BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick girls basketball team found itself just below the summit all Wednesday night against Mentor.
The Blue Devils just couldn’t find a way to take those last few steps in their 49-46 loss in Northeast Ohio Conference cross-division action.
Brunswick (2-2) made the first basket of the game for a 2-0 lead and also led briefly 20-19 midway through the second quarter, but was faced with the task of playing catch-up for the remainder of the game.
“I felt that, from our standpoint, we got a little bit of a lead and Brunwsick would come right back at us,” Mentor coach Steve Thompson said. “I don’t think our kids laid down. They came and they played to win.”
Behind the solid inside-outside play of forward Courtney Schutz (19 points, 5 rebounds) and the low-post play of center Christine Dawson (8, 11), the Cardinals (4-0) built leads as large as 11 points in the second half.
“I was just ready to come back and play,” Schutz said. “My teammates help me out with good passes. They’ll set me up and I’ll set them up. As a team, we do that for each other, and it just happened that I got set up tonight.”
Schutz was the go-to player in the first half, scoring 12 of her team’s 26 points and playing a key role in each of the Cardinals scoring spurts.
“She really carried us through the first half,” Thompson said. “She attacked the basket well, she shot the basketball well and she is just a phenomenal athlete. I’m a little disappointed in myself in that we didn’t get the ball in her hands a little bit more in the second half.”
Gabrielle Bulic matched Schutz shot for shot in the first two quarters with 10 points, including eight of her team’s first 10 and six in a row to start the game.
“I thought Gabbie played really well,” Brunswick coach Hallie Lengal said. “She played with a little bit of a presence, and she obviously came out strong in the first quarter, which is what we need her to do.”
Each time Mentor seemed poised to pull away, the Blue Devils battled back with Bulic (16 points, 9 rebounds) and Courtney Laudato (10, 4) leading the way.
Brunswick got as close as 46-44 with 1:03 to play on a nice 12-foot jumper from Bulic, but the Cardinals held on at the free throw line, making 3-of-6.
“I told them in the locker room that we take two steps forward and then we take four back,” Lengal said. “It’s constant trying to figure out how to stay in that attack mode.
We’re still working on that and the pieces and parts are there.”
Mentor earned the sweep taking the junior varsity game 47-30 behind 12 points from Alli Woods. Olivia Gailey led the Blue Devils with 12.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.