Forsythe’s field goals came off assists from Kyle Wheeler, while three others came off feeds from freshman Ryan Badowski, who finished with 11 points and five assists.
Toss in 16 points and 11 boards from Matt Dunning, who exploded for 12 points in the third period, and five points off the bench from freshman Zach Parker and the Blue Devils (9-5) steadily pulled away. They led 35-25 at half and 54-39 after three periods before outscoring the Patriots (3-12) 16-0 in the final eight minutes.
Everything Brunswick did, however, started with the simplest of strategies: Get the ball to Forsythe.
“It just means I’ve got to take it to them every time I get the ball,” Forsythe said. “I’ve got to give it to these guys. They got me the ball every time they could.”
Despite all Forsythe’s heroics — he drew six fouls and was the only Brunswick player to get to the line — the game was tied 19-19 after the first period thanks to Ho, who matched his taller counterpart with 14 points in the opening quarter.
The Blue Devils then held the Patriots to six points in the second period, meaning Valley Forge scored exactly that many points in the even-numbered quarters.
Brunswick started the second period on a 12-0 run, with Forsythe scoring eight of those to give him 22 with 5:20 left in the first half.
That kind of dominance is why the senior was recently nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game along with Strongsville senior Aaron White.
“I’ve never coached a kid like this, so this is all new to me,” said Mackey, who did not know how many seniors from across the country were nominated. “I don’t know if I get a Happy Meal or what.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Brunswick 70, Valley Forge 39
BRUNSWICK 19 16 19 16 — 70
VALLEY FORGE 19 6 14 0 — 39
Brunswick — Alex Hartill 1-0-2, Matt Dunning 7-0-16, Pat Forsythe 14-5-33, Kyle Wheeler 0-0-0, Ryan Badowski 4-0-11, Zach Parker 2-0-5, Zach Gresch 0-0-0, Scott Suren 0-0-0, Ray J. Brown 0-0-0, Anthony Ocacio 1-0-3, Robert Hale 0-0-0, Patrick Jarvis 0-0-0, Taylor Armagost 0-0-0. TOTALS: 29-5-70.
Valley Forge — Rob Schmidt 0-0-0, Justin Griffin 3-0-6, Jose Anderson 2-0-4, Dan Wypasek 0-0-0, Nick Ho 7-3-20, Matt Budzik 2-0-5, Alex Navolanic 0-0-0, Romello Dotson 2-0-4, Mike Rell 0-0-0, Franky DePasquale 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-3-39.
3-point goals — Badowski 3, Dunning 2, Parker, Ocacio, Ho 3, Budzik. Rebounds — Brunswick 39 (Forsythe 13), Valley Forge 18 (Griffin 5). Assists — Brunswick 21 (Wheeler 11), Valley Forge 8 (Schmidt, Anderson 3). Records — Brunswick (9-5), Valley Forge (3-12). Junior varsity — Brunswick 64, Valley Forge 33.