BRUNSWICK — Brennan Magalski’s “Decision” didn’t carry a lot of hoopla — until Tuesday night.
The Brunswick student section was chanting the 6-foot-4 junior’s name as he made three clutch 3-pointers in a 60-41 non-league victory over North Olmsted.
Magalski’s performance fit the theme of the night for the Blue Devils (2-1), who also received very productive performances from role players Alex Hartill and Patrick Jarvis in the absence of starting shooting guard Kyle Wheeler (concussion) and center Taylor Armagost (suspension).
“This team’s like a family,” Magalski said. “If one guy goes down, you step right into their spot. I just knew that tonight was my night to step up, and that’s what I did.”
Already marred in a shooting slump, Brunswick wasted little time punishing the rims by missing six of its first seven field goals, eight of its first nine 3-pointers and four consecutive free throws.
The offensively challenged Eagles (0-2) were just as unprolific, however, and all the Blue Devils needed was a momentum-changing sequence.
That’s when coach Joe Mackey subbed in Magalski, who was without a point in three career games.
With 1:35 left in the first quarter, Magalski parked himself in the corner. Backup guard David Reiter found him, and Magalski drilled a 3-pointer.
Magalski wasn’t done, as he drilled another three at the buzzer, then buried what was essentially the dagger — a trifecta to put Brunswick up 47-29 in the third quarter — to instantly send the student section into a “Brennan, Brennan, Brennan” chant.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for that,” he said. “That’s my first-ever varsity points. I wasn’t even going to come out for the team this year, so I was really glad when the crowd was cheering my name. It was crazy.”
Hartill, Jarvis, Reiter and Billy Applebee were just as significant because starting guards Ryan Badowski (game-high 19 points) and Zach Parker (8) were a combined 4-of-15 shooting in the first half.
Normally the sixth man, the versatile 6-5 Hartill stepped in at small forward, ran the point when Badowski didn’t and finished with 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Jarvis, who replaced Armagost at center so Brandon Zaccardelli (5 rebounds) could start at power forward, had six points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while Reiter and Applebee combined for four points and three assists without committing a turnover.
“When you face a little adversity, how do you respond?” Mackey said. “They’re on the team for a reason. They got an opportunity tonight and took advantage of it.”
Things weren’t all rosy for Brunswick, as Mackey was frustrated with his team’s shooting.
The Blue Devils failed to reach 40 percent from the floor for the third consecutive game, were 11-of-23 (.478) from the free throw line and made just 7-of-25 3-pointers.
On the flip side, a stout man-to-man defense came through as North Olmsted, whose only real threat was beefy 6-7 center William Lucien (11 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks) had more turnovers than points until late in the first half and shot 17-of-43 (.395) overall.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Mackey said. “Obviously, it’s nice to come out of here with a victory without (Wheeler and Armagost), but I think offensively we played exactly like we did (last week in Grove City). We can not make a shot. In the first half, I thought we took great shots, but we aren’t finding a way to string together baskets right now.”
Wheeler is out indefinitely, while Armagost, who violated school policy, will be eligible to return Tuesday against Parma.
• A noticeably more muscular Pat Forsythe was in the house. The 2011 Gazette MVP and former Brunswick standout is a freshman center for the University of Akron.
• Jason Okulovich had 13 points as the Brunswick junior varsity won 43-28.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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